3 MIN READ

Choosing The Right Siding Product Could Be The Difference Between A Siding Repair Or A Siding Replacement After A Wildfire

The Summer of 2020 was devastating for The West Coast. California, Oregon, and Washington have had many active fires that continue to evolve and spread throughout our region. As temperatures reach higher averages and conditions get drier, matters can continue to worsen, increasing the number of disasters we may see throughout the upcoming years. Wildfires thrive in dry conditions, which areas across the country seem to be transitioning to with so many homes at high or extreme wildfire risk. As wildfires spread, we will become familiar with hot temperatures, resulting in persistent droughts. This is why people have to take proactive steps like using safer products to protect homes; fire-resistant siding and trim, fire-resistant plants, and fire-resistant roofing.  With the chances of fires increasing, wildfire protection is essential to protect as many trees, wildlife, and homes as possible. 

Wildfire Siding Damage

Wildfire Siding Damage occurs mainly on homes with fiber cement siding. Best case scenario, the wildfire siding damage is only on the surface and can just be cleaned up. Homes with wood siding will generally have more wildfire siding damage and possibly structural damage if there is fire intrusion. Wildfire siding damage on homes with vinyl siding usually results in a complete loss of the structure because the heat alone can melt the vinyl siding.

“According to Verisk’s 2019 Wildfire Risk Analysis, 4.5 million, U.S homes were identified at high or extreme risk of wildfire.”

Protect Your Home During Wildfire Season

Protecting your home from wildfires starts with the first line of defense, the home’s exterior. If you want to protect your home from extreme weather including wildfire, FEMA recommends fire-resistant siding. If you’re going to avoid fire-related home damage, you must cover your home’s exterior with the right material. Amongst the handful of brands that can protect your home from unpredictable weather and wildfires, James Hardie Fiber Cement Siding and Trim is one that standouts, it is non-combustible and made from premium raw materials and proprietary additives, which include:

  • Cement
  • Water
  • Cellulose Fiber
  • Silica

“James Hardie invests more than $20 million every year in research and development to continue offering innovative, durable, and fire-resistant products.”

Fire Resistant Siding Put To The Test

We want you and your family to be safe, so we spend extensive time training our crews on how to correctly install and repair siding and the materials that go behind it. So, if you don’t have fire-resistant siding, now is a good time to start thinking about protecting your home. Don’t think it is worth it? Check out the video below of a couple who only had to repair a few pieces siding from fire damage that occurred during a wildfire in California.

Various IAS Certified Laboratories have tested this fiber cement material to ASTM International Standards. James Hardie is non-combustible, has a flame spread index of zero, and a smoke-developed index of < five. Fiber cement fire resistance does not extend to applied paints or coatings, which may be damaged or char when exposed to flames. In many cases, the damage does not go beyond siding and can simply be cleaned to restore it to new.

Wood and Vinyl Siding

On the other hand, if you have select wood siding or vinyl siding, those materials are combustible and will ignite, adding fuel to the fire. Combustible siding makes your home and valuables inside vulnerable to wildfire as the fire can easily penetrate through the siding and into a home’s living space. If the fire gets through to the living space and no one is present to extinguish the fire, the house could be flames. By having the first layer of defense a non-combustible exterior siding, you can add a protection layer to stop the fire penetration. 

Fire will destroy wood and melt vinyl siding right away, but James Hardie siding will not ignite when exposed to direct flame, nor will it contribute fuel to a fire. Watch how Hardie siding holds up in this video versus wood and vinyl siding.

“James Hardie siding, recognized by fire departments nationwide.”

When combined with specific 1-hour related Warnock Hersey and UL assemblies, Fiber cement siding will make a wall assembly that resists flame and heat for as long as an hour. By delaying the fire’s penetration, you give yourself and the firefighters time to extinguish the fire before severe damage is done.

After being exposed to different elements all day, every day, for years, your siding takes a toll on the material. This is why your siding has to be durable and ready for whatever Mother Nature has in store for us; water, weather, fire, and time could leave your home looking older and damaged. In the chance of a fire, you want to know your home’s walls will protect you and your family. 

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