When planning a new home, or renovating an existing home, select building materials, furnishings, and plants that resist fire. U.S. fire departments responded to an estimated average of 358,500 home structure fires per year. Better choices can improve or lessen your chances of suffering from fire damage. Next renovation, don’t just repair your home, build in fire-resistant features to help protect against future damage:
Although the terms cement and concrete often are used interchangeably, cement is actually an ingredient of concrete. Concrete is basically a mixture of aggregates and paste. The aggregates are sand and gravel or crushed stone; the paste is water and portland cement. The material’s properties make it slow to transfer heat and thus unlikely to burn like wood or soften and bend like steel when exposed to fire.
Roughly one-sixth of new homes are built using a concrete block frame, which can limit the damage caused 1) from external fires and 2) by a blaze that starts within the home. A concrete constructed home might even have a less expensive fire insurance policy as compared to a house built with wood or another framing.
Concrete walls can also make a home more energy efficient. Although the material does not transfer heat, concrete is able to absorb and retain warmth, reducing the need for constant heat supply in the winter. Many builders now use insulated concrete forms, (pouring concrete over an insulated foam form) to maintain the strong and durable qualities of traditional concrete plus improved energy efficiency and an additional barrier against outside noise.
Concrete roof tiles share the fire-resistant properties of other concrete furnishings while providing the look of a tile roof without the cost. Concrete is often listed as among the best fire-resistant roofing materials, it’s extremely durable against sparks blown from wildland fire.
Used for centuries for both artistic and structural purposes, modern stucco is made of Portland cement, sand and lime to serve as an excellent and durable fire-resistant finish material for buildings. It can cover any structural material, such as brick or wood. It usually consists of two or three coats over the metal reinforcing mesh.
Roof eaves (overhangs) are a fire hazard, but they can be protected with encasement of fire-resistant material. Stucco is often recommended as one of the best materials for boxing in hazardous eaves.
Gypsum board, or drywall, consists of a layer of the mineral gypsum sandwiched between two sheets of paper. The modern ‘Type X’ gypsum board is specially treated with additives to burn even more slowly. In addition, the gypsum board has a noncombustible core that, when affected by a fire, releases tiny amounts of water as steam from the calcium sulfate. This effectively impedes the transfer of heat through the gypsum board. And even after the water is gone, the gypsum core continues to resist fire penetration for a time. Builders often use multiple layers of gypsum board to increase the fire-resistance rating.
Brick is not only classically beautiful, but it is also resistant to fire. Since bricks are made in a fiery kiln, they’re already highly resistant to fire. Depending on the construction and thickness of the wall, a brick wall can achieve a 1-hour to 4-hour fire-resistance rating.
If you have suffered a house fire, Cousino Restoration is dedicated to working quickly and efficiently to restore your property. After removing as much of the debris, water and wet materials as possible, they will use a combination of dehumidifiers, fans, and moisture monitors to ensure your property is thoroughly dried. Additional steps will be taken to clean, deodorize, and disinfect the affected areas before rebuilding any damage.
Call Cousino Restoration for emergency response. Four office locations throughout Toledo provide our customers with fast, friendly, and local service.