Can a House Be 100% Fire Resistant?
In the wake of another devastating fire season, homeowners and officials are asking how to prevent property losses, environmental damages, and loss of lives as a result of what appears to be a rising risk of wildfires. In 2017 the Northern California Firestorm faced the worst disaster in the state’s history. And yet, the situation seems to be getting worse–and not just in California. CNN reports that 95% of the western states in the U.S. are suffering extreme drought, resulting in high potential for fire. The Bootleg Fire in Oregon alone has burned over 400,000 acres, and across the west, wildfires have burned a staggering 1.8 million acres. So how do those who live in fire prone areas protect their homes? While no home can be 100% fire proof–let’s dispel that myth right now–there are developing technologies and long held advice that can make homes more fire resistant.
How to Protect Your Home
Here are a few ways in which you can protect your home from the threat of fire damage:
Begin with your property
Clearing a perimeter 30 feet out from your home is a must. It is a good way to keep embers from making it close enough to set your home alight. Also, clean the area of debris, and plant foliage and trees in small clusters. You need this to prevent creating a trail to your dwelling. Professionals advise that the last five feet to your house are crucial and are an area to keep free of any burnable material such as plants or organic mulches.
Build a fire resistant facade:
We’ve come a long way in material design but one surprising source of fire resistant exterior material comes in an old form. Engineers and scientists are using mud, a technique that dates back 10,000 years, to produce compressed, stabilized earthen blocks that can withstand temperatures up to 3,400 degrees fahrenheit for as long as 4 hours. Another promising technology is Gigacrete, which are expanded polystyrene panels that fit into steel frames to form walls. These have been shown to resist heat of up to 1,700 degrees fahrenheit.
Watch your windows:
With double- and triple-paned windows, the outer layer tends to shatter but the inner layers stay intact. In other words, fire resistant windows do little to help if the frame melts and the window falls out. Indeed, this often happens with vinyl-set windows. Be sure that the framing material of your windows is fire resistant as well.
Protect your roof:
Your roof is one of the most susceptible surfaces for falling embers. Roofs made of metal, non-flammable composite shingles, or clay tiles will help protect the entire structure of your home. It’s also important to cover vents with fine screens that essentially shut out penetrating embers when exposed to high temperatures.
Insulate your garage:
garage doors are often from cheap non-fire resistant materials. Look for garage doors that are from fire resistant materials.
Reconsider that spectacular view:
while huge decks make for beautiful vistas, any wood attached to your home becomes a vector for fire. You don’t need to give up the view. However, consider constructing your deck out of synthetic materials such as poly-ash. This material is a combination of polymers and fly-ash, a byproduct of burning coal. Such products will not rot or burn and you can cut and nail them like wood.
In case you need any assistance feel free to contact us!
Ivan Young is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with steel piping distributors, FedSteel.