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Charlotte Siding: Article About Siding Safety

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A home's siding is an essential feature of its exterior shell. This part of a house intersects its foundation and roof, creating a water-tight structure. Due to the large surface area that siding comprises, manufacturers and installers often take steps to enhance its resistance to hazards such as fire. Homeowners should work with local Charlotte siding contractors to make sure that their siding is as safe as possible.

One of the leading safety concerns with siding is its ability to resist fire. Pressure impregnation of fire retardant chemicals can be performed on several types of siding including cedar and redwood. Since wood is naturally flammable when it's dried and cured, these chemical additives strengthen the safety of the wood. Local building codes typically require that fire-resistive sealants or treatments be applied to wood siding either during the manufacturing stage or at the time the house is built. Vinyl and aluminum siding don't require these coatings because they have a high level of resistance to open flame. PVC doesn't ignite until it reaches temperatures greater than 730 degrees Fahrenheit compared to 500 degrees Fahrenheit for lumber products. Aluminum can reach temperatures in excess of 1,200 Fahrenheit degrees without igniting.

Another way to increase wood siding's fire resistance is by increasing its limiting oxygen index, which is a measure of how much environmental oxygen a material requires in order to continue burning once it's been ignited.

A siding contractor from Southern Home Services of Charlotte NC can answer your questions about windows or fiber cement siding.

Wood will burn rapidly if it's not treated with fire retardants, which raise its limiting oxygen index. Vinyl and aluminum have a high limiting oxygen index level, meaning that under typical atmospheric conditions of 21 percent oxygen, PVC, concrete and metal siding won't continue to burn.

When new siding is installed onto a home, the underlay is a critical structure that prevents fire from spreading through the exterior walls and up the roof or inside the house. Old layers of tar paper and other petroleum-based products should be removed and replaced with fire-resistant materials. Contractors adhere to the National Fire Protection Association's NFPA 72 code, which provides guidelines for homes built of different types of materials.

For the highest levels of fire resistance, homeowners should look for products with a Class 1A fire rating. These materials can give homeowners more time to evacuate in the case of a fire. They also provide added protection in case a nearby structure is burning or if there's a wildfire in the area.

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