Having a yard for the kids to play in

Having a yard for the kids to play in

Timber Decks Can Survive Bushfires: Techniques To Remember During Construction

Wyatt Patterson

Not only does the addition of a new deck to the family home give you the chance to embrace lots more outdoor living time, but it can also increase the value of your home up to $100,000. However, when considering adding a timber deck to your home, you need to make sure you design one that can withstand the possibility of a bushfire attack. While not every property in Australia will be confronted by a bushfire during its lifetime, bushfires do considerable damage across the country every year. By keeping this natural disaster in mind while you're putting together your deck design, you can minimize your chance of the deck being destroyed when embers come calling.

Are You In A Threat Area?

A domestic dwelling in the heart of Sydney has less chance of going up in flames than a log cabin surrounded by bush in Victoria. This is because the Sydney home has less fire fuel around it, meaning that any flames are likely to be extinguished well before they get to your front door.

If you have recently moved to your new home, contact your local council to find out whether you are in a bushfire risk area. If you are, they will already have a set of building rules you need to comply with when building your deck. If your council does not have any restrictions, it is always helpful to know your Bushfire Attack Level. To determine this, use a BAL calculator to determine the risk of your home by answering questions about your region, surrounding vegetation, slope, and structure distance from vegetation. The calculator will tell you what type of zone your home is in and refer you to the Australian Standards that your deck should be built under.

Building A Deck In A Non-Threat Area

Even if the chance of your home ever being in a flame zone is slim, there are still steps you can take to protect your deck from severe damage in the event a bushfire does occur nearby. These steps include:

  • Have a vegetation-free area around your home. Some states, such as New South Wales, allow you to clear trees within 10 meters of the home and underlying vegetation, such as shrubs, within 50 metres of the home without any approval being required. This vegetation becomes fuel during a bushfire, so the further away it is from your deck, the less risk you have of fire embers floating onto the decking.
  • Make sure there is no more than a 5-millimetre gap between the boards of your decking. When a bushfire is taking place, burning embers float on air currents that move quickly due to the force of the fire behind them. When these embers fall between the boards of your timber decking, they can accumulate to a point there is enough heat being generated to set the deck on fire. The smaller the gap, the fewer embers can settle between the boards.
  • Protect the underneath of your deck by installing a steel mesh under your deck boards. This mesh has small holes in it to allow water to drain through from the top of the deck, but the holes are too small to allow embers to rise between the deck boards if they are blown under the deck. 
  • Choose a sealant for your deck that contains a fire retardant. The fire retardant protects the wood beneath if burning embers do settle on it.

The more forethought you give to bushfires while you are designing your new timber decking, the better the chance that even if this natural disaster does occur in your area, it will not necessarily mean damage to your property. Speak to your deck design consultant or visit a site like http://lifestylepatios.com to learn more about other ways to protect your deck from a bushfire and the latest regulations for your area.


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About Me
Having a yard for the kids to play in

I knew that the moment we bought a house with a decent yard I'd be ready to start having kids. I loved playing outside as a kid and since we've been in this house I think the kids spend nearly as much time outside as they do outside. That lawn has seen my babies crawl, my toddlers start walkings, the kids kicking balls around and playing chasey all afternoon. Keeping the lawn soft and green is so important to me as it let's us spend all that time outside. I'm always looking for ways to make it feel and look soft and green.