First off, it must be said that no home can ever be true, 100% fireproof. If left being scorched by flames for long enough, any material would melt under the intense heat. Although the word ‘fireproof’ is often accepted, a more accurate term would be ‘fire-resistant’. With that being said, there are plenty of ways to make a home as close to fireproof as possible. Of course, the selection of materials is key when constructing fireproof homes, but there are other factors that can decide how long a home can withstand a fire.
Since each wildfire season seems to get more intense, it has been predicted that by 2039, up to 11 states might see a 500% increase in the amount of land burned. This is why home builders now take action to construct fire-resistant homes for the future.
1. How can we improve the fire resistance of new homes?
Here are a few important things to keep in mind when constructing a fire-resistant home:
2. Your roof is as important as your siding
A concrete structure will go a long way to protecting a home from fire damage. However, roof builders also often use fire-resistant materials like metal, concrete, or slate. Avoid styles such as Spanish tiles which contain gaps for flames to penetrate.
3. Design fire-resistant windows
When a fire makes contact with a home, the windows are often the easiest point of entry for a flame. Single-glazed windows can easily shatter under intense heat, so be sure to make windows with double-glazing and tempered glass on the outside. For extra fire resistance, add a steel frame to your windows.
4. Consider the layout of your backyard
Will the surrounding land slope downwards towards the house? Are you planning to add any wooden flooring or fencing to your outdoor areas? Either of these factors will greatly increase the speed and power of an approaching wildfire.
5. Don’t opt for a wooden front door
Although stylish, wooden doors only offer around 20 minutes of resistance in a fire. A metal door will buy you much more time in the event you need to evacuate, therefore, it is a better choice for fireproof homes
6. Use ICFs for the home’s foundation
ICFs (insulated concrete forms) are made from polystyrene blocks that are filled with concrete. Builders pack them together to form a protective concrete shell that can help stave off a fire for hours.
7. Surround any vegetation with non-combustible paths
If you are designing areas in the backyard for plants, ensure they are located at least five feet away from the main building. When more than five feet away, keep these areas sparse and separated by concrete pathways, for example. This will help slow down the movement of a fire in the backyard.
In case you have architectural, structural, and MEP design requirements, feel free to contact us. We provide you with the full permit set design + T24.
Jack Vale is a writer from Happy Writers, Co. in partnership with fencing manufacturer, Viking Fence.