When is decorative art a hazard?

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Art is beautiful and it is meant to be hung on walls.  But hanging too much art on school classroom walls and corridors can be a fire hazard.  So how much is too much?

10% in the Classroom

To determine the amount of decorative art that can be hung in California’s school classrooms we need to look at Title 24, Part 9, Section 807.1.2.  This section covers combustible decorative materials which meet flame propagation criteria.  The amount of this material which you may legally hang on classroom walls is limited to 10% of the surface area – including windows.

20% in the Corridor

Once we move into corridors, the amount of material that you may hang increase to a maximum of 20% of the surface area.  This is governed by Title 24, Part 9, Section 807.4.3.2. Don’t ask me why they increased the limits.  I would think that corridors/hallways you would want less fire hazards because this is what everyone uses for egress purposes.

Flame Propagation

The key here is to remember that if there the paper/art work that is placed on classroom walls and corridors doesn’t meet the flame propagation criteria, then it should not be hung on the walls.  The limits of 10% and 20% are strictly for those pieces of decorative art materials that meet the flame criteria, which is outlined by NFPA.