Building a fireproof house: choosing the right materials (2023)

as effect ofclimate changeAs they continue, wildfires across the US are growing larger and more destructive than ever. 2020,Wildfires burned 10.1 million acresDestruction of thousands of homes. The western US is particularly prone to wildfire with cities likeColorado Springs, Colorado, jSacramento, Californiaare at high risk of fire damage.

as a homeownerfire prone conditionsAs you begin rebuilding, you may be wondering if it's possible to build a house that could easily withstand another wildfire. While it may not be possible to build a completely fireproof home, there are many different precautions you can take to make your home as fireproof as possible.

Understand fire ratings when building your home fireproof

First, it is important to understand fire class ratings and how they work. Fire ratings are a way of classifying materials based on their ability to withstand and spread fire. They also measure how much smoke the material can generate, which is determined by a flame spread index.

Flame Spread Index is a value typically obtained by examining how a given material behaves during a ten minute tunnel test. The Flame Spread Index value is expressed as an arbitrary numerical value from zero to 100, where a hardly flammable material has a value of zero and a highly flammable material has a value of one hundred.

A class

A fire resistance class A is the best fire resistance class that a material can achieve. Class A fire ratings indicate a flame spread rating between zero and 25. materials consisting of brick,Asbestos cement plate,and rock wool often reach class A.

class B

Class B fire spread rate would be between 26 and 75. This rating is typical of slower burning solid wood materials such as cedar, hemlock or fir.

Class C

The Class C fire resistance rating has a flame spread rating between 76 and 200. This rating includes building materials such as plywood, fiberboard, and hardboard siding. This also includes solid woods that burn faster, such as birch or Douglas fir.

Building a fireproof house: choosing the right materials (1)

Fire resistant roofs and cladding


aluminum and steelcoating optionsThey are practically unsurpassed in terms of resistance to environmental hazards. Not only do they easily withstand rain, wind, hail and sleet, they are also extremely fireproof. Almost all metal siding is given an A fire rating and is labeled non-combustible, meaning it will not ignite or spread fire in fire safety tests.


As an alternative to vinyl siding, fiber cement is a mixture of cement, sand, and wood fibers. Fiber cement achieves a high class A fire resistance.

Fiberglass based asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingles make up nearly 80 percent of residential roofing materials in the United States. They are one of the cheapest options on the market. With a Class A fire resistance rating, fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are highly resistant to fire when laid with fire-protection underlay.

Brick and stone cladding

Fire hazard is reduced when brick and stone cladding is used over timber frames. Since brick and stone do not have caulked joints, they can prevent fire from entering the cavity of the stud and igniting the structure of the house. Brick and stone can be used as ceilings and cladding with an A fire rating.

material and average costs

Blech $ 1,00 - $ 2,50/sqft

Faserzement 5 $ - 13,50 $/m²

Fiberglass based asphalt shingles $1-2/m²

Brick and stone veneers $5-$10/sqft

Building a fireproof house: choosing the right materials (2)

Pro Tips: Fire Resistant Cladding and Roofing

Choosing a fireproof roofing material and using a fireproof barrier underneath gives you peace of mind. Consider using metal or slate tiles, both of which have an A fire rating. These types of materials can cost $700 to $800 per 100 square feet. Shingles are a common roofing material and the fiberglass based variety offers excellent fire resistance when installed with fire rated subfloors. The Class A shingle has the affordability of asphalt shingles and costs between $50 and $100 per 100 square feet.Pisgah roofing and restoration

The first thing we recommend when it comes to refractory applications is DensGlass Sheathing. Fiberglass and gypsum siding for walls (particularly when combined with a fire-resistant exterior material such as brick or stone and a fire-resistant roof) provide the fire protection that homeowners want, but also protect against moisture and mold. This product works well in hot or cold climates. –Blythe construction company

Building a fireproof house: choosing the right materials (3)

Fire resistant decking and frames

Composite Decking

Many house fires start on decks because most types of wood used to build decks have a fire rating of C. However, using composite decking is a much safer alternative. Composite decking such as Ameradeck and Trex are made of PVC and wood fiber, giving them an A fire rating.

Structural Insulated Panels (SIP)

These large wall panels can replace a traditional stud frame. Their laminate panels are constructed with a rigid foam core sandwiched between a structural panel such as a oriented strand board or plywood. In some cases, SIPs are clad with fiber cement, giving them an A fire rating, extreme weather resistance, and resistance to mold and water damage.

aerated concrete

These blocks are made of concrete mixed with aluminum. They're half the weight of a typical cinder block and offer better insulation. With AAC blocks you get about one hour of flame retardancy per inch of block, giving them one of the highest fire ratings per hour per inch of any building material.

Wood with fire retardant treatment (FRT)

While traditional bar frames are highly flammable, they can still be a viable option for fireproofing your home when treated with a fire retardant. Fire retardant wood has an A fire rating and is usually available from the same companies that pressure treat wood. It's an affordable alternative to other fireproof frame materials that cost about $3 for a 12-foot treated 2x4.

material and average costs

Composite decking $2 - $3 per linear foot

Building Insulation Board $3.50 - $5/sqft

Aerated concrete $2.50 - $3/sqft

Fire Retardant Treated Lumber +25% Untreated Lumber (12ft 2x4 = $3 average)

Pro tip: Fire resistant decking and frames

InAreas threatened by forest firesHomeowners can use fireproof decking to create the ultimate setting for outdoor living. Options such as prefabricated steel deck framing systems provide proven fire resistance, strength and performance to support deck functions while matching the rustic industrial aesthetics in demand today. With the volatility of the timber market, firefighting alternatives to traditional framing materials are not as scarce as they used to be. –Fortification Products

Building a fireproof house: choosing the right materials (4)

Fire-resistant windows and doors

double glazed windows

These windows are not designed to protect against the heat of a fire andforest fire damage, but they offer more protection than a single glass window. By acting as a barrier, the outer layer of glass retards the heating of the inner panel and helps resist cracking. For window frames, steel offers the highest fire resistance, followed by wood and aluminium.

Steel garage door

Steel is an excellent fire resistant garage door. Fire rated garage doors like Wayne-Dalton's 9000 Series have a core of "foam polyurethane insulation," a heat-resistant material bonded to outer steel plates. These doors typically range in price from $800 to $2,000 depending on size and design.

Steel entrance door

Fire protection specialists often recommend metal entrance doors forProtect your home from forest fires. So if your goal is to make the house as fireproof as possible, try to use steel front doors in as many places as possible. Metal doors can offer up to 90 minutesFire protectionto allow sufficient escape time in the event of a fire.

Fire doors made of wood

If you don't want to sacrifice the aesthetics of a wooden door for the fire safety of a metal door, there are a variety of wooden fire doors to choose from. These doors are built with a core that allows up to 20 minutes of fire protection.

material and average costs

Double glazed windows $200+

Steel garage door 800 - $2,000

Steel entry door $250+

Wood fire doors $800-$900

Pro tips: fire-resistant windows and doors

Windows must withstand windblown debris and we use metal storm shutters, similar to metal fire shutters on the west coast. No matter where we are on the planet, there seems to be some type of weather event that our structures must survive. Strong materials such as steel and concrete are generally the highest quality construction methods that allow our homes to survive fires and storms. –Group Mark Batson

The rule of thumb for fire-resistant windows is: aluminum frames with insulating glass can withstand the heat of a wildfire longer. Consider tempered glass. Various types of fire-resistant glass can be used. Glazing thicknesses of up to 60 mm enable a wide range of possible uses. The new concept is based on the Schüco FireStop ADS 90 FR 90 platform with 90 minutes of fire resistance. –Sustainable windows and doors

Building a fireproof house: choosing the right materials (5)

Fire resistant insulation and systems


Fiberglass insulation is commonly used in residential and commercial buildings. It is created by weaving fine glass threads. Fiberglass is very affordable, widely available, and extremely effective as home insulation. However, extreme care must be taken during installation to prevent small pieces of glass from damaging your eyes, skin and even your lungs. Although fiberglass is not completely fire retardant, it can withstand temperatures of up to 1220 degrees.

reflective insulation

This very popular form of insulation is typically used between floor studs, ceiling joists and wall joints. Its reflective insulation is designed to reflect heat. Manufactured by bonding a reflective material such as aluminum to a sheet of plastic or cardboard, it is often used in combination with other forms of insulation to increase its fire resistance.


There are several types of mineral wool to choose from, including glass wool, rock wool, and slag wool. In the United States, slag wool is most commonly used. Although mineral wool cannot withstand as high temperatures as other options, it is classified as non-combustible and has been shown to reduce the rate of fire spread.


Cellulosic foam offers much higher heat resistance than regular cellulose insulation, but it can still burn at very high temperatures. Rigid foam insulation using expanded polystyrene is generally preferred due to certain forms of cellulosic foam that produce gases associated with a variety of health problems. Two of the most commonly used non-toxic foam options are Icynene, a mixture of carbon dioxide and water, and Air Krete, a solution made by extracting magnesium oxide from seawater.

material and average cost

Fiberglass $0.60 - $0.90/sqft

Reflective Insulation $0.35 - $0.75/sqft

Mineral wool $1.40 - $2.10/sqft

Foam $0.60 - $0.90/sqft


This article is for informational purposes only. Individual results are subject to change. This is not intended as a substitute for the services of a licensed and bonded home automation or fire safety professional.


Redfin came as an expert onColumbia, South Carolinato provide our best advice on fire safety for your home. Republished with permission. See the original post here:Fireproof House: The best fireproof building materials for your home.

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