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Revealed: Log Homes Survive Fires Better Than Stick Frame Homes

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By Joshua

Log homes are beautiful, rustic, and warm places to call home.

However, by nature of the fact they are constructed almost entirely out of wood, you may be wondering, are log homes fire hazards, too? Are they even more of a fire hazard than a traditional stick frame home?

Believe it or not, log homes are said to be even safer than a more-conventional stick frame home when it comes to withstanding natural disasters like tornadoes and hurricanes… and yes, even fires!

Why? Because log home structures are far more massive and dense than typical stick frame homes.

Think about it this way: which is thicker?

  • A 1-3/4″ x 7″ plank of wood stood on its side and spaced far apart to form the exterior framework of a typical house
  • A decades-old piece of solid timber that’s joined directly to another solid piece of timber on either side to form a log home

The solid timber is much thicker, much stronger, and much more durable.

The “thermal” fire endurance of a construction consisting of a number of parallel layers is greater than the sum of the “thermal” fire endurance characteristics of the individual layers when exposed separately to fire. — Log Homes Council

See? So even if the exterior of a log home were to catch fire, it would generally take much longer for a fire to burn through and destroy a log home than it would take to burn and devastate a stick frame home.

Yes, log homes will still burn. Just not at the same rate as a stick frame home, that’s all.

Over the years, there have been many reports of fires that have burned inside and outside of log buildings without destroying the building’s structural integrity, illustrating the fire resistive nature of solid wood walls. It is a combination of the insulating response of the charred wood at the surface with the slow rate at which flame will spread along the wood surface, and the fact that there are no concealed cavities in a log wall through which the fire may travel (ultimate fireblocking!). Combined with the selection of beam and deck second floor and roof options often incorporated into log buildings, log structures are a top choice for endurance and integrity in a fire. — Log Homes Council

Must Read: Fire Performance of Log Walls