Can You Fireproof Carpet?

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Fireproof carpets help stop fires from spreading.
Fireproof carpets help stop fires from spreading. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Safety is always the No. 1 priority for any family. This is especially true when it comes to fires. There are various fire retardant measures that reduce the chance of fire spreading out of control in a home. Fireproofing the home's carpets is one preventative measure worth considering. While carpet can be treated with fire retardant chemicals upon installation or by the homeowner, there is no completely fireproof carpet. Carpets and rugs that are considered “fireproofed” may have the ability to extinguish a small fire. However, in case of a strong fire, fireproofed carpets will only slow down the progress of fire.

Fireproofing Treatment

Fireproofed carpets are treated upon or after installation. The chemical used to fireproof carpets is the same chemical used to fireproof and treat mattresses. Two of the most reasonably priced chemicals include boric acid and boric anhydride. However, there are some concerns regarding the toxicity of these chemicals to humans. Homeowners considering fireproofing a newer carpet with a warranty should first check with the manufacturer before treatment to avoid having their warranty voided.

Wool

One simple and natural way to prevent and slow down fires from spreading in pre-existing, non-fireproofed carpet is to add a wool rug. These can be found in various colors, styles and prices. Wool is naturally fire resistant. Wool is also self-extinguishing in flames, and will burn slowly in case a fire does progress. Also, wool is water and stain resistant.

Residential Carpet Fibers

Homeowners shopping for new carpet should be aware of the different fibers available. Wool fibers are the most naturally fire resistant. Nylon is the second best choice. It has a higher melting point, burns and melts slowly, which makes it more fire resistant than other carpet made from synthetic materials. Nylon is also abrasion and crush resistant. Other carpet fibers include polyester and olefin; of the two, olefin is the least fire resistant and is extremely heat sensitive.

Home Fireproofing Tip

In additional to fireproofing a home’s carpets, there are other measures to take to prevent fire. Basic fire preventative steps to take include investing in a fire extinguisher, installing and checking all the smoke alarms, purchasing fireproofed furniture, properly maintaining the home's furnace and regularly cleaning the lint trap in the dryer. Never leave candles unattended; never overload electrical wires and perform regular maintenance checks on all household appliances.

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