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Three Ways to Know if Your Columns are Fire Safe

Posted by Worthington Millwork on 9/17/19 5:00 AM

a7a0b37f-081e-4077-8675-f72f1a7ad6b3-upload-Screenshot_20190519-211814_GoogleNowadays, architects and engineers are increasingly planning, designing, and constructing houses that can keep occupants safe in case of a fire outbreak. One of the ways of achieving this is by using fire-resistant columns. Typically, such columns are made from non-combustible materials, which can hamper the spread of fire to other parts of the building. 

Using fire-resistant columns when constructing your house helps maintain its structural integrity in the event of a fire outbreak. Here are three ways of determining whether your columns are fire safe. 

1. Check the Materials that They are Made From

The easiest way of fireproofing construction columns and the entire house is using fire-resistant materials. Such materials will slow down the spread of fire during a disaster, thus giving you time to salvage your property and fight the fire. 

You will know that your columns are fire safe if they are made from non-combustible materials such as metal, stone, concrete, clay, and asbestos. The buck doesn't stop with the type of material used to build the columns. The decorations and paintwork used on them also determine how fire-safe they are. Water-based paints or wood finish will undoubtedly aggravate the spread of fire in case of an outbreak. 

2. Strength of the Columns

The strength of a column determines how fire-safe it is. The stronger a column is, the more resistant it is to fire incidents. For instance, prefabricated steel decorative columns are stronger and more fire safe than solid wood columns. Similarly, they are more likely to endure in case of a fire incident. 

3. Purpose of the Columns

Generally, columns serve structural and aesthetic purposes or both. Structural columns are typically installed during the construction of a building. Their role is to support the weight of the roof structure and upstairs rooms. Often, these columns are made from sturdy and durable materials so prevent them from crumbling. 

On the other hand, decorative columns are typically installed during home makeovers. Therefore, they are not always as strong as structural columns. Little adjustment is made to buildings when installing them. Likewise, they are often made from less bulky materials. Understanding the role that individual columns in your house play can help you determine whether they are fire safe or not. 

Fireproofing Columns

Most building codes require you to fireproof your house and all its components, including columns as a safety precaution. The easiest way of ensuring this is by spraying low-density cementitious compounds on the columns. These are also known as spray-applied fire-resistive materials. Once applied, this product can provide heat and fire resistance to steel, wood, and concrete columns. 

Intumescent coatings can also help you make your columns fire safe. The most significant benefit that intumescent coatings offer is that they expand over the material used on your column, thus protecting it from fire. These coatings are an excellent solution when aesthetics come into play. 

According to the National Institute of Building Sciences, America experiences the highest degree of fire losses in terms of frequency and fatalities. The easiest way of protecting your home's structural integrity in case of a fire is by having strong, fire-safe columns. 

With such columns in place, you will have made a step towards achieving the much-desired Class A Fire Rating. It is advisable to involve experts who understand code requirements and local bylaws in all aspects of designing and building columns at your home. This way, you will end up with high-grade columns that guarantee a reasonable degree of fire protection. 

Are you interested in installing fire-safe columns in your home? Look no further than Worthington MillWork. We are experts at creating custom columns that exceed industry standards.

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