Wood-Framed Buildings and Fire Resistant Curtains: What You Need to Know
Wood-framed buildings are popular for its cost-effectiveness, ease of construction and aesthetic appeal. However, wood construction also poses a higher risk in case of fire outbreaks. The combustible nature of wood makes it easy to ignite, and once ignited, it can quickly spread and cause extensive damages to the building and the occupants. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), between 2013 and 2017, an average of 31% of fires in non-residential buildings involved structural elements made of wood or wood products.
To mitigate the risk of fire outbreaks in wood-framed buildings, fire resistance features such as fire-resistant curtains are often installed. These curtains serve as a barrier to contain and slow down the spread of fire and smoke, giving the occupants more time to evacuate safely and minimizing property damages. In this article, we will discuss what you need to know about wood-framed buildings and fire-resistant curtains.
Understanding the fire resistant curtains Fire Resistance Rating
Fire-resistant curtains are rated based on their fire-resistant properties. The fire resistance rating of a curtain measures the length of time a curtain can withstand fire and still perform its designated function. The rate of the curtain is represented by a letter and a number, for instance, a curtain rated A60 can withstand fire exposure for 60 minutes.
According to the International Building Code (IBC), fire-resistant curtains must have a fire rating of at least 20 minutes. However, the required rating varies depending on the building occupancy, height, number of stories and proximity to other buildings. For example, buildings with high occupancies, such as schools and hospitals, require curtains with a higher rating than those with lower occupancies, such as private residential buildings.
Choosing the Right Fire Resistant Curtain
When choosing a fire-resistant curtain for a wood-framed building, there are several factors to consider. These include:
– Fire rating: As discussed earlier, the fire rating of a curtain is a critical factor to consider. Ensure that you choose a curtain that meets the required fire rating for your building occupancy and type.
– Material: Fire-resistant curtains are made from different materials. The most common materials include fiberglass and glass-ceramic fabrics. Fiberglass fabrics are cost-effective and less thick, making it the best option for small openings. On the other hand, glass-ceramic fabrics can withstand higher temperatures and are ideal for large openings and buildings with higher fire risks.
– Installation: The installation of the curtains is another crucial factor to consider. The curtains must be installed correctly to ensure that they can withstand fire exposure. Ensure that you engage a professional contractor to install the curtains.
– Maintenance: Fire-resistant curtains must be well-maintained to function correctly in case of a fire outbreak. Ensure that you carry out regular inspections and maintenance of the curtains as per the manufacturer’s guidelines.
Wood-framed buildings have become popular in the construction industry due to their cost-effectiveness and aesthetic appeal. However, the combustible nature of wood poses a higher risk of fire outbreaks. Fire-resistant curtains serve as a barrier to slow down the spread of fire and smoke, giving occupants more time to evacuate safely and minimizing property damages. When choosing a fire-resistant curtain, it’s essential to consider the fire rating, material, installation, and maintenance. Engage a professional contractor to install and maintain the curtains to ensure they function correctly in case of a fire outbreak.