Tag Archives: ICC-ES

Wood Decks Are Not Your Friend In Fire Country, Ever.

“The deck that we had off the house,” she said. “It was a two-tiered deck, and it was redwood, and that’s what brought down our house.” Corey and Danusia Larsen of Malibu CA of the Woolsey Fire that burned over 600 homes.

I’m still trying to find it but I remember seeing a quote from a firefighter in California describing wood decks as organized kindling. That quote sticks in my head and won’t budge. I’ve reviewed hundreds of pictures of homes that are burned and often you can see the outline of a wood deck or the remnants of…

To me the ideal fire resistant home would be stucco or concrete or Hardie board with a metal of concrete roof any decking on it would be a division 7 traffic coating that is fire rated for use in California fire zones.

This article describes the new house that was built by the Larsen’s after the Woolsey Fire. https://spectrumnews1.com/ca/la-west/wildfires/2021/05/21/malibu-couple-fireproofs-home-after-losing-everything-in-woolsey-fire

It is my opinion that Cal Fire and other fire authorities will not specifically say or seek to ban wood framed and wood decks as the deck industry would be up in arms. However I will say that wood decks and wood framing exposed does not belong anywhere on a building particularly in a high fire hazard zone. Decking manufacturers will say that their products have passed tests under ASTM standards that is required by ICC-ES to get a report… My counter argument is let’s take an aged outdoors 5 years wood frame deck with wood boards or composite boards and put it into a real life type situation IE ember storm, fire wood stacked underneath the deck, plant growth around it etc and let’s see if that deck really is fire resistant. I will say outright that it is not.

Wood decks and composite decks are not your friends in fire country. If you are in fire country the only thing that will help you in my opinion are concrete decking systems and systems that rely on concrete backer board for their fire rating.

This article won’t make any friends in the deck industry that sell composite and wood decks but I’m just truth telling here.

More Than a Few Div 7 Deck Coating Manufacturer’s moving over to iampo’s uniform evaluation service from icc-es

We’ve noticed of late that more than a few pedestrian traffic coating Manufacturer’s have moved their listings out of ICC-ES over to IAMPO’s Uniform Evaluation Service at https://www.iapmoes.org/.

ICC-ES has been the major evaluation service in the Building Industry for many years and is recognized worldwide. However, their long hold on the industry as the evaluation service that manufacturer’s go to is being challenged by IAMPO. We spoke with several manufacturer’s who told us that they were saving substantial sums of money on yearly fees for their products listings by switching to IAMPO.

IAMPO meets ANSI standards as an evaluation service, meeting established criteria that gives consumers, building officials and contractors confidence that the products being used are evaluated and approved for the use (s) listed in the report.

Currently under Division 7 listings for pedestrian traffic coatings we see Hill Brothers Chemical Company with their Desert Crete system, Kemper America with their urethane pedestrian traffic coating, Mer-Ko by Westcoat with the Shurdeck system and Multicoat Corporation.

One other manufacturer told us they were seriously considering moving over to IAMPO’s Evaluation service as well, citing yearly fees of $40,000 to maintain their ICC-ES listings. Well, the market loves competition so we will see how ICC-ES responds; losing fees from defecting companies hurts their bottom line.

Manufacturer’s, any comments on what your plans are? Are you considering switching to IAMPO? Let us know.