If you live in a fire zone, building a deck is about more than choosing your favorite color and grain of wood. It’s also essential you choose fire-resistant decking to help protect your home and family in the event of a wildfire.
So, what options are there for fire-resistant decking? And is there fireproof decking? It’s important to understand that no wood or composite decking is truly fireproof. However, there are fire-rated decking options with specific certifications that make them a better choice for homes in fire zones.
Fire-Resistant Decking Material Options
Your deck material options range from traditional wood species to composite and PVC decking. So, which is best for fire-prone homes?
One way to choose is by looking at a material’s flame spread rating.
What Is Flame Spread Rating?
Flame spread rating measures how fast and far a flame spreads over a certain material.
Testing for flame spread rating involves burning materials under controlled conditions and measuring the speed and extent of flame spread. The resulting number is the flame spread index, which ranges from 0-200. LEARN MORE
The best flame spread rating is Class A (with an index of 0-25). Lower classes, Class B (26-75) and Class C (76-200), indicate that flames spread more quickly and covered a greater distance over the material than Class A flame spread-rated materials.
Now that you understand how materials are measured for flame spread, it’s time to dive into your fire-rated decking options and evaluate each for its ability to help protect your home.
Traditional Wood Options
The first material that likely comes to mind for decking is wood, but it’s probably the last material that comes to mind when thinking about fire-resistant decking. However, there are some wood species and types that give you greater flame resistance than others. But keep in mind even the best wood isn’t your best choice for fire-resistant decking.
Your wood choices for fire-resistant decking include either fire-retardant-treated wood or hardwoods like Ipe that are so dense, fire takes longer to travel across it.
Wood treated with the right chemicals for fire resistance can garner a Class A flame spread rating (the best rating) and be a good option for fire-resistant decking. However, fire-retardant chemicals may leech away in time, which can lower the fire-resistant efficacy of your wood deck.
Dense hardwoods like Ipe, Cumaru, and Batu can achieve a Class A or B fire rating with no chemical treatment at all thanks to natural properties of the wood. However, these woods are expensive, often contribute to deforestation, and are difficult to maintain to keep them looking their best. And over time, they’ll naturally fade and dry out without regular maintenance. Maintenance can involve cleaning, sanding, and treating with a UV protective oil or brightener, some of which can be flammable.
Is composite decking fire-resistant? In comparison to wood, composite decking is often a better choice for fire-prone areas. Composite decking is made of a mixture of wood and plastic fibers, making it less susceptible to flame spread than many types of wood. But not all composite decking is created equal. Some types of composite decking have been specifically engineered to reduce flame spread, while others have not, meaning there’s a wide range of fire ratings among composite products.
PVC decking is made from 100% polymer (PVC) material and typically, no wood fibers, making it a good fire-resistant decking choice for fire-prone areas. But just like composite, not all types of PVC decking are created equal. It requires specific, advanced engineering to create PVC decking that reduces flame spread enough to earn a Class A flame spread rating.
While not a traditional decking material, aerated concrete may be the best when it comes to fire-rated decking. Aerated concrete is made of concrete and aluminum, making it super light, easy to work with, and non-combustible. But the issue with this fire-resistant decking material? It’s the most expensive option on the list. And if you’re looking for fire-rated decking that gives you the beauty of real wood, aerated concrete simply doesn’t make the cut.
What Is the Most Fire-Resistant Decking?
TimberTech offers no-compromise PVC decking with the best flame spread rating available, while still giving you the attractive real wood looks you love.
Ideal Decking for Fire-Prone Areas
For peace of mind and a premium hardwood look, choose the TimberTech PVC decking Vintage Collection. This collection features both a Class A flame spread rating and WUI (Wildfire Urban Interface) compliance for one of the best decking materials in fire protection.
For more options, TimberTech also features several other flame-spread-rated decking collections, both PVC and composite, that feature either a Class A flame spread rating or WUI-compliance.
|Vintage Collection®||· Class A Flame Spread Rating|
|Landmark Collection™||· Class A Flame Spread Rating|
|Harvest Collection®||· WUI-Compliant|
|Porch Collection||· WUI-Compliant|
|Reserve Collection (Fire-Resistant Reserve SKUs Only)||· WUI-Compliant|
More Tips for Keeping Your Outdoor Space Fire Resistant
In addition to choosing fire-rated decking, you can also play an active role in keeping your home safer from wildfires with these tips:
- Keep your entire outdoor living space clear of debris, from the surface of your deck to the perimeter, and even under the deck.
- Make sure to properly maintain any vegetation surrounding your yard, deck, and home to help prevent dried-out plants that can further flame spread.
- Avoid storing flammable items, such as holiday décor, pool toys and maintenance items, extra lumber, etc., below or on the deck.
Experience Fire-Rated Decking Yourself
Give yourself and your family greater peace of mind with fire-rated decking. Order free samples of TimberTech decking to see the real wood looks and feel the quality yourself. Be sure to place samples outside to see how they look in different lighting throughout the day. Once you’ve made your choice, we have multiple resources to help guide the rest of your journey — plus helpful TimberTech experts to answer any of your questions.