Redwood Decking Outperforms
Other Materials in Flame Resistance
In a series
of fire performance tests conducted on 12 commercial
decking materials, California redwood ranked number one in
flame resistance. The tests, recently completed by the University
of California Forest Products Laboratory (UCFPL), were specifically
designed to evaluate the performance of various decking materials
when exposed to wildland fire hazard conditions such as those that exist throughout
much of California and the western states.
For many years, redwood has been recognized for its fire resistance;
in fact, redwood-clad structures were credited with limiting
the extent of the great fires following the 1906 San Francisco
earthquake. Redwood has historically been used in firewalls and
fire doors, and currently is the only decking material allowed
for rooftop decks in San Francisco. These recent tests confirm
The eleven decking materials tested in addition to redwood included
many new wood/plastic composites and pure plastics. Many of these
degraded during the short exposure tests while the remainder
degraded prior to completion of the long exposure tests. Modes
of degradation included: accelerating or runaway flaming combustion,
flaming drops or particles falling from the deck and collapse
of a deck board with or without load.
Construction Heart 2x6, the most widely used redwood decking
material in California, was the only product that exhibited none
of these four degradation effects during the long exposure tests
according to Professor Frank Beall, Director, UCFPL.
The results of this study could have significant
implications for the development of new fire codes for urban
wildland interface fire zones.