In case of a fire, Chicago homeowners need to know their house can protect their family and possessions. One of the most practical ways to safeguard a home is your exterior siding—because some materials are better than others at keeping flames at bay.
Consider investing in the siding that firefighters recommend for its resistance to fire—lovely, long-lasting James Hardie fiber cement siding. Here’s what you need to know.
Improving Your Home’s Fire Resistance Is Vital
Many homeowners don’t like thinking about the possibility of a house fire, but there’s a reason you should.
Across the country, fires kill more Americans each year than all other natural disasters combined. In a mere 30 seconds, a small flame can transform into a monstrous blaze that engulfs a home and threatens the lives of the people inside.
Losing a home to a fire is devastating. Even when people safely escape, these disasters can still cost thousands of dollars in property damage. In addition to losing the living space you love, many possessions inside it are irreplaceable, such as photos, keepsakes and the like.
What Makes Fiber Cement Siding Noncombustible?
Hardie siding is recognized by fire departments nationwide because it does not ignite, nor does it contribute fuel to a fire. Hardie siding’s proprietary blend of cement, sand, and cellulose fibers doesn’t combust—not even when directly exposed to a flame.
Resists Flames and Heat
Hardie siding has a Class A Fire rating due to its remarkable ability to stay intact even after several hours of exposure to heat. This incredible durability slows flames from spreading, allowing firefighters more time to get to your home and put out the existing fire before it can grow worse.
Protects Vital Areas
With its versatile and extensive product line, the James Hardie company offers not only planks of siding but also soffits and trim made of noncombustible fiber cement. So, you can place this protective material throughout your exterior to prevent flames from spreading to places like your attic.
Reliable and high-performing Hardie siding not only meets building requirements and ordinances, but also consistently complies with testing standards for fire resistance. And because James Hardie products are completely noncombustible, many insurance companies extend a discount to homeowners who install them.
How Does James Hardie Compare to Other Materials During a Fire?
Just an ember can turn wood siding into an inferno. If there is a fire nearby, such as a wildfire, a house with a wood exterior can easily ignite, putting the people inside at serious risk. Because wood is so combustible, it provides very little protection from fires and doesn’t score high in fire resistance tests.
Non-burning fiber cement siding, on the other hand, can resist heat for hours upon hours. The great thing about Hardie siding is that it looks just like wood, but it is much more durable.
Stucco can typically resist flames for about an hour before it begins to blaze, making it only slightly better than wood siding. It’s nice to know that if your family quickly becomes aware of a fire, they have time to escape a stucco home—but after a short amount of time, the house can become completely engulfed in flames.
Hardie siding gives fire departments time to arrive well before serious damage happens to the home. And it’s customizable in style, just as stucco is.
Yes, vinyl siding is cost-effective, but that doesn’t mean it is a safe alternative during a fire. A form of plastic, vinyl can melt when exposed to a heat source up to 40 feet away, and at even lower temperatures than wood.
In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) doesn’t recommend installing vinyl siding on a house in high fire risk areas. When vinyl siding melts, your home’s internal walls and studs are exposed to the fire that much quicker.
While Hardie siding requires a higher initial investment than vinyl, its long-lasting performance and luxurious style add great value to your home—and it also keeps you much safer in case of a fire.
Check our our Hardie Siding Guide to learn all about the pros and cons of James Hardie siding.
Other Benefits of Installing Hardie Siding
Over 8 million homes in the United States, and counting, use this top-performing fiber cement siding. Beyond its noncombustible nature, you’ll enjoy numerous additional advantages that make Hardie siding so popular for Chicago homeowners.
Hardie siding can handle any abrupt changes in temperature, seasonal changes, volatile winds, airborne debris, woodpeckers, or any other pests—giving you up to 50 years of high performance. Caring for it is usually as simple as a gentle rinse with a hose once or twice a year.
With a wide variety of styles available, you can create a look that mimics wood without the constant upkeep. It works on any architecture—from historic Colonial to rustic Farmhouse and more. It comes in beautiful colors that can be factory baked-on with ColorPlus technology to last up to 15 years without the need to repaint.
Impressive Return on Investment
Hardie siding is popular among home buyers, making it an excellent investment when you’re ready to sell. When it’s installed to specific standards by a James Hardie Preferred contractor, you’ll enjoy an industry-leading, 30-year, transferable, non-prorated warranty.
Check out this resource to learn more reasons why homeowners love fiber cement siding.
Get Siding that Makes You Proud of Your Chicago Home
When your home is ready for a makeover, turn to long-lasting, fire-resistant Hardie siding, which gives you the eye-catching curb appeal and peace of mind you deserve. The investment is well worth the results you’ll receive, especially when installed by our team, which is so highly trained that they’ve earned the James Hardie Elite Preferred contractor status.