What Siding is the Most Fire Resistant?
When it comes to deciding about the exterior of the house, people mostly think about the look. But to secure your home from fire accidents, you need to think beyond the aesthetic. Studies have confirmed that western states would be facing more fire breaks than ever before. This is due to the rise in deforestation and climate change.
No matter how much you want to prevent hazards in your house, you cannot make it 100% fir-proof. But you can certainly improve the fire-resistance of your home exterior by choosing the right exterior cladding.
Some materials are less combustible than others. For example, metal takes ages to burn than wood and save your house interior as well.
So, if you ready, let’s take a look at the five siding options that are best for making your house exterior fire-resistant. Let’s take a look at your options.
The very first recommendation on this list is the aluminum metal exterior for apparent reasons. Aluminum or any metal, in general, are fireproof. They never catch fire or spread it. Most of the aluminum siding types are tested after manufacturing to check the fire-resistance. And fortunately, fire can not harm aluminum at all.
It is certified as incombustible. Not only this siding is fireproof, but it can save your house exterior from wind, heavy rain, and other hazardous conditions.
Fibre Cement Siding
When it comes to the fire-resistant exterior, there is no match for fibre cement boards. As the name suggested, fibre cement exterior is made with cement, sand, and wood fibre. Most of these fibre cement claddings own a class A fire-resistant rating. You would need to check the product description first, as the guarantee differs from brand to brand.
Keep in mind that this fibre cement cladding is not 100% fire-resistant, and it still can catch fire. But it takes much more time for a fibre cement siding to get on fire in comparison with wood or vinyl, for example. On top of that, it takes several hours of constant heat for a fibre cement exterior to meltdown completely. Both of these features give the house owner time to call firefighters before irreversible damage has been done.
Even though the fibre cement is fire-resistant, this does not have any adverse effect on the durability. It has an expected lifetime of 50 years, is user friendly, and water and weather resistant.
Brick and Stone Siding
Brick and stones are naturally fire-resistant material. They neither catch fire and nor they spread any. According to many professionals, the house gets on fire when the flames reach behind the siding. This way, it can cause damage to the interior walls.
However, stone and brick exterior can prevent it – as brick and stone exterior lack any caulking, it prevents fire from contacting the stud cavity. And hence, it also saves the interior house walls from catching fire.
The last recommendation on this fire-resistant siding list is stucco. This product is made from a combination of binder and water. Unlike most of the other siding, stucco is applied wet. And then it is shaped according to the shape of the exterior. Many people also use this material to create a decorative and detailed exterior.
The best thing about stucco is that as it does not contain any combustible material in its formula. However, the fire-resistance level of stucco is relatively lower than the other exterior options on this list. On average, stucco can keep the interior walls safe from fire for about one hour. After that, it cracks up and may cause the interior walls to burn.
Installing siding is an investment and if you want it to last, then be ready as it could cost a fortune. But unfortunately, not every house owner can redo the entire exterior to make the house fire-resistant. There is no problem for people whose houses already have fire-resistant siding. But what about the homes with the wood exterior?
It is common knowledge that wood is highly combustible. A few minutes with constant flame, and your house would be on fire within an hour. But there is a way to make your wooden exterior a bit more fire-resistant.
The process is simple. Get the “Flame Retardant Spray” – a chemical spray that improves the fire-resistance of wood. It might not make your wood exterior 100% fireproof, but it reduces the risk of fire spreading severely. One thing to keep in mind is that wood panels have gaps and stud cavity in between that can give flames a path to spread the fire from inside. And this may harm the interior walls of your house.
The first and obvious most flammable siding, as we have already mentioned above, is wood siding. But there is one other siding that is highly flammable and can cause significant damage to your house interior walls. The exterior option we are talking about is vinyl.
This product got popular in the last century due to its versatility. The colour options are unlimited, and vinyl is available in many different forms – you can even get vinyl shakes and shingles. This siding comes with a 20-year warranty, and many people find the option tempting.
But there is a catch. As vinyl is made with plastic, it is not eco-friendly, and in a direct fire situation, vinyl would not be able to save your house exterior or interior at all. You can understand the danger vinyl brings since FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) does not recommend it at all. However, if you still want to install a vinyl exterior, there is a way to make it safer. Under the house wrap and siding, you can add 5/8” of gypsum boards along with taped joints.
Lastly, roof soffits and trims can also play a massive role in spreading fire.
Are Your Exterior Trims and Soffits Fire-Proof?
When making the house exterior fire-resistant, house owners forget about the trims and soffits. Yes, the siding takes most of the space on the exterior walls. But if the trims are not fireproof, they can spread fire faster.
So, how can you make the trims and soffits safe? Well, first of all, pay attention to the materials it’s made from. Check if they are incombustible or not. If the trims are made with flammable material options, try to reinstall the better product during your next renovation.
For example, the majority of the gypsum soffits are designed specially to reduce the fire hazard risk. In particular, type C boards are created with a mixture of glass and vermiculite that stays stable when in contact with fire.
Fireproofing a house should be the priority of the house owner. The process involves buying the right siding for the exterior walls and roof. All of the trims and the soffits should also be made of fire-resistant material.
If you want to save yourself from all this hassle and reduce the risk, hire a professional. Most of the siding installers not only install the siding but also offer consultation.