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- Which type of flooring is the most fireproof?
Which type of flooring is the most fireproof?
One incredibly important aspect to consider when purchasing new flooring is the safety of your family and your home. Although floor coverings are rarely the initial source or cause of fires in the home, the type of flooring you opt for can influence the spread and development of such fires. As such, fire resistant carpets and floors are significant to your overall safety in the event of a fire, not least in stairways and hallways which act as crucial means of escape.
The good news: nowadays floor coverings are manufactured and tested with strict safety regulations and performance standards which require that they self-extinguish when set alight. So modern flooring is always designed in such a way as to resist ignition and continuous burning in the event of a fire – indeed, highly flame retardant flooring is the norm in public buildings such as hospitals and schools. But still, some types of flooring are more naturally fireproof than others, and it may be worth considering the following characteristics when buying a new floor:
· How easily the material ignites and burns.
· How far the fire spreads, and how long for, before going out on its own.
· The amount of smoke generated by the burning material.
The most fire resistant flooring, therefore, would inhibit the spread of flames and smoke throughout your home, ensuring the wider safety both of buildings and the people in them. If fire resistance is high-up on your list of priorities, here’s a handy guide to the types of flooring which might be the best for you and your safety.
On top of having a soft and luxurious feel underneath your feet, wool is often considered the most flame retardant material for carpets. In contrast to synthetic fibres such as nylon and acrylic which are more flammable, wool is a natural fibre which has the advantage of being both sustainable and fire resistant.
With its chemical structure being high in nitrogen and water content, wool extinguishes quicker than most materials, has a lower flame spread and produces less smoke when burned. For a safer carpet in your living spaces, bedrooms and hallways, look no further than wool!
While a rogue choice for some, cork is actually one of the more naturally fireproof materials for your home flooring. In fact, it’s known for having a multitude of magical properties: from resistance to mould and dust to durability and biodegradability.
In addition, when cork is burned it does not release any toxic chemicals like many other materials do. It truly is an extraordinary material, and a definite cure-all in many home interiors. Fancy something new and quirky while staying on the safer side? Give cork a go!
Although you may associate wood with campfires, don’t let that stop you considering real wood flooring when designing a safer home. With the exact details depending on the type of wood, don’t forget that wood is a dense material which naturally contains water, making it harder for fire to survive and spread. An oak parquet or spruce board floor would certainly be suitable in your home, even when fire-safety is a concern.
According to a government report, 54% of reported fires between 2013/14 were associated with cooking activities. Given this fact, flame retardant flooring is especially vital in the kitchen. In fire safety experiments, vinyl flooring has proven itself to be a particularly good material for preventing the spread of fires and reducing hazards.
Not only does it typically resist ignition, it also quickly stops burning when the initial fire source is removed. So if you’re looking to fireproof your kitchen floor without introducing anything too out-of-the-ordinary, vinyl might just be the material for you.
When choosing a new rug bear in mind this general rule of thumb: the shorter the pile, the more fire resistant. That is, the more dense the material, the harder it is for fires to live on their surface. However, the flammability of rugs is dependent on their placement in your home as much as it is their pile. For instance, placing a shaggy nylon rug right next to your fireplace is a bigger safety risk than placing it further away in the centre of the room.
Furthermore, it is not recommended to have rugs or carpets in the kitchen, largely due to the fact that more fires begin here than in any other room, making less flammable materials and furnishings more appropriate for safety reasons.
Of course, regardless of which flooring you end up going for, the best way to reduce the risk of fires is to take the necessary precautions in and around your home. Ultimately, if your flooring of choice meets legal safety requirements (and you have a little bit of common sense) you can’t go too wrong.
Just be sure to check with the supplier if you’re in any doubt about the fire resistance of a certain material or product. At UTOP Flooring, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have about our products, including any specific safety concerns. Simply get in touch with a member of our team to learn more.