Decking for Fire Safety: How to Reduce the Risk of Fire on Your Deck
When you're designing an outdoor space with decking, fire safety is an important consideration. Decks are susceptible to fire, and it's important to take precautions to minimize the risk of a fire. In this blog post, we will discuss how to reduce the risk of fire on your deck, and the steps you can take to ensure the safety of your home and family. We will also cover the different materials you can use for decking that are fire-resistant, and how you can incorporate fire safety features into your deck design.
The Risks of Fire on Your Deck
Decks are often built close to the house and surrounded by flammable materials, making them vulnerable to fire. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), there were an estimated 10,000 reported home structure fires involving decks or patios each year from 2014 to 2018. These fires resulted in an annual average of 30 civilian deaths, 130 civilian injuries, and $246 million in direct property damage.
There are several factors that can increase the risk of fire on your deck, including:
- Proximity to the house: A deck that is too close to the house can increase the risk of fire spreading to the home.
- Use of flammable materials: Wood and other flammable materials used for decking, railings, and furniture can increase the risk of fire.
- Heat sources: Grills, fire pits, and outdoor heaters can all create heat sources that can increase the risk of fire.
Building a Fire-Resistant Deck
One of the best ways to reduce the risk of fire on your deck is to choose fire-resistant materials. The most common materials used for decking are wood, composite, and PVC. Of these, wood is the most flammable and should be avoided if fire safety is a concern.
Composite decking, on the other hand, is a great option for fire resistance. Composite decking is made from a blend of recycled wood fibers and plastic, making it resistant to fire, rot, and insects. Additionally, composite decking doesn't require the same maintenance as wood, and won't splinter or crack.
PVC decking is another option for fire resistance. PVC decking is made from 100% plastic, making it resistant to fire, rot, and insects. PVC decking is also extremely low maintenance, and won't splinter or crack.
Fire Safety Features for Your Deck
In addition to choosing fire-resistant materials for your deck, there are several other features you can incorporate into your deck design to improve fire safety. These include:
- Fire-resistant coatings: There are several coatings available that can be applied to wood decking to improve fire resistance. These coatings can also be applied to other flammable materials on your deck, such as railings and furniture.
- Fire pits and fireplaces: If you plan to use a fire pit or fireplace on your deck, be sure to choose a model that is designed for outdoor use and follow all safety guidelines.
- Grills: When using a grill on your deck, make sure it is placed a safe distance from the house and other flammable materials. Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for use and maintenance.
- Smoke detectors: Installing smoke detectors on or near your deck can help alert you to a fire and give you time to evacuate.
When it comes to designing a safe and fire-resistant deck, there are several steps you can take to minimize the risk of fire. Choosing fire-resistant materials such as composite and PVC decking, incorporating fire safety features into your deck design, and following all safety guidelines for using heat sources on your deck can all help to reduce the risk of fire