[Posted on Nov 22]
Written by: Aaron Presley
Fire retardant wood, also commonly called Fire Retardant Treated Wood (FRTW), is lumber specifically treated with certain chemicals that limit the spread of a fire and smoke. Fire retardant wood provides an added measure of protection against potential house fires, ensuring the safety of the building’s occupants and its contents. Fire retardant lumber is also often the most important lumber to consider when putting up ranch fencing, due to the prevalence of wildfires across the country. Authorities across the world have made fire retardant wood a requirement for building modern structures; in the U.S., most major cities have adopted building codes that require its use. So, why should you use Fire Retardant Lumber?
Reduces Likelihood of Combustion
Treated lumber has a higher point of ignition, meaning it takes higher temperatures to ignite fire retardant lumber than untreated lumber. Fire retardant chemicals coat treated lumber and ranch fencing with an unreactive, noncombustible layer, so that the plank of wood underneath the chemical layer is much more difficult to ignite. Some of the most common causes of structural fires include stray sparks generated from bad wiring, so by using fire retardant wood, the likelihood of such a fire starting reduces dramatically.
Limits Flame Mobility
Fire retardant wood also acts by limiting a flame’s mobility. In most circumstances, when a spark or heat is exposed to wood, the wood will catch on fire and the flames will travel down the entire piece of wood. Eventually, these flames manage to ignite the adjacent wood or the surrounding materials. Treated lumber will not permit flames to travel from one end of a piece of lumber to the other, and it prevents the transfer of flames from one piece of material to another. This enables fires to remain confined to an isolated area in a house or building, if a fire should break out. Building occupants will have much more time to evacuate a burning complex built with fire retardant wood.
Prevents Heat and Smoke Emission
When wood undergoes combustion, it emits heat and smoke into the air. By limiting the expelled heat from the wood, the odds that the flame will continue to grow decrease considerably. Smoke production, the leading cause of death in house-fires, is also reduced by the chemicals used to treat fire retardant wood.
Other Reasons to Use Treated Lumber
Aside from the obvious protective measures that treated lumber offers, it also has other benefits. Some cities have regulations and building codes that require public buildings, like apartment complexes, schools, and hospitals, to use fire retardant lumber. They also often have regulations that encourage its use elsewhere; sometimes builders can avoid having to put in a sprinkler system if they build with fire retardant lumber.