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Fire Treated Lumber

Fire Rated Drywall

Fire treated lumber is used in structural building as a means of limiting fire potential. To put it simply, fire treated lumber is used to inhibit a fire from progressing, at least long enough for any individuals to escape. Therefore, knowledge of the different types of fire treated lumber is essential for any builder or contractor. There are different types of fire treatment for lumber and each one has advantages and disadvantages. 

Surface Applied Coating

The simplest, and typically cheapest type of fire treatment, is the surface applied coating for lumber. This can come in the pre applied variety or the contractor applied. The process by which it potentially limits the progression of fire is by charring.

Charring prevents a even transfer of heat from the source to the material. However, with both variants of surface application coatings, is that after charring has occurred the char will burn off and expose the wood underneath. This type of fire treated lumber is known as intumescent.

Pressure Applied Fire Retardant

A burnt building under constructionAnother type of fire treated lumber is the pressure applied fire retardant. The pressure treated wood is infused by high pressure and heat to allow the retardant to penetrate the surface of the wood. This allows for a more even protection at the surface.

The process is similar to the applied coating in that the treatment is designed to char and not oxidize and thereby limit heat transfer. However, due to the infusion of the treatment to the underlying layers of the wood this process further limits the ability of a heat source to continually transfer heat. This means as soon as the heat source is removed the heat ceases to transfer at all, making the chance that the wood will catch fire, that much less likely.

Advantages to using fire treated lumber are:

  • Relatively Inexpensive
  • Better Insurance Rates
  • Family Protection
  • Increased Home Value

Using fire treated lumber is an excellent way to help protect a home, structure and family from the hazard of fire. Any extra expense in using fire treated lumber is more than balanced out by allowing a family to escape and to potentially limit any damage to the structure. 

Fire treated lumber saves lives and limits property damage. Honestly, there is very little reason to not use this type of treated lumber. For protection and value, fire treated lumber cannot be beat.


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Photo credit: Kake Pugh / Foter / Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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Wallboard Supply Company is a third generation, family run business that has been serving New England's building needs since 1970. Bob Filion started the company with a commitment to provide quality drywall and finishing products with unmatched customer service. The company has grown over the years, expanding its' product range, but never wavering from its' core values.