As a homeowner, wildfires can be one of the most terrifying threats to life and property, and 776,000 homes with an associated reconstruction cost value of more than $221 billion are at extreme risk of wildfire damage — and that was before the record breaking year of wildfire damage in 2020. It goes without saying that homeowners living in wildfire-prone states need to ensure their homes are protected.
Certain building materials can help protect your home from the devastating effect of wildfires and fire-rated fiber cement is one of the best materials you can utilize to minimize fire risk.
It will come as no surprise that the western United States is at the most risk for wildfires. Still, due to population density ranges, the list differs.
By estimated number of properties at risk (as of September 2019), California tops the list with 2,019,800 homes at risk of wildfire damage. Texas comes in second at 717,800, Colorado in third with 371,100, Arizona in fourth with 237,900 and Idaho in fifth place with 175,000.
By percentage of properties at risk (as of September 2019), Montana tops the list with 29% of homes at risk. Idaho comes in second at 26%, Colorado in third at 17%, California in fourth at 16% and New Mexico in fifth place with 15% of homes at risk.Houston, TX, Contempo Builders
With fiber cement siding, fire-resistance and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive. Architects have discovered the benefits of fiber cement siding: stunningly beautiful, fire-resistant and easy to install. Other materials face many drawbacks — wood becomes fuel for fires, vinyl can melt and concrete is expensive and tedious to install.
Wildfire is a unique peril because the damage is often binary: a home is either left untouched or is completely destroyed. Unlike flooding or hail, it can often result in a 100% loss of the building. This is why choosing your building materials in a high-risk area is so important.Copyright © 2020 HOMMA, Inc. HOMMA ONE, Benicia, CA
Homeowners can take direct action and form a Firewise community through NFPA’s Firewise USA program by working with their local fire department or state forestry agency to get a wildfire risk assessment. The assessment, which is updated every five years, provides homeowners with an audit of areas they can improve upon for wildfire risk reduction.
In conjunction with building with fire resistant materials, you also can harden your home. This is done by:
Organizations such as ASTM International, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Canada/Unlimited Liability Corporation (CAN/ULC) and Underwriter’s Laboratories have created tests that organizations can use to measure ignition resistance, combustibility and flame spread in their building products.
Making sure your exterior materials are fire tested is incredibly important. Nichiha’s architectural wall panels have passed some of the most stringent fire tests in the nation, including California’s Office of the State Fire Marshall (SFM) CA SFM 12.7A-1. This test ultimately determines the performance of exterior walls, including siding and sheathing, when exposed directly to flames.
Moreover, Nichiha’s exterior wall panels meet NFPA 268, NFPA 285, and ULC S134 fire codes, three tests that evaluate ignition resistance qualities. Nichiha cladding qualifies as a Class A building material due to it having a flame spread index of zero, which means that fiber-cement does not easily ignite or spread flames.
Installing a fire-proof exterior such as fiber cement siding can end up saving your house. For example, this family office in California survived the Mendocino Lake Complex Fire because it used Nichiha’s red-wood fiber cement siding. 36,000 acres burned and 546 buildings were destroyed. But the fiber cement covered building stood tall.Trimbach Builders, Bozeman, MT
As more structures built with Nichiha’s wall panels survive fires and close calls, architects, builders and homeowners are taking notice. Nichiha’s fiber cement siding options give you beauty and flexibility alongside fire resistance and durability.
Be safe and prepared to handle destruction and damage from wildfires. Check out Nichiha’s fire-resistant siding options to see if we have a solution for you.