03 - stucco on fire

How Does Stucco Hold Up Against Fire?

Stucco is a popular home exterior material in the United States. Stucco can protect your home from various concerns, including water, pests, sharp blows, hot and cold temperatures, and even fire when properly installed.

But how well can stucco protect your home and its residents from the devastating nature of fire? How does stucco compare to other common building materials? What is the fire rating of a properly built stucco system?

This will answer all of your questions, giving you a true grasp of the protective features provided by stucco.

Fire Resistance of Stucco

Because of the chemicals that make up stucco, it is a highly fire-resistant building material. These components include Portland cement, sand, limestone, water, and other additives. Because none of these ingredients are flammable or combustible, stucco is not.

The application of stucco on walls also benefits fire prevention. It is usually placed in three layers. These layers provide thickness and hence protection to the wall’s surface.

In addition to its inherent fire-resistant features, stucco may cover other fire-resistant building elements. While stucco is often used on stick-built (wood frame) buildings, it may also cover over stone or brick. This is most often done when a stucco appearance is desired.

Comparison to Other Siding Materials

How does stucco compare to other common siding material choices regarding fire prevention?

Stucco is much more fire-resistant than vinyl, wood, or imitation wood. Vinyl melts quickly and easily when exposed to the high temperatures associated with fire. When exposed to direct sunlight on a hot day, vinyl may begin to melt.

Meanwhile, wood and synthetic wood are very combustible and provide minimal fire resistance. While vinyl will not protect your home from fire, it will not help the fire spread. This is different from wood siding.

Stucco, stone, and brick veneer are The most common with fiber cement siding. All of these siding options provide sufficient fire protection. Cracking is the primary vulnerability of these materials. If the surface is damaged, the fire will have an easier time reaching the wood within the wall.

The most fire-resistant building materials include stone, brick, and metal. Stone and brick differ from veneer because they are full-thickness and provide significantly more protection.

Stucco Fire Rating

The typical thickness of a stucco coating is one inch. This thickness will be achieved by applying at least three coats of stucco on the wall. These are the scratch, brown, and finish coats. While these three layers are the industry norm, additional layers are available to protect against specific identified environmental threats in the region.

Stucco has a one-hour fire rating at one-inch thickness. This means that if the wall were exposed to flames, it would take 1 hour for the fire to breach the wall and cause damage to the rest of your home.

Compared to the average length for modern and traditional dwellings, 1 hour is an amazingly long period to survive a fire. On average, a modern home’s walls may be between in 3 to 5 minutes. Homes built 30 years ago may last 15 to 17 minutes on average.

The one-hour fire rating of stucco is important for two reasons. To begin with, it gives you and your family more time to escape the building in the case of a fire. Second, it indicates that your home will be safe until the fire department comes to put out the fire.

Protect Your Home From Fire

Stucco is a fantastic alternative for a fire-resistant exterior on your house. Stucco can withstand high temperatures and flame exposure since it is composed of non-combustible materials.

While vinyl siding is the most popular and least expensive option, it offers much less protection than stucco. Stone and brick, on the other hand, give the most protection while also being the most expensive options. Like stone and brick veneers, Stucco rests in the middle of the structure, providing security at a reasonable cost.

Stucco has a 1-hour fire rating, implying that a fire typically takes 1 hour to break through the wall. This is a far higher fire rating than most new homes.

Even with all of the stucco’s fire protection, it’s important to remember that most home fires start on the inside. These flames will not be extinguished by stucco. It can, however, protect it against fires that originate outside your home.

CMB Stucco & EIFS Repair Edison

CMB Stucco & EIFS Repair Edison is your local stucco exterior installer. We have been in the stucco industry since 1985 and have earned a reputation for honest and dependable work. Contact us now for a free quotation on your next stucco job.