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Published on Sep 1, 2009
The fire tests, conducted at the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, were done in accordance with ASTM E 119, the Standard Test Method for Fire Tests of Building Construction and Materials. Each of the tested materials was used to construct a typical exterior house wall section, which was then subjected to fire for one hour or until one of the failure criteria was met. Failure takes place when the wall collapses, flame or hot gas penetrates the wall, or when the temperature rises to 250°F or greater on the unexposed (interior) side of the wall. The hollow brick were the only materials to pass the test, achieving a one-hour fire-resistance rating for the wall. The vinyl siding burned away, failing the test after only 18 minutes and exposing the underlying house structure to the flames. Surprisingly, the fiber cement siding, which homeowners and builders often assume to be adequately fire-resistant because of its concrete-like composition, also failed the test and could not withstand the flames for a full hour.