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Home improvements

How to prepare your house for bushfire - home improvements

Anywhere embers can lodge or enter your house can start a fire. To reduce the impact of embers on your home there are some important building improvements that are recommended.

ROOF

Gaps in the roof pose a high risk for ember penetration.

Sarking (reflective non-combustible sheeting)

Sarking is an effective treatment to prevent embers from entering through your roof. Unless installed at construction stage this can become very expensive.

Seal gaps by using compressed mineral wool insulation

This can be a cheap and effective solution for existing homes. Careful installation is required to ensure all gaps are sealed.Sealing gaps is an effective defence against burning embers.

WINDOWS

Open and unscreened doors pose an extreme risk.

Screened windows and sills

Installing wire mesh screens (not aluminium) with 1.5-millimetre holes over both the window and frame can prevent embers touching the glass or timber. This can also be an effective method for reflecting radiant heat.

Shutters

Installing shutters over both the window and frame will protect windows from cracking from flying embers.

Seal gaps around window frames

This is an effective treatment for existing metal window frames. The sealant should be a fire-retardant product.

Maintenance of window sills

Embers lodging on combustible window sills pose a high risk. Maintain window sills so there is no flaking paint.

DOORS

Open and unscreened doors pose an extreme risk. Embers lodging on combustible door sills and gaps around door frames pose a high risk.

Screened doors

Installing metal screen doors over timber doors will reduce the chance of an ember igniting the door.

Seal gaps around door frames

If the door is non-combustible then sealing the gaps around the door will prevent embers from entering into your home.

Non-combustible door sill

Replacing combustible door sills with a non-combustible product will reduce the chance of an ember igniting.

DECKS

Embers lodging on decks pose a very high risk of ignition.

Non-combustible decking materials

Non-combustible decking material will not burn. Use concrete stumps, metal framing and fire-retardant-treated timber.

Separation from the dwelling to prevent fire spread

If the deck is built with combustible material, non-combustible material should be placed between the deck and the house. This will reduce the possibility of the fire spreading between the deck and the house.

Construct with gaps between decking materials

Leaving gaps between the decking timbers will allow most embers to fall through. However, there is still a possibility of embers igniting at timber junction points. Ensure there is no fuel under the decking and that you have access to put out any spot fires underneath.

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