Fireproofing Your House 101
Whether you see a whirring fire truck pass you by or turn on the news and hear about the latest burn victim, you might think that a fire accident can never happen to you. However, with more than 358,500 house fires occurring every year, there’s no guarantee that an incident can’t impact your family. What you can do though, is take precautions to minimize the risks and learn how to build a fully fireproof home. The good news is that there are tons of small ways that you can make a fire-resistant home. Because fire accidents can almost occur randomly, don’t hesitate to check out the methods below that you can get started on to keep your home safe from flames.
Ways to Fireproof Your Home
If you’re not planning to build a new home from the ground up, there are plenty of methods out there to help your existing house stay flame-free and upright. Let’s take a look at some of the most effective ones:
- Invest in Fire Retardant
Got a kitchen, an outdoor fire pit, or any place that’s probably most at risk of starting a raging inferno? That’s where you’ll want to keep a can of fire retardant close by. These chemicals can function as your first line of defense by creating a barrier between the fire and your home.
- Clean the Gutters
We all know how tiring it might be to clean the gutters — especially when they just get covered with leaves and mush all over again. However, you might have read enough wildfire horror stories happening out West to know that the dry season is particularly prone to accidental fires. To prevent such a situation from taking place, try to frequently clear any combustible material from those gutters such as leaves, needles, and other gunk.
- Clear the Dead Vegetation
Pretty greenery, trees, flowers, and bushes all make a gorgeous sight for sore eyes. However, their dead counterparts lying around might also be the source of all your demise if they somehow get the chance to fuel a fire. To keep your house fireproof as much as possible, take some time out of your day to clear out the dry or dead vegetation sitting around as you walk around your front and backyard.
- Install or Maintain the Smoke Alarms
Having smoke alarms that work can make the key difference between a life-or-death situation. They can quickly signal to you and your family that it’s time to leave the home in case of a fire, especially during moments where you’re sleeping or not fully aware. That’s why it’s important to install fire and smoke alarms in almost every room of your home. If they’re already installed, then frequently check to make sure that the batteries are functioning properly.
- Purchase a Fire Extinguisher
These extinguishers can help to minimize a fire as soon as possible and reduce the risk of damage before the first responders arrive. As you go about your research, try to find an extinguisher that has an ABC rating. Once you bring it back home, try to keep it close to the kitchen or wherever you think the greatest risk of a fire poses.
How to Construct Fire-Resistant Houses
If you’re looking to construct a home that’s in a particularly hot region or at risk of frequent fire activity, it’s in your best interest to learn how to build the most fire-resistant home possible. Here are the key parts of your home that you should pay attention to as you fortify for maximum protection.
- Use ICFs for a Strong Foundation
The whole city of Chicago burned down in 1871 because most of its buildings were fatally made out of combustible wood. To prevent your house from similarly melting away, you should add insulated concrete forms to the foundation. These polystyrene blocks are one of the best fire and heat resistant construction materials to use because they’re non-combustible and can withstand fire for a maximum of four hours. Because of how useful they are, they’re certainly worth the extra investment when it comes to keeping your family protected.
- Strengthen Your Roof
Even though your walls might be secured with ICFs, you can’t forget about your roofs as well. You can bet that as heat rises, so does the combustibility of your roof if you don’t look into a fire-resistant roof that uses Class A, fire-rated materials. It can often be built out of metal, concrete, slate, or a tilling, followed by a fire-resistant cap sheet that lays on top.
- Boost Your Siding
When it comes to your siding, you’ll also want to avoid wood or plank materials just as you would for your roof. It’s best to look for materials such as brick, stone, stucco, interlocking tiles, or concrete to give your home that fire-resistance it needs. Plus, with a little creativity from your architect, you won’t have to sacrifice the appearance of your building as well. After you consider your siding, don’t forget to pay some extra attention to the underside areas of overhangs such as your balcony or deck. Flames can easily get trapped in these places, so a little fortifying will do you some good.
- Protect the Windows
If you want to know where the weakest points of entry are for any home in terms of a fire, then they’ll be your glass windows. The blazing heat of any inferno is enough to completely shatter the glass planes and sneak into your rooms. To prevent such situations from happening, consider constructing your fire-resistant home with insulated double glazing with tempered glass on the outside. These windows can take a fair beating before giving way, which will give you and your family ample time to evaluate and call the firefighters. Additional steel framing can help give those windows a stronger structure to resist impact.
- Use Metal or Fiber-Cement Doors
Now that you’ve gotten most of the exterior structures fortified, you’ll want to look into the doors. In most traditional homes, you’ll find that the doors are commonly made out of wood, which will only offer a maximum protection of 20 minutes at most. By investing in some heavy duty metal or fiber-cement doors, you’ll be able to extend that protection for much longer.
Now that you know the basics of fireproofing your home, don’t waste any time in getting to action. The summer isn’t getting any cooler with the current heat waves, so you’ll want to do everything you can to minimize the risks of fire. Here at Brian Burds, we value what it takes to create family-safe homes so that you can enjoy life to the fullest.