Protecting wooden decks from fire is very important especially if the deck is attached or near the house, and also if the house is situated in areas prone to wildfires.
Needless to say, should the deck catch fire, this will lead to a quick dispersion to nearby doors, windows and siding, and eventually into the house as well so, protecting decks from fire is very critical.
Ensure that decks are made from fire resistant materials or apply a fire retardant spray to your wooden deck. This will help to reduce the deck’s vulnerability while creating a non-combustible area beneath the deck itself, as well as around the house.
Common materials that decks are typically constructed from include solid wood as well as wood-plastic composites.
The walking surfaces of decks are often made from deck boards, with gaps between one board and the other. Solid surface decks on the other hand are generally made from tiles or lightweight concrete.
As an alternative, metal and fiber cement are recommended to build decks as these are practical and non-combustible materials ideal for deck boards.
Recently, tests on embers have been carried out at the IBHS Research Center. It was found that it was very common for embers to get lodged between the deck board gaps, and in the points where the deck boards rest onto joists.
Embers tend to accumulate in such areas, as well as rest on anything stored underneath the deck, and consequently this easily results in the igniting of the entire deck. Hence, it is crucial to remove any potentially combustible materials from beneath the deck.
These IBHS tests also demonstrated that even if there was no vegetative debris present between the deck gaps, most decks were still highly susceptible to catching fire.
This includes medium density softwood materials such as western red cedar and redwood, which are often used to build decks.
On the other hand, wood-plastic composites, and high density hardwood, are more suitable for building decks. This is because they are fire retardant and much less vulnerable to embers.
USE A LABORATORY TESTED EXTERIOR FIRE RETARDANT SPRAY
IBHS tests also showed that even without vegetative debris in between deck gaps, medium density softwood decking products, such as redwood or western red cedar are vulnerable to ember ignitions.
Most wood-plastic composites, and fire-retardant treated decking products are less vulnerable to embers. If your deck is made of natural wood, it is recommended to apply an exterior tested fire retardant spray to all exposed sides of the deck. This can prevent combustion from pre-ignition sources such as flying embers.