When you look at the building materials, you will realize that a certain hierarchy is maintained. For instance, granite and wood are the most famous, glass and aluminum trends, and marble is at the high end. Concrete is the last of all being poor and unloved. It is used to make pavements and floors. Although some people love it, most don’t. In the recent past, individuals’ perspectives have changed, and things are changing for concrete, with many using it for home construction. Its strong nature, durability, and resistance to fire make it ideal for building homes.
The materials used to make concrete, including cement, and the aggregate materials are inert and therefore non-combustible. As a result, concrete transfers heat slowly and can shield fire for long and protect fire flames from spreading to the rest of the rooms even when the heat is intense.
How do the properties of concrete make it impervious to flames?
As mentioned earlier, concrete is fire resistant. This means that while everything else around is burning, concrete remains strong and standing. For one to determine the ability of a material to resist fire, one must consider checking the rate of heat transfer and the material combustion rate against the heat temperatures, fire source, and ventilation . Concrete walls can withstand fire for more than four hours compared to wood-framed walls burnt within less than an hour (Source: International Association of Certified Home Inspectors). Moreover, concrete releases smoke, toxic fumes and drip molten particles when it burns, unlike other building materials.
Understanding whether the material used for building a residential is fire resistant is essential because it helps one know whether their house will be maintained in case of a fire breakout. This is known as fire performance. The next section will look at some of the examples of fire performance.
How Does Concrete Hold up?
Recently, most home builders have embraced the use of concrete in framing, one reason being its resistance to fire. This material is considered to be ideal for home building because of its fire performance. According to statistics, concrete holds better than wood when the heat is intense. This is somehow because of this material containment or compartmentalization of fire. A good example of this case is the World Trade Center Towers fire of 11th September 2001.
Although there was intense heat released from the jet fuel, the concrete slabs on every floor of the tower reduced the impact of fire for some time. The rest of the parts of the tower that were framed using steel and other materials were weak and burnt down when the heat reached 800 degree. Still, due to the availability of the concrete material, engineers say that the fire performance of the towers was good. The containment properties of the concrete allowed as many people to run to safety before the building collapsed.
Moreover, concrete is a good building material because its strong and firm property makes it stand against hazards such as hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. It also provides a soundproof material and energy-efficient compared to the alternative. However, like everything else, concrete has its shortcomings. For one, these materials lead to a release of a significant amount of CO2 in the atmosphere, which is not good for humans, animals, or plants. Its carbon footprint is more because concrete is highly used, and the factories are also becoming many.
Ever wondered why not all homes are built using concrete even though it’s fire-resistant? We will answer this in the following section.
What makes concrete fire resistant?
Concrete is firm and eliminates many hazards than wood. However, many Americans will choose to use wood they attach to wood emotionally. For them, wood was earlier on a living thing. Also, unlike concrete, wood is beautiful and can trump practicality. For more information on concrete and services we offer, you can call us through (628) 215-0488.