Does your upholstery fabric need to be fire retardant?

Fire retardant fabric regulations

The laws around whether material needs to be fire retardant can be a bit complicated, but the good news is that it’s up to us to make sure that everything we provide is compliant to the necessary requirements. If you use one of our trusted suppliers, we know exactly how the fabric is treated and can supply fire certificates if you need them. If you’ve found the perfect fabric elsewhere and nothing else will do, we simply ask for a fire certificate to be supplied with your material. Failing that, we may be able to use the material anyway if it is 75% natural fibre or 100% wool – read on to find out how!

When treatment isn’t required

You can use any fabric for curtains and scatter cushions; these do not need to comply with any fire regulations unless they are in a contract environment.

Domestic FR

If your furniture is going in your own house, this is the level of treatment your fabric must satisfy. It can either be back coated or chemically dipped to achieve this standard, and the supplier should be able to advise on the specifics. Fabric that is 100% wool is inherently fire retardant so requires no further treatment. Some suppliers don’t like treating their fabric as it can alter the way it acts. However, this doesn’t mean all is lost!


Where a fabric hasn’t or can’t be treated, an interliner (or barrier cloth) can be used as a first layer on the furniture to provide the fire protection. This can only be used, however, if the top fabric is 75% or more natural fibres, this includes: cotton, flax, viscose, modal, silk or wool – either in a pure form or a blend.

Contract Environments

The standard for contract environments is slightly higher and must meet the Crib 5 standard – again don’t worry about this, just let us know where your furniture’s going and we can sort it out.

Unsuitable fabrics

If the fabric you’ve found doesn’t meet the necessary requirements for either treatment or using with an interliner, perhaps you can use it as curtains or throw a few scatter cushions on, while upholstering in a complementary fabric to tie together all of the elements you were originally looking for.

If you need any help sourcing a fire certificate for your fabric just let us know; we’re happy to help.


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  2. A chair's transformation - South West Upholstery - 2nd October 2017

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