Fire-retardant wood, also called fire-treated wood or FRTW, ignites very slowly and prevents fire from spreading quickly in the event a fire does occur. This is because the wood is treated with a layer of chemicals that are retardant to fire. There are certain times when it may be the better option over traditional plywood, which we seek to outline in this review.
Benefits of Fire-Retardant Wood
This type of wood offers many advantages over untreated wood. Most notably, the wood is more resistant to fire, which helps ensure properties meet all National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) guidelines. It can also help homeowners and businesses in a variety of ways, including:
- Lower homeowner’s insurance rates
- Minimal damage if a fire occurs
- Optimal safety for your family
- Less liability for businesses
- Maximize the safety of workers
Of course, the benefits vary depending on the intended use and type of construction. Although it may come at a higher price and require more caution when painting, it can make buildings safer and lower costs long-term.
Fire-retardant wood can be used for interior and exterior use, although the method used to treat the wood may vary depending on the way in which the plywood is used. In general, it is recommended for home or business construction, for properties that are in areas that are more vulnerable to a fire or if the purpose of the property creates a higher risk of a fire.
Often, fire-retardant wood can be used in place of non-combustible materials for type I and II construction. It can also be used as the primary building material for type III and IV construction projects, as defined by the International Building Code (IBC).
Many construction crews use fire-retardant wood for roof construction because the roof is one of the more vulnerable areas when a fire breaks. When a fire occurs, heat rises, and untreated wood can cause a fire inside the home to spread far more rapidly.
When using fire-retardant wood for roof construction, it is important to limit the exposure of the wood to rain and other weather elements. Excessive rainfall may cause retardant chemicals to be less effective. Ideally, it should maintain a moisture level of between 15 and 19 percent.
Building Framing and Support Structures
Framing and support structures are one of the first parts of home construction after the foundation is laid. This means there may be a period of time where the fire-retardant wood is vulnerable to rain exposure, so it is important to prevent moisture levels from getting too high.
With that said, it works well for framing and support purposes. It is just as strong as untreated plywood, but it offers the added benefit of less flammability. This limits the risk of a fire inside the property and restricts any fire that does occur. Fire-retardant wood used for framing and support structures is recommended for higher-value properties and properties that may be more vulnerable to a fire outbreak.
Corridors and Hallways
Many also use fire-retardant wood for corridors and hallways construction. This can prevent a fire from breaking out or spreading inside a home or commercial property and offers a much safer alternative to traditional plywood. It can also potentially lower insurance costs and gives those others inside the building peace of mind knowing they are safe while inside the building.
In fact, it is actually more effective indoors as there is less risk of the wood getting wet during the construction or renovation process. It is great for commercial properties that have a higher risk of fire outbreak or for homeowners who want the safest possible building for their family.
Exterior walls are often constructed of fire-retardant wood. As discussed previously, it can stop any fires from spreading, as it is far more difficult for the wood to ignite when exposed to flames. On the other hand, traditional plywood used for exterior walls may catch fire very easily and spread quickly, resulting in severe damage to the structural damage of a property.
For homes and commercial properties that must be protected from fire damage at all costs, fire-retardant walls are a better solution than traditional plywood. Although the upfront cost may be higher, many are able to save money and enjoy more peace of mind long-term by using fire-retardant wood for exterior wall construction.
Talk to The Fire-Retardant Wood Experts
Contact our team at Curtis Lumber and Plywood for more information about the uses of fire retardant wood. We can answer your questions, address your concerns, and help you make the most informed decision possible about the best type of wood for you to use for all your projects. We also source wholesale pieces for you according to your preference and needs. Call us today to get started.