House fires are a major cause of accidental death and property damage in Australia, and as a result, fire-resistance regulations for new homes are becoming increasingly stringent. The Building Code of Australia now requires that all materials used in many types of wall construction be fire retardant. However, many homeowners are cautious about installing fire-rated wall linings due to a number of myths that have persisted about them over many years. Read on to find out more about the three biggest misconceptions about fire-resistant wall linings and why these linings are essential for ensuring the safety of you and your family.
Myth #1: Fire-resistant linings are hazardous to your health
This is one myth that may have rang true back in the 1960s and 1970s, but nowadays, there is little cause for concern.
Prior to the 1980s, nearly all new home constructions in Australia used asbestos in some form. Asbestos was a popular building material because it was cheap to produce and very resistant to fire. However, it was quickly discovered that exposure to loose asbestos products could cause mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that attacks the internal organs.
Asbestos only poses a health risk when it is disturbed and releases airborne fibres, meaning that even today, most asbestos installations are harmless to your health. However, asbestos was banned for use as a building material in Australia in 2003, so modern-day fire-resistant linings pose no health risks whatsoever.
Myth #2: Fire-rated linings are too thin and don't block out noise
This is another myth that seems to have persisted well after modern wall-lining products were developed. Prior to the early 2000s, homeowners could choose between sound-rated or fire-rated wall linings, but they couldn't choose both. Wall linings that blocked a substantial amount of noise were unlikely to be very fire resistant and vice versa.
However, there are now many lining products on the market that have a high sound-transmission class and also provide excellent fire protection.
Myth #3: I can't install fire-resistant linings in my kitchen or bathroom—it's too moist
It is true that some fire-rated lining products are unsuitable for moist environments such as kitchens and bathrooms. Some types of lining, such as plasterboard, are susceptible to damage if they become waterlogged, and in extreme cases, wet linings may attract mould and need to be replaced completely.
However, most lining manufacturers now produce a special model of wall lining designed for installation in wet areas. These linings have a greater tensile strength than regular products, meaning they are not susceptible to water damage and still meet the fire-resistance requirements of the Building Code.
Fire-resistant wall linings are crucial for preventing the spread of house fires throughout a property, yet many households are still unconvinced. Now that these myths about fire-rated wall linings have been busted, there's no excuse for not having them installed.