What are the Best Options for Fire-Resistant House Siding?
Your home is your most important asset. So it doesn’t come as great surprise when you want to take the time to make sure that it, and those who live in it, are protected. Installing smoke alarms and having a good homeowners insurance policy is a good place to start. But a grill left too close to the house, a raging wildfire over the horizon or a random lightning strike are all unforeseeable events that threaten your home. From the outside, your home’s siding is the first line of defense. And more homeowners are turning to fire resistant sidings to help protect their number one asset.
Fiber cement siding is a mixture of cement, sand, and wood fibers. It is rot, fire, and termite-proof. It is not affected by wind and cold. And has the look of painted wood clapboards, shingles, stone, or brick. With all of these benefits, you’d think there would be a trade-off for price. But fiber cement is competitively priced and is highly recommended by architects.
Fiber cement products carry a Class A fire rating, meaning that it can withstand several hours of heat before melting. With this high fire resistance, fiber cement also has great convenience and durability.
Aluminum and steel siding are unrivaled when it comes to environmental hazards. These tough exteriors stand up well to rain, wind, hail, and sleet, but are also very fire-resistant. Low maintenance is common and because metal does not absorb moisture, there is less risk for mold or fungus growth. Plus, metal is very unfriendly to invading insects.
Most metal siding is rated as noncombustible, which means that it is nonflammable and will not ignite and spread fires.
Brick & Stone
If you like to have natural material on the face of your home, brick and stone veneers are a good option. And when placed over wood frames they reduce the risk of fire. Brick does not have caulked joints so it may do a better job of keeping flames away from the stud cavity and the interior of the walls. For stones, which do have caulked joints, a fire-rated mortar is recommended to repair any cracks. This will lessen the chance of stones separating from the wall during a fire.
Synthetic and traditional stucco are also good options for fire-resistant house siding. Although on the pricey side, stucco can offer decades of protection. Stucco can be added to just about any surface and is usually applied using two or three coats. A one-inch layer of stucco will add a one-hour rating of fire to a wall.
Treated Wood Siding
Wood siding, believe it or not, can also provide some protection against fire. When wood siding is treated with chemical flame retardant spray, a shield of protection has been added. Fire, however, can still penetrate the siding assemble, exterior trim, and roof soffit. So make sure to treat these areas as well. If the wood is chemically treated, repeated applications will be necessary to maintain its resistance to fire.
Of all the siding options, vinyl is not recommended as a good fire-resistant choice. Vinyl is manufactured plastic and quickly melts when exposed to high temperatures. Because of this, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) does not recommend vinyl siding on homes that are at high risk for fires. Although vinyl is the most affordable siding choice, you can improve its resistance to fire by adding gypsum boards. Placing these boards below the housewrap and siding will provide a little bit of extra protection before the flames reach the inside of the home.
Making your house more fire-resistant can be complicated. There are many elements to consider and siding is one of them. Your walls, roof, and interior should also be considered. Highmark Restoration is here to help you on your way to a more fire-resistant home.