Every year, the fire departments throughout the U.S. get more than 1.6 million calls. Unfortunately, fires do not only cause material damage but injuries and death as well. To protect their homes and the people who live there, homeowners need to strictly follow local building codes that order the use of fire-resistant materials and fire systems. When you are building or upgrading your home, you should keep in mind how different materials can affect your home. Here, we will explain what Class A fire rating is and why it is important.
What’s Fire Resistance?
Fire-resistant materials can prevent or hold back the transfer of hot gases and heat from the fire. By using them you can stop the fire from spreading.
Class A Fire Rating
The Class A fire rating is a very rigid standard for building materials. Materials that have this rating have a flame spread rating of between 0 and 25. Class B or Class C materials have a higher flame spread and do not perform so well in case of fire. Class A materials provide the utmost fire resistance and are effective against fires caused by wood, cloth, paper, and other common combustibles.
So, how do experts determine which materials are Class A, B, or C? The fire-resistance rating is the duration for which a certain material can withstand a standard fire resistance test. Usually, this is quantified as a measure of time, while sometimes it includes a variety of other criteria that determine a material’s ability to perform a certain structural function when exposed to fire.
There are some other methods of determining fire resistance, such as designs of materials that have fire-resistance ratings and design documentation from official sources.
International Fire Code
Regardless of whether you live in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee, or Georgia, the International Fire Code commands that buildings need to be designed to meet strict performance standards and incorporate passive and active fire safety features. According to Section 803, the vertical exits of buildings that have a maximum of two stories can have a Class B interior finish for buildings without sprinklers and Class C for buildings with an interior sprinkler system. In addition, Class C interior finish materials are allowed in rooms with a capacity of four persons or less.
Whether you are building a new home or repairing your old one, you should use ignition-resistant building techniques and Class A-rated materials. Here are some of the best materials you can use to create a safe home.
Since Class A means that the material in question provides the best fire resistance, you should look for roof coverings that have this rating. Not all coverings meet this standard, so make sure you know what you are getting. Materials such as fiberglass shingles, concrete, asphalt, and clay tiles are Class A roof coverings. You may have noticed that some materials have a “by-assembly Class A fire rating”. This means that the material doesn’t possess an A-class rating on its own. However, contractors can insert various materials such as fire-resistant wood between the roof sheathing and covering to meet the Class A standard.
If you wish to create new interior walls in your home, make sure they are made from fire-resistant materials. Hire experienced contractors who will create smoke-tight walls with protected openings so the flames don’t rapidly spread through your home in case of fire.
Standard walls spread vertically from the foundation to the roof and are stable in case of fire and will not collapse.
Whether you have a crawl space or a basement, the insulation requirements you need to fulfill are the same. Three inches of continuous R-15 insulation should be placed on the interior or exterior walls. If you wish, you can also cover interior walls with R-19 and R-13 cavity insulation. On the basement ceiling, you should place at least seven inches of thick insulation.
Protecting Your Home
To keep your home safe and protected from a fire, you should install, repair, and maintain your systems according to the local code and the International Fire Code. Even if some fire protection systems are not legally required, you should install them either way. Your home is your biggest investment, not to mention that in case of a fire your loved ones could get hurt, so you can never have too many fire protection systems.
Although many homeowners believe that their homes are safe because they have installed smoke detectors and sprinklers and bought fire extinguishers, fire-resistant materials are the first line of defense against spreading fires. Structures such as floors and walls that are made from this type of material are the key to containing fires and slowing down their spread.
Keeping their home free of fire hazards and ensuring the safety of their home and family is every homeowner’s responsibility. If you wish to insulate below the grade areas such as your basement or your crawl space, contact expert contractors in your area. AFS Foundation & Waterproofing Specialists helps homeowners maintain stable homes, so do not hesitate to schedule a free inspection and repair estimate. After performing a thorough inspection of your home, our experts can recommend steps that will ensure the safety of your home.