What Parts of My House Can I Fireproof and How?
The recent fires in Northern California have devastated families and friends across the nation, leaving many without a home. These house fires have drawn attention to the need for fireproofing homes to protect their structure and shield them from damage. What parts of a home can be fireproofed and how is this achieved? Here we look at how you can fireproof and protect your home but most importantly keeping your loved ones safe.
Garden and Landscaping
The area around your home is your first line of defense when it comes to fire. Keep a fireproof barrier around your home, made of concrete, stone, or small non-combustible plants. You also want to ensure a fire truck can access your home if needed.
Remodeling or rebuilding offers the ideal opportunity to fireproof your home. While old materials like wood have long been popular for California homes, wood is not fire resistant. Instead trade wood in for brick, tile, adobe, concrete block, stucco, or metal siding. Fireproof homes are often built with a new material consisting of concrete panels around a foam core (called SCIP). A fireproof external structure keeps the fire at bay for longer and resists fire taking hold of your home.
Shield fires from starting and spreading within your home with fire-resistant interior finishes as well. Gypsum board, also known as drywall, is the most commonly used fire-resistant interior. Gypsum board consists of a layer of gypsum sandwiched between two sheets of paper. Type X gypsum board has even better fire-proof qualities thanks to being treated with additives.
When it comes to fireproofing external structures, the roof is one of the first places you should protect. Wood shingles can easily catch alight, and the gaps in Spanish tiles can allow the wind to blow embers inside your attic. Instead, choose fire rated roofing material installed on top of a fire-resistant cap sheet. Some fire-resistant options include interlocking tile, metal, and even concrete.
Often overlooked, windows are one of the most critical parts of your home that make it fire-proof. Not to mention that window replacement is a remodel that offers one of the highest returns on investment of any remodel. Choose metal framed windows with double paned glass, the outer pane being tempered if possible. The even better option is to have roll down metal fire doors over windows and glass doors if you’re in a high fire risk area.
You want to cover all possible entrances to your home through which fire could gain access, and this includes entries. Doors are also one of the easiest parts of your home to update. Solid wood core doors will burn through in 20 minutes, so for extra safety choose metal core doors faced in the material of your choice. For higher fire protection, ensure doors and tightly fitting with no gaps that embers can enter through.
Keep your home and grounds clean and adequately maintained. Remove leaves and debris from gutters which are like kindling for fire ambers. Adding fire sprinklers to your home will also help in making your home fireproof. Do an annual inspection, walk around, of your home with an eye for the items mentioned in this article.
Consider implementing some of these fireproofing options to help keep your home and loved ones safe. As a design-build remodel contractor, we are here to help with any questions you have so feel free to reach out to us at any time.