The aim of this study was to investigate the effect of boron compounds on fire protection properties of intumescent coating based on ammonium polyphosphate (APP). Three kinds of boron compounds namely boric acid (BA), zinc borate (ZB) and melamine borate (MB) were used. Total amount of flame retardant additive was kept constant at 30 wt%, and boron compounds were used at three concentrations of 1, 3 and 5 wt%. Thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), Attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR) and fire test were conducted for the determining the fire performance of intumescent coating. According to fire test results, BA and MB showed synergistic effect at 1 wt% loading. ZB showed antagonistic effect at all concentrations. Fire protection effect of intumescent coating decreased as the added amount of boron compound increased regardless of boron compound type because of suppression of intumescence. Copyright (c) 2016 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.