Wildfires are becoming an increasing problem for many homeowners across the nation, especially those that live in areas that have been impacted by recent widespread drought conditions. In fact, in August of 2015, nearly 2.5 million acres of land burned throughout the United States, damaging or destroying hundreds of structures, including homes. If you live in an area prone to wild fires and would like to make some changes to your home to make it more resistant to fire damage, it may be time to consider investing in one or more of the following improvements. 

From the Top Down

Blowing embers and ash from nearby wildfires can cause your home to ignite, if they happen to land on the surface of most types of roofing materials. Cedar shakes, asphalt shingles and many types of membrane or rolled rubber roofs can be easily ignited by contact with glowing embers spread by air currents created by the fire.  

To create a roof that can withstand the direct heat of blowing ash or embers, consider installing a metal roof. In most cases, metal roofing materials are heat and fire resistant and are easily installed over existing roofing materials. In addition, they are usually acceptable under homeowner association guidelines that may exclude less fire resistant roofing materials. 

Adding Exterior Protection

Another key area where you can improve your home's ability to resist fire is the exterior covering of the home. If your home currently has some type of siding made from vinyl, wood or resins, it will likely ignite when exposed to the heat or flames of the average wildfire. In fact, some types of vinyl siding will melt when exposed to high temperatures before catching fire and the dripping plastic material can help to feed and spread the flames, instead of resisting them. 

To create a shielding effect, choose to replace vinyl, wood or resin siding materials with fire-resistant, concrete siding products. These can be easily applied to existing structures without the need for the foundation or brick ledge often required for traditional masonry products, such as bricks. Because these products are formed from concrete, they are able to resist combustion when exposed to both heat and flames, helping to protect the structure of the home. When replacing traditional siding materials with fire-resistant ones, remember to also replace trim boards, window framing and fascia boards with the same type of fire-resistant materials. Your siding installer will be able to help you choose and install these products. 

Additional Fire Safety Improvements

While it is important to always be ready to leave your home when fire danger is imminent, there are some proactive steps you can take beforehand to help protect your home from fire damage, such as creating and maintaining a firebreak. 

To create an effective firebreak: 

  • remove vegetation around the exterior of the home and other structures
  • remove nearby trees, especially fast burning ones like cedar, pine and fir, that have the potential to ignite and spread fire toward the home or other structures
  • keep grass clipped short, or choose to remove grass and install a decorative gravel barrier around the exterior of the structures, instead
  • store gas grills, gas powered lawn equipment, spare gas cans, paint cans, solvents and other flammable liquids well away from the home, preferably within a small fire-resistant metal or concrete block shed, set aside for this use
  • choose non-combustible materials, such as concrete or paving stones instead of wood for decking, porches, patios and outdoor living areas
  • install spigots near all sides of the home and also near other smaller structures to provide easy access to water to cool down the exterior of the structures and help to alleviate heat from nearby fires

For more information about how you can protect your home by improving its ability to resist fire, contact reputable contractors in your area who specialize in working with fire-resistant building materials through sites like http://www.bluespringssidingandwindows.com