Can I burn my own house down
“Aren't you afraid of fire?” As a timber house owner, I often hear this question. Of course, I'm afraid of fire - there is probably no homeowner who, at least when taking out building insurance, has not thought with a queasy feeling about how horrible it must be if their own house burns down. But what is usually meant by the question: Wood burns well, we not only know this from stoves and campfires. Does that mean that a wooden house burns down faster, worse and more unstoppable than a brick or concrete house?
My first, intuitive thought has always been: If it were like that, then you certainly wouldn't be able to build wooden houses in Germany. We are not even allowed to use our central vacuum cleaner without a window toggle switch regulating the fresh air supply. The legislature regulates many safety issues in construction.
My second reaction: research, inquire, read. Wood only burns well if it is thin. A thick beam is difficult to set on fire and then charring, which forms a protective layer, as the Deutsche Holzfertbau-Verband e. V. explains. But far more striking than any description is an experiment carried out by the Latvian timber construction company Pavasars, among others. They simply burned down two model houses - one made of concrete, one made of wood - and saw what happened. Take a look at the video, here it is provided with English subtitles!
The experiment was carried out in July 2017 in Rauna, Latvia. You can read the technical details of the test setup on the Holzbau Austria website.
Of course, one thing is clear: if a timber construction company carries out this test, they will probably not expect the timber house to perform poorly. With specialist knowledge, one could check in detail whether equivalent situations were actually created in the concrete and in the wooden house. Perhaps a concrete house manufacturer would do the test setup differently?
In addition, numerous details must of course still be observed in a wooden house in order to guarantee the highest possible fire protection. But even if the experiment may not be one hundred percent neutral and objective and a fire is still a life-threatening event that hopefully never occurs, the video still shows: Nobody needs to do without a wooden house because of a supposedly high fire risk. And by the way, there is little else that speaks against a wooden house - but I already talked about prejudices and the truth in the article “You can't do that! - Part 5: Building a wooden house “written in detail.
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