Stay safe with fire retardant building materials

Flame retardant building materials can help minimize damage in house fires.

From coast to coast and in practically every state in between, extreme heat and oppressive drought have reigned supreme this summer. As temperatures reached (and stayed within!) the triple digits and rain clouds continued to hold out, they created a dangerous cocktail of conditions that added fuel to the considerable risk of fire homeowners already face.

In 2014, for example, building fires were reported nearly once every minute, according to the National Fire Protection Agency. From damaged goods to structural instability, these fires accounted for $9.8 billion in property damage. Beyond material losses, however, the fires also proved tragic for the people who lived and worked in the affected buildings - nearly 3,000 people were killed and upwards of 13,000 injured in structure fires, according to the NFPA.

"Fire retardant materials can help contain damage and keep you and your family safe."

While there's little you can do to avoid the hot, dry conditions that may increase this risk, you can better protect yourself by choosing fire-retardant materials on your next building project. These materials have been specifically designed to limit the spread of flames if a fire should break out at your house, helping contain damage and keep you and your family safe. Plus, they come in many varieties and can be leveraged in a number of home-improvement environments, so you'll never have to compromise safety for functionality or appearance.

OSB Sheathing

While not the most visible part of a building, the wall, floor and roof structures are among the most foundational. Keeping these sections protected during a fire could help contain flames to just one room, or even make the difference between a building collapsing and being saved. Oriented strand board sheathing like LP FlameBlock provides a safer alternative to plywood when building these skeletal structures by limiting flame spread and burn-through rates. Plus, they can add strength to a structure even when fire is not present.

Fire retardant treated wood

Sometimes, projects like decks might call for more traditional wood boards - there's simply no way around it. But, as any Boy Scout could tell you, wood is a key fuel in most fires. To preserve our ability to build with wood without making our homes into tinderboxes, companies like Dricon have developed ways to treat natural wood that make it far less dangerous when exposed to flames. Fire-resistant chemicals embedded deep into the fibers of the wood limit the speed at which fire spreads, as well as how much smoke it produces. That way, builders can still take advantage of the flexibility, warmth and environmental advantages of wood without compromising safety.

At Amerhart, we're committed to helping homeowners not only live well, but also live safe.