Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

10 Clever Ways to Use Concrete to Create a Fire-Resistant Home


10
Frame it
A concrete framed house limits damage not only from outside fires, but also from blazes that start within the home.
A concrete framed house limits damage not only from outside fires, but also from blazes that start within the home.
Jupiterimages/Comstock/Thinkstock

Roughly one-sixth of new homes are built using a concrete block frame, in part because the material provides a stout defense against harsh weather and natural disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes. When it comes to fires, a concrete framed house provides shelter not only from what's outside, but can also help limit the damage caused by a blaze that starts within the home. Concrete's fire-resistant nature serves as a blockade of sorts preventing a fire from spreading. This may result in a lower fire insurance policy for a concrete constructed home as compared to a house built with a wood or other framing [source: Gromicko and Fowler].

Many builders are turning to insulated concrete forms, which maintain the strong and durable qualities of traditional concrete while providing layers of foam insulation -- by pouring concrete over an insulated foam form -- to provide energy efficiency and an additional barrier against outside noise. The plastic foams used in ICFs are treated with flame retardants to maintain fire resistance [sources: Department of Energy, Concrete Network].