This study focuses on the effect of epoxy emulsion, a binder for producing water-borne intumescent fire protective coating for steel structures. The influence of binder on the fire resistive performance, char formation, thermal stability and bonding strength of the coatings were investigated in detail by using Bunsen burner test, thermogravimetry analysis (TGA), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and Instron microtester. It was found that the fire protection performance and foam structure of coating sample D2 was significantly improved by adding 10wt% of epoxy resin which produced the greatest thickness of char layer. In addition, TGA results showed that the residue weight of coating D2 was higher than coating sample D3 with 15wt% of epoxy. This indicated that sample D2 has better anti-oxidation and thermal stability. The results of Instron microtester indicated that the bonding strength of the coatings was improved with the increase of epoxy content.