In reality, it isn’t possible to build a fireproof home. At high enough temperatures, any material is susceptible to melting. That is why there is an extra focus on building fire-resistant homes, which can offer as much defense as possible to fires.
Back in 2019, CNBC published an article detailing how fire-resistant homes are going to be a key asset in a fight against climate change. Wildfires are becoming an increasingly frequent and destructive occurrence in areas like California, Therefore, architects are doing their best to reduce the numbers. In 2019, there were around 14,000 lose of homes due to wildfires in California, while this property damage approached $19 billion.
Models of Fire-resistant Homes
Around this time, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety was already testing how models of fire-resistant homes fared in a controlled blaze. Here are a few of its findings:
- Fiber-cement composite siding: builders use this instead of standard wood planks. This is much less combustible, but can still be made to imitate wood aesthetically. All siding was raised at least 6 feet from the ground.
- Fire-resistant homes were surrounded by rocks instead of wood-based mulch, as would typically be seen. They also had no plantings within 5 feet of the siding.
- Double-paned windows were crucial to stopping the quick spread of the fire. Homes that underwent tests with a single-paned window showed that glass quickly broke in the event of a fire. In other words, flames could much more easily spread into the home.
What exactly does ‘fireproof’ mean?
According to Jeff Yelle, director of OSB/EWP Technology, the term is “undefined”. The word ‘fireproof’ has definitely fallen out of favor in recent years, as people have accepted that no building can ever truly be 100% resistant to fire.
Instead, industry leaders prefer the use of ‘fire-resistant homes’, which illustrates the point of work to make homes more secure against the threat of fire. The goal is to slow down the spread of fire once it reaches a building, giving occupants more time to evacuate.
Other Key terms
There are two other key terms that you should not confuse with ‘fire-resistant’:
- Fire retardant. This describes a material with a property that helps slow the spread of a fire. For example, wooden siding might be coated with a layer of fire retardant. This helps to prevent the quick spread of fire.
- Burn-through resistance. This term describes how long material can withstand a fire without burning through, expressed in minutes or hours.
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Jack Vale is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with wrought iron door manufacturer, Abby Iron Doors.