When we bought it, our home was just a large box shape covered with particle board siding and wood trim. It was plain and the siding was showing wear and was leaking. We wanted to replace the siding with a better material that would perhaps add a little character to our boxy house. As issues around wildfire had us concerned, we decided to replace it with James Hardie cement siding. Hardie-Board is not considered "fireproof", but it is "non-combustible." That is, the Hardie-Board will not ignite though a very intense flame, like a blow torch, could ignite the combustible material behind the Hardie-Board. It comes pre-painted from the factory and should last a minimum of 30 years.
This is not a necessary step in making a home fire safe and it is an expensive one, but it adds:
- A boost in fire protection for your home,
- Low maintenance,
- A solid warranty,
- Confidence in the product because of great reviews,
- Some charm to a plain-looking house,
- Value to your home, and
- A big incentive to the buyer when the time comes to sell your home.
We invited three contractors to make bids. Our choice charged the least per hour for repairs that might be discovered when the old siding was removed. We knew that we had some water and termite damage so that was the selling point for us. It turned out to be a wise choice. The company was America's Advantage Remodeling.
We do not believe that we have made RockyTop fireproof. But we have given our home a much better chance of surviving a wildfire than it had before. We are not alone. There have been many homes in California that survived wildfires and those homeowners had employed similar strategies to create defensible space and harden their homes. We are following their example just as they followed the scientific research that guided their successful modifications. But our work is not over.
We will have to continue trimming trees, mowing and raking to maintain our defensible space. We will have to continue to make sure we do not place flammable material up against our home. But maintenance will be less work each year than the work it took to get us to this point.
If you have any questions, Lara and I will be happy to respond. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org