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Timber’s lasting viability

An ever-present material in the construction industry, timber has withstood the test of time, used on projects across the world for hundreds of years. One example of a fire rated timber application is within window and door systems. However, there can sometimes still be a mistrust of the material as a viable part of a fire safety system.

Here we discuss this construction myth and explain how timber can form part of an effective fire safety system.

With new building materials launching regularly, it’s nice to know that some have kept their place on the construction site. Timber use in construction can be traced all the way back to 100 B.C., with the material having been used ever since that time. Its reign amongst construction’s top materials can be attributed to its myriad of qualities, including durability, sustainability, cost-effectiveness and ageless aesthetic.

Despite this, there remains the potential for building professionals to hold a diminished view of timber over its perceived poor fire performance. However, this perception is entirely misguided. While timber does burn, it can still be relied upon to provide excellent performance in the case of a fire and, when used as part of a certified and tested glazed system, can still achieve the highest levels of fire protection.

About Timber Glazed Systems

All types of timber have their own specific charring rate, which can be used to indicate the level of fire resistance in the event of a fire. As such, by working with fire safety glass experts to ensure glazing frames are designed correctly, you can ensure that they offer the level of protection required for the build. While hardwoods offer lower charring rates than others, most types of timber are suitable for use in frames, as long as the system has been designed with the correct density for example. In fact, timber is able to achieve an EI60 fire rating, which guarantees a minimum of 60 minutes Integrity and Insulation against an ongoing blaze. However, this robust fire performance is not the only benefit of choosing timber.

As well as ensuring long-term, robust fire performance, timber fire-rated systems are also more effective at retaining their shape and structure when exposed to high levels of heat. Unlike some other materials, such as steel, timber does not warp, twist or distort in a blaze. This sturdiness helps to ensure that the fire safety glass solution remains secure within its frame.

Additionally, thanks to their more flexible nature, timber frames are easier to adapt on-site. As a result, project teams using the material can deal better with any structural opening variations that might have occurred in the construction process.

Not only this, timber is a building material with exceptional aesthetic value and its use within glazing systems can help to create beautiful designs that are unimaginable with other materials. It also represents a truly sustainable building material choice, which is key in a time when everyone is trying to make ‘greener’ choices for their projects.

Pyroguard and Timber Glazed Systems

Of course, it isn’t just the frame to consider but the whole system, including the glass, seals and fixtures. A fire safety glazing system can only be guaranteed to perform as intended if a system approach is taken early on in the specification process. By working with a fire safety glass expert, such as Pyroguard, and taking advantage of its industry expertise and technical support, you can be confident that when a timber glazed system is installed it will deliver the required level of fire protection in the unfortunate event of a blaze.

Recognising the role that timber frames can play in creating fire safety glazing systems, Pyroguard has been investing in new fire tests to expand its portfolio of timber test evidence and provide even further solutions to its customers. For example, Pyroguard recently carried out its largest EW30 timber landscape pane test to date, further pushing the boundaries and capabilities of its Pyroguard Protect fire safety glass.

For more information, please contact us.

Further reading

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