Contrary to popular belief, wood, especially industrial or treated wood for construction or architectural purposes, is not as susceptible to burning as is thought. Wood has a low level of thermal conductivity, that is, it does not transmit heat quickly, so that initially only the surface burns when it encounters a flame. We will have to wait a little while until the fire reaches the whole, which will depend on the intensity of the fire and the wood in question, among other variables.
This is not to say that a house with a wooden structure in the fire does not deteriorate, but like any other construction, although not as quickly as people usually think. Furthermore, with the development of the chemical industry, today it’s very easy to find fire retardant woods, those treated to better resist the devastating effect that a fire can have.
Flame Retardant Plates
When it comes to flame retardant wood, it is very common to refer to panels, manufactured from products derived from wood and resins (agglomerates, MDF …), to which a specific treatment was applied during the manufacturing process, flame retardant salts, to delay the progress of fire. What is achieved is to reduce the flammability, that is, the flames from the wood, thus decreasing the probability of the fire spreading quickly.
These fireproof plates have the same shape as the traditional ones, even with melanins, and are very aesthetically similar. Depending on the manufacturer, we may find that the particles or fibers have been dyed to differentiate them, usually red, although this is by no means an essential feature of fireproof panels.
Within the Technical Construction Code, the fire safety parameters that the building elements must support, including wood, are established. Therefore, it is more than advisable to buy fire retardant wood only from manufacturers who have complied with these tests and comply with regulations.
Maintenance is similar to that of any other chipboard, MDF or plywood, avoid moisture so that they do not deform, stack them correctly and avoid shocks.
Intumescent paints and varnishes
Another way to obtain additional fire resistance from wood is the use of intumescent paints and varnishes. They consist of applying a layer of product on the wood which, in contact with the heat, expands, forming a film that delays the advance of heat and fire.