At Risk For Fire

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Published | 04-08-2020

Know the Sources, Protect Your Properties

When we read the word fire, it sends a sense of dread through even the most stalwart of building owners. In a few moments, the investment you’ve maintained and managed can suffer serious, expensive damage, not to mention lost revenue from occupants and their activities. The main sources of fire are important to understand so that proper defenses can be implemented.

In office buildings, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) reports that the top sources of structure fires are cooking equipment, electrical distribution, and lighting equipment—as well as, unfortunately, from humans intentionally setting them. Interestingly, although fires starting in the attic, ceiling or roof assembly, or concealed space only accounted for 2% of office fires, they totaled 13% of the direct property damage in the category.[1] In warehouses, electrical distribution and lighting equipment share the top spot with intentionally set fires, which alone accounts for 32% of direct property damage.[2]

In stores and other mercantile buildings, cooking materials, electrical wire or cable, and rubbish or waste fill out the top three structure fire sources. While structural member or framing only accounts for 5% of fires, it claims 10% of direct property damage.[3] It’s no surprise that cooking equipment is the leading cause of fires in hotels and motels, but fires caused by electrical distribution and lighting equipment account for 26% of direct property damage.[4]

The location of your buildings can also increase fire risk from external sources. Wildfires on the west coast are at increased risk for airborne firebrands and embers landing on roofs and igniting them. With the prevalence of combustible decking in the region, the risk is increased.

Request a Sample of High Performance Cover Board Today.

Your fire checklist likely includes all the necessary safety equipment and protocols, but what about the very structure of the building? Is your most vulnerable location—the roof—adequately protected? How your roof assembly is designed is directly proportional to the fire resistance it provides. By using the right roof board in both the thermal position and in the cover board position, you can help protect your building in three key ways:

  • Containment from the inside: When fires originate inside your building, a thermal roof board placed on the deck helps contain fires. This makes it more difficult for fires to spread to other parts of the building through the roof.
  • Deflection from the outside: When embers from nearby fires land on your roof, a cover board keeps them from igniting the roof.
  • Crystalized water: If you select a gypsum and glass mat roof board, you have the benefit of gypsum’s internal water crystals, which release as water vapor.

Not all roof boards perform optimally in both the thermal and cover board positions. When it comes to fire, ensure you use a gypsum roof board, without combustible fiber, such as DensDeck® Prime Roof Board. Every 5/8” 4’x8’ sheet contains 2 gallons of crystallized water. In independent testing, it is rated as non-combustible, and unlike HD ISO, it measured the lowest on dangerous flames and toxins released: zero.

Not all roof boards perform optimally in both the thermal and cover board positions. When it comes to fire, ensure you use a gypsum roof board without combustible fiber, such as DensDeck® Prime Roof Board. Every 5/8” 4’x8’ sheet contains 2 gallons of crystallized water. In independent testing, it was rated as non-combustible and found to release no dangerous toxins or flames when attempting to burn the surface.[5]

Until the day that every fire is prevented from ignition, the game is risk mitigation. By using a high-performance gypsum cover board and a thermal roof board in your roof assembly design, you can help protect the assets in your portfolio from fire’s destructive grasp.

[1] https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/US-Structure-in-Office-Properties

[2] https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/Structure-Fires-in-US-Warehouses

[3] https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/Stores-and-other-mercantile-properties

[4] https://www.nfpa.org/News-and-Research/Data-research-and-tools/Building-and-Life-Safety/Hotel-and-Motel-Structure-Fires

[5] https://www.astm.org/Standards/E84.htm

Have A Roofing Expert Contact Me

Want to learn more about cover boards? Have a new roof construction project? Need assistance on a roof remodel?

HAVE A ROOFING EXPERT CONTACT ME

Want to learn more about cover boards? Have a new roof construction project? Need assistance on a roof remodel?