Home Hardening Products
This list is not conclusive, but shows some of the many products available that can help reduce a homes vulnerability to wind driven wildfire.
Ember Resistant Vents
An inexpensive solution is to get fine metal mesh from a building supply store and put it in front of or behind your existing vents. The L.A. County Fire Dept. recommends that "All vent openings should be covered with 1⁄8- inch or smaller metal mesh. Do not use fiberglass or plastic mesh because they can melt and burn". Home Depot, Lowe's and Amazon sell a product called Kwikmesh that is 1/8 inch metal. It is sold in in 20-25' foot rolls widths of 4, 6, 8 or 12 inches. As of September 2021, You can get it from Lowes online or in the West Hills Lowes: 8383 Topanga Canyon Blvd West Hills, CA. If you install it, be sure to use heavy gloves, it has very sharp edges!
It's available in a 12” X 20’ roll https://www.lowes.com/pd/Construction-Metals-Inc-Kwikmesh-12-in-x-20-ft-Gable-Vent-Screen/3284684
or a 8” X 25’ roll https://www.lowes.com/pd/CMI-Kwikmesh-8-in-x-25-ft-Gable-Vent-Screen/3284682
or a 6” X 25’ roll https://www.lowes.com/pd/CMI-Kwikmesh-6-in-x-25-ft-Gable-Vent-Screen/3284680
or a 4” X 25’ roll https://www.lowes.com/pd/CMI-Kwikmesh-4-in-x-25-ft-Gable-Vent-Screen/3284802
Brandguard Vents trap the embers inside a metal baffle. If you can afford to retrofit with these, they are the best solution. They are also available at Lowes
Metal exhaust vents also are a good idea. The ones with a damper and a screen can be used to refit plastic bath exhaust fan and range hood vents (which melt when subjected to heat). For dryer vents use the metal ones with dampers only-no screens, as screens can cause combustible lint to build up.
Rain Gutter Filters: A rain gutter debris filter will eliminate the hazard of dry, ignitable leaves filling up your rain gutter. They should be made out of metal. Not plastic or foam.
EasyOn is a great long-lasting filter made of metal. You can buy it through the Costco website (of course, you have to be Costco member). Lowe's also sells one called Atlas . These metal filters are the best long-term solution.
Many Topangans have inexpensive plastic filters on their gutters (like these). We DO NOT recommend them, as they have openings that are too big, (so embers can get in) and they tend to disconnect easily from the gutters over time.
Rain Gutter Cleaning Tool
If you don't want to cover your gutters, here's a handy cleaning tool called GutterWhiz that can be purchased online.
Garage Door Weatherstrip
One vulnerability to ember intrusion is the gaps around garage doors. Garage door weather strips can solve that problem. There are several available on Amazon . Here's a company that has many different garage door sealing options.
Fire Resistant Tarps
A fire retardant tarp is good for covering firewood, or other combustible material in your yard. Fire retardant tarps are often used for events or applications where the risk of fire is present. The tarps are treated with substances that lessen the flammability of items. While they are not necessarily fireproof, they can slow down or possibly stop the spread of fire.
Fire Resistant Siding
James Hardie makes a range of home siding materials that are fire resistant.
Fire Resistant Decking
Versadeck makes a modular aluminum Class A fire rated deck system. Remember, any deck that is attached to a home should be considered part of the home. If it ignites it can bring fire right to the structure. If you have a wood deck, make sure there is nothing combustible below it!
Stainless Steel Door Mats
Keeping the first 5 feet around your home free of combustable material is important. Door mats can catch embers and burn. Stainless steel door mats are a good fire-safe solution, like these sold by Garrett Wade. They can be slippery, so please install the rubber feet that are available!
Timbercrete is another concrete option that also makes Ranch Rail fencing
Panelized Steel Fences. When neighboring buildings are located within 20 feet of each other, use of steel fencing for the perimeter area can serve as a radiant barrier, providing added protection should a neighboring building ignite and burn. Research in Australia demonstrated the ability of panelized steel fencing to resist a radiant heat exposure. Durabond Fencing in Oregon is a supplier. They are just starting to get recognition of the fire mitigation properties of their products.
Velux makes tempered glass skylights in many sizes. Tempered glass can withstand more radient heat than plastic.