Investing in fire-resistant siding is a great way to increase the safety levels and curb appeal of your home.
Steel and Aluminum are the highest-rated fire resistant siding materials. This is because they are not consumed when faced with extreme heat. This makes them unable to catch and spread fires.
Fiber cement siding is also highly fire resistant. It can therefore withstand conditions of high heat for several hours before melting. Stone veneer, treated wood, and stucco siding also have high fire resistance qualities.
Below is a table of siding materials and their fire rating. They are basically in 2 x categories; Combustible and noncombustible.
Fiber Cement Siding
Fiber cement is one of the most durable fire resistant siding options on offer. This is because it is made up of materials like cement and sand that do not ignite or spread fire.
Combustible wooden fibers only account for about 10% of its composition. It is such a structure that gives it a Class A fire spread rating. This rating reflects its ability to suit climate change in many areas.
Fiber cement siding is also quite user-friendly and visually pleasing. It can therefore provide you with charm, convenience, safety and durability on your home’s exterior cladding.
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Steel and Aluminum Siding
Aluminum and steel are collectively known as metal siding. Most siding experts consider them to be virtually fireproof. This is because of their non-combustible nature that makes them completely unable to ignite and spread fires.
Aluminum and steel siding can also withstand other adverse climatic elements such as strong winds, decay, excessive moisture and cracking.
Brick and Stone Siding
Brick and stone siding is also known as stone veneer. The lack of caulked joints in its installation make it an extremely fire resistant material. Such a siding assembly makes it able to prevent flames from reaching the underlying stud cavity in the interior walls.
This prevention is extremely critical since many homes usually burn to the ground when fire penetrates the exterior and catches the flammable materials in the walls’ interior.
Stucco is also referred to as plaster siding. It is normally available in traditional and synthetic varieties. Both these varieties have a one hour fire rating. This means that they can withstand flames for only one hour before experiencing fire damage.
This is because of the inflammable binder and water mixture that holds their wood fibers together. The binder is a mixture of cement, sand and lime which are all fire resistant materials. When creating a fire resistant house using stucco, you should apply it in three wet coats.
This is because such coats usually make your exterior cladding thicker and therefore more fire resistant. When properly installed these coats can also add visual appeal to your home’s exterior.
Treated Wood Siding
Solid wood siding is normally preferred for its natural and rustic appearance. It should however be treated using chemical flame retardant sprays. This increases its degree of fire-resistance. Some sprays can even penetrate deep into the wood’s interior for better protection.
It is however important to note that such sprays do not make the wood completely fire-resistant. They only give your exterior wood surfaces the ability to withstand highly flammable conditions for a longer time. This means that when fires occur, an exterior fire retardant chemical can prevent flames from getting below your siding immediately. This gives you some time to get a remedy before the flames get into the combustible materials in your stud cavity through the joints.
How can I Fireproof my Roof Soffit and Overhang?
Fireproofing your soffit and overhang is a great way to complement the fire-resistance features of your siding. Experts recommend fitting soffit boards made of gypsum to improve your home’s fire-resistance quality.
Mixing vermiculite and fine glass fibers into your type c boards can also ensure that they remain stable in case of a fire. This could also help in limiting the spread of flames to the upper parts of your house and creating a superheated effect.
How are Fire Resistant Siding Materials Classified?
Siding materials are either combustible, non-combustible or ignition-resistant. Stucco, fiber cement and metal siding are usually considered to be the most common non-combustible siding alternatives available.
Ignition-resistant materials such as composite siding and treated wood are often mistaken for ignition-resistant construction techniques. Whereas the materials simply do not spread fire, the techniques often take into account all environmental aspects that can aid in fire-resistance.
Untreated plywood and vinyl siding are the most popular combustible siding options. Installing such siding is extremely risky since it can make your home quite susceptible to damage by wildfires.
How Can I Minimize My Siding’s Vulnerability to Fire?
The Federal Emergency Management Agency does not recommend vinyl exterior cladding because of its highly combustible nature. You should therefore consider replacing it with a siding material that is more durable like metal, stucco, fiber cement and stone veneer.
However, if you still prefer vinyl siding, you should install 5/8-inch thick gypsum panels beneath your house wrap and cladding. With taped joints, such a buffer will provide additional protection for your internal walls if the vinyl melts under high heat.
Build an External Barrier
An external barrier made up of non-flammable materials such as stone and metal can keep a wildfire from getting into your home’s interior.
It is important to make sure that your gutter is not full of combustible material such as twigs, needles and leaves. This is because such material can aid in the spread of fire by acting as fuel. You can even cover your gutter to prevent any buildup of such material.
Keep your Wood far from The House
Any dry wood that is sure to be useful in the winter should be kept well away from the house during summer and spring.
Tree Trimming and Separation
Tree branches should be cut off when they grow too close to the house, for example, if they are overhanging the roof. The closest tree limb should be a minimum of 30 feet away from the house.
Tree crowns should also be trimmed down to size to avoid any intermingling that could cause the spreading of flames from one tree to another.
Bushes growing near the house and under the trees should be cleared to prevent any fire from spreading through them.
Fire-rated sheathing is an ignition-resistant coating made of cement and OSB. It is usually placed beneath the siding to reduce the extent to which the flames spread to the internal walls. This provides time for the necessary response to be taken.
No, it is not. Vinyl often melts when exposed to high temperatures since it is made up of manufactured plastic. Melted vinyl exposes the interior walls and studs to flame damage
Home owners can however increase their vinyl’s fire-resistance capability by adding 5/8-inch thick gypsum boards underneath their cladding. This helps to protect the interior parts of the walls when the vinyl siding melts.
Class A Fire rating is a classification of materials with a flame spread rating ranging from 0 to 25. Such materials which include fiber cement and stone veneer can withstand direct exposure to fire without giving way for a longer time than other materials.
Steel and aluminum siding is often described as fireproof due to its ability to withstand fire for long periods without either spreading the flames or losing its structural integrity.
No, it does not. Although vinyl is known to melt quickly when exposed to extremely high temperatures, it does not ignite quickly. This is because of the chlorine base in its PVC make up.
When exposed to fire, PVC releases small amounts of energy which means it cannot spread flames on its own. Simply put, vinyl siding does not facilitate burning by igniting. It does this by melting. This exposes the inner walls and studs to burning.