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Fire-resistant lumber draws attention in Colo. Springs

Fire-resistant lumber draws attention in Colo. Springs

As homeowners continue to rebuild after the Waldo Canyon Fire, there are new options to be explored.  New technology is providing builders the option to use lumber treated with a fire resistant coating called Eco Shield Red. 

Saddletree Homes is one of the builders offering this lumber option, and it said the treatment protects against termites, wood rot, fire and mold.  The treatment gives the lumber a reddish-hue that sets the frame of the house apart from others.

"It's not just about protecting the homeowners in the community, it's also about protecting our first responders and trying to keep them safe and what they faced during the Waldo Canyon Fire," said Joshua Peterson, vice president of Saddletree Homes.

He said the treated lumber costs $1.50 per square foot.  There is also an additional cost associated with having the lumber shipped to the plant to be treated.

Peterson admits skepticism when first presented with the treatment option, but said he was impressed by the product after viewing a demonstration of its efficiency.

"It's one thing to look at literature and for someone to come and talk to you, but when you see what it can do, it sells itself," said Peterson.

The demonstration can be viewed by clicking here.

Colorado Springs Fire Department said determining whether the treatment is effective depends on how the home is ignited.

"If it ignites from embers getting into the combustible space of the home, then that certainly does provide some benefit to the home owner," said Kris Cooper, Deputy Fire Marshal.

Cooper said the treatment is ineffective if the home is ignited by radiant heat affecting the exterior of the home. 

According to Cooper, the Eco Red Shield maintains an A-rating on the ASTM E84 -12c, a standard test method for surface burning characteristics of building materials.  He said non-treated lumber has a C-rating.

"There's still no guarantee.  Does it help give the house a fighting chance?  Absolutely, and that's what we're looking for: a situation where that house can defend itself or resist ignition," said Cooper.

For more information on Eco Red Shield, click here.

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