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Most Fire-resistant Building Materials

Posted by Joe P on 5/13/2014

When it comes to fire, timing is everything.

The time it takes for firefighters to get to a fire sceneis important. The time it takes for a fire to start, the time it takes to spread and the time it takes to collapse a building or burn through an acre of forest is very important. Too long or too short a time in any of these scenarios can make the difference between everyone getting out alive, and no one getting out alive.

And some the of the keys to fires in structures is to obviously take every precaution to prevent a fire from starting. But even then, risks are there, so what to do at that point? While you can't un-start a fire once it's begun, buildings are or can be constructed with materials that can slow the spread of a fire - adding more time to the clock so that people who are in the building or along the perimeter can escape and minimize injuries and casualties. The key to know when you are re-building or building or renovating a structure is to understand some of the most fire-retardant building materials available to provide the best protection for everyone in or around that building.

Here is a quick list of the five most fire-resistant materials, for you to share with family and friends who might be considering some improvements to a home or commerical structure.

Fire-resistant glass. This can take the form of double-paned glass windows, where one pane will break first before the second one. That time between the first break and the second may be enough of a warning to get people out. Another option is to use wired glass or tempered glass, which is subject to heat in the forming process and makes the glass four times stronger than regular glass.

Concrete. Now concrete isn't always the most fahionable material to use for walls or ceiling, but it is considered a top fire-resistant material because it does not combust and it take a long time for fire to affect it in any measurable way. But the amount of resistance depends on the amount and type of aggregate used, so if you will be using concrete, try to find the best mixture for maximum fire-resistance.

Stucco. Yes, the material that is so common on many western homes and Spanish-inspired structures, is a very good fire retardant. It is reported that just an inch of stucco can put a one-hour fire rating on a wall - which should be plenty of time to get people out of the building.

Gypsum. Many structures, including residential structures, have gypsum in their walls - gypsum board is also called drywall. Gypsum is a strong fire-resistant material, and many drywall contractors who want to improve a fire-resistant rating often use more than one layer of gypsum board in their drywall installations.

Brick. Individual bricks are more fire-resistant than a brick wall, because the mortar that holds a wall together is not very fire-resistant at all. However, a well-constructed brick wall, depending on thickness and other factors, could have as much as a four-hour fire rating.

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