Reduce Bushfire Risk To Older Homes + Preparing Your Yard For Bushfires
In 2017 a page on Bushfire Season Preparation: Home and Outdoor Areas, offered some tips on making your home a little safer during bushfire season. The NSW Rural Fire Service recommends the following checklist to prepare your home and property.
- Clean your gutters of leaves and twigs
- Install metal gutter guards
- Repair damaged or missing tiles on the roof
- Install fine metal mesh screens on windows and doors
- Fit seals around doors and windows to eliminate gaps
- Seal all gaps in walls including the underfloor area, under eaves, and around windows and doors
- Enclose the areas under the house - also ensure you have no gaps under decking if this adjoins the house
- Repair or cover gaps in external walls
- Ensure that roof vents or skylights are sealed
- Attach a fire sprinkler system to gutters
- Keep lawns short and gardens well maintained; remove lawns from 1m of the house or ensure your lawns are watered and mown on high fire danger days
- Cut back trees and shrubs overhanging buildings; cut back or remove shrubs near to or touching wooden or glass features of the house
- Clean up fallen leaves, twigs and debris around the property
- Have hoses long enough to reach around your house; store a hose within your home in case it is needed after a fire front has passed
- If you have a pool, tank or dam, put a Static Water Supply (SWS) sign on your property entrance, so firefighters know where they can get water
- Check and maintain adequate levels of home and contents insurance. Ensure it is up to date.
- Remove flammable materials from around your home (e.g. wood piles, mulch, leaves, paint, BBQ gas bottles); remove doormats from entrance to home on high fire danger days
Older homes make up the majority of buildings in bushfire prone-areas. There are some simple things that can improve the performance of an older house in a bushfire. Here are 12 suggestions: six simple projects that could be done over a weekend or two, and six low-cost things you could do in a single afternoon.
Six weekend projects:
1. Remove some garden beds next to the house
This is particularly true for garden beds near timber-framed windows and doors. For timber and fibro homes, garden beds adjacent to the house should be avoided entirely. At the very least prune dense bushes close to timber-framed windows back hard.
2. Sand and repaint weathered timber door and window frames
Over time, paint peels and cracks appear in the exposed and weathered timber. During a bushfire, embers can lodge in these cracks and ignite.
3. Enclose the subfloor with a metal mesh
Flammable items are often stored underneath the house. If this area is not enclosed these items will catch, often due to ember attack, and pose a threat to every room in the house. The exposed underside of timber floors can be protected with a lightweight, non-combustible layer.
4. Repair or replace weathered timber decking
Just as embers can land in cracks in door and window frames, the same can also happen to weathered timber decking. Most decks are right next to the house and if they go up fire easily spreads to the home.
5. Have a 1-2 metre non-flammable area immediately around your house
Think of it as an additional protective defence area. You could use gravel, paving tiles, bricks, concrete, or ground rock such as scoria.
6. Get a professional roof inspection
Roofs gradually weaken and require maintenance. A professional roof repairer can check that tiles are in place, repair damaged ridge tiles, and ensure that skylights, air vents, evaporative coolers, and solar panels are in good order and are free from gaps where embers could enter.
The product specifications for timber door and window frames, metal mesh, and decking materials can be found in the relevant Australian Standard and steel construction standard. Actual requirements for houses vary according to the bushfire attack level associated with a specific block of land.
Six easy afternoon projects
1. Replace natural coil doormats with synthetic
While they appear harmless, natural organic doormats can cause a fire to grow if they ignite. Due to their density they burn for a long time, and can spread flames to timber door frames. A synthetic mat will only flare up for a short time.
2. Remove organic mulch from garden beds next to the house
Burning embers can easily ignite dried-out organic mulch, setting fire to surrounding plants. If garden beds are near the house, particularly timber door and window frames, the danger is increased. Either remove mulch in garden beds next to the house or – if the mulch is suitable – dig it in deeply.
3. Store firewood in an enclosed metal container
It is best to store wood well away from the house, but no one wants to walk metres in cold winters to get that wood. So some firewood is often stored close to the house on a burnable deck, and often it’s left there over summer. Putting it into a large metal container can remove that fire risk.
4. Remove flammable material from the front porch, roof cavity, decking and underfloor area
When embers enter the roof cavity and underneath the house, flames can rapidly spread to every room. It is vital to keep these areas clear of flammable materials.
5. Replace timber benches on timber decks with synthetic ones
A timber bench on a timber deck next to a timber house is an unnecessary risk, similar to having a wood pile on a timber deck.
6. Turn pressure relief valves on outside gas bottles away from the house
Both the 2003 Canberra and the 2016 Wye River bushfires showed the danger of having gas bottle valves facing the house. In both fires, houses were destroyed when either the gas plume flamed or gas bottles exploded.
While these projects will improve the bushfire protection of your home, they can’t guarantee your home will survive a bushfire, especially during catastrophic bushfire conditions. It is also crucial to upgrade your home insurance so you can meet the higher costs of new building standards, in the event you have to rebuild. And in all cases, act on warnings given by your state or territory fire authority.
The above suggestions for Older Home Bushfire Preparations were made this week by Dr Douglas Brown, Principle of Bushfire Architecture, a consultancy which researches how we might improve the design of buildings and subdivisions in bushfire-prone areas. From 2010-2013 he received a PhD scholarship from Bushfire CRC. He is a member of the International Association of Wildland Fire.
Tools And Products To Help You Get It Done - Some From The Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 'Spring Into Summer' Catalogue
All sale items run from November 13 - 24th - access fill sale catalogue online HERE
Gardena 15m Highflex Hose: $49.80
• 13mm x 15m. • Powergrip. Also available: 30m - $88.90
EARTHCORE GARDEN HOSE 12MM X 30M: $30.00
3 layer super braided reinforcement. PVC inner core. UV resistant PVC outer layer. Includes hose end connectors.
Makita 140cc Lawn Mower: $369.00
• Briggs & Stratton 140cc engine. • 4-Stroke. • Mulch & catch. • 60L catcher.
Yard Force 16" 129cc Lawn Mower: $199.00
• 129cc engine. • 16" steel deck. • 200mm rear wheels. • 45L catcher. • 7 adjustable height positions.
Built Galvanised Wheelbarrow 80L: $99.00
Also available: 100L: $129.00
Werner 1.8 - 3.2m Dual Purpose Ladder: $124.00
• 120Kg domestic rating. • Aluminium. • Versatile 2 in 1 design. • Easily converts from an A-frame step ladder to a straight ladder. • Double riveted construction. • Anti-slip feet for added safety & stability.
Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Trade Centre at Mona Vale - everything you need under one roof.
Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Store
73 Bassett Street
Mona Vale - Online Store: Jbhmv.Com.Au
Products advice is available from the trained friendly staff at Narrabeen, Mona Vale and Avalon Johnson Brothers Mitre 10.
Previous DIY Pages:
Decking Timbers Caring For Your Deck Decking Finishes Privacy Screens I Privacy Screens II Privacy Screening Hardwoods Autumn Paths and Lawns Insulation Batts Plasterboard Ventilation - Edmond's Ecofan Blackboards for Children and Home Spring Lawn Care Shade Sails & Watering Basic DIY Tools DIY Tools - Power Drills Recycle Your Trampoline into An Air Bed How to Build Your Own Backyard Cricket Pitch Christmas Lights Displays around House and Garden Summer Mildew - Refresh, Renew How to Fix Things That Drip and Bump in the Night Time To Plant Winter Vegetables in a Raised Garden Beds Layout Organsing Your Tool Shed Make Your Own Weathervane Installing A Garden Watering System Decking Oils How To Make Garden Compost How To Winter proof Your Lawn How to create Shabby Chic effect on Timber Furniture How to Build Your Own Raised Garden Bed Growing Your Own Winter Vegies Winter Heating Guide Prepare Your Yard For Winter Eradicating Noxious Weeds From Your Yard How to Fix Furniture Finishes Part I How to Repair Scratches, Dings, and Dents of Furniture Surfaces - Part II Winter Draughts Fix Classic Wooden Tool Carrier Spring Garden Checklist Part I Install Your Own Skylight Retaining Walls for Saving Soil and New Spring Garden Beds Summer Salad Garden Native Plant Garden for A Fairy Arbour Renewing Short Flight of Exterior Stairs Deck Maintenance DIY Summer Tasks You Can Do In Time to Get to the Beach Garden Ponds for Attracting Birdlife, Dragonflies and for the Soothing Sounds of Water Salt Air: Maintenance and Protection Creating an Outdoor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio - Part I Creating an Outdor Dining Arbour, Gazebo or Patio Part II Autumn Garden Tasks Autumn DIY Jobs: Waterproof Your Home Checklist Dealing With Dampness Inside the Home Fixing Your Fence Repairing and Replacing Damaged Decking boards DIY Toy Box and Snow Globes: School Holidays Fun - Winter 2015 DIY Wooden Toy Cars and Perfect Painted Flowerpots: School Holiday Fun - Winter 2015 Shoring Up an Under House Earth Bank – Installing a Basic Retaining Wall DIY One Shelf Sideboard Early Spring 2015 Garden Care Salad Garden For Children Keeping Your Garden and Home Cool in Hot Weather Classic Beach Garden and Camping Chairs 3 Portable Versions Anyone Can Make DIY Outdoor Furniture Mark I: Park Benches for Your Garden Make Your Own Scooter or Skateboard: Summer 2016 Fun How to Install a Solid Core Door and Door Furniture Summer Garden Jobs: Pruning A Hedge How to Make A Swing Chair - With A Frame for Garden Setting Garden Jobs for March to Make A Beautiful and Healthy Spring Keeping Outdoor Nooks Warm During Cooler Months Children’s Step Stool with Storage Stop Winter Rain Lawn Loss and Soil Erosion on Slopes DIY Garden Shed: Part 1 of 4 - Base DIY Garden Shed: Part 2 - Framing Walls DIY Garden Shed: Part 2b - Gable Roof Framing Garden Shed Part 3: Roof Installation DIY Garden Shed: Weather- boards - Door And Window Installation And Paint Finish DIY Coffee Table With Chessboard Inlay Spring Gardening: Feeding Your Soil And Plants - What Works For Each Plant DIY Sandstone Flagging Parking Area - Platform DIY Pre-Summer Checklist For A Safe Home Summer Spruce Up: Interior Paint Tips and Three easy steps to rejuvenate your timber deck The Perfect BBQ Garden Setting DIY Water Wise Garden DIY Side Gates DIY Storm Preparation And Home Protection One To Two Day DIY Weekend Spruce Ups Vegepods For Autumn Planting + Easy To Make Lego Table Or Student Desk That Can Be Dismantled + Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Online Store Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Great New Mona Vale Store: Still In Bassett Street - number 73 Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 New Mona Vale Store: The Greenlife Garden Centre Go Outside And Play: Creating Garden Spaces To Connect Children With Nature DIY Plasterboard Repair DIY Dolls House Or Garage Or Boatshed DIY Child's Waggon - or use as a large planter mover DIY Bathroom Refresh: Zing For Spring Tips for Growing a Native Garden FireCrunch, Australian Developed Fire-proof, Sustainable, Durable and Reliable Building Board Now Available at Johnson Bros. at Mona Vale and Narrabeen School Holidays DIY Ideas for Children: Little Vegetables Garden, Swing, Windchimes Bushfire Season Preparation 2017: Home and Outdoor Areas Johnson Brothers Mitre 10 Trade Centre at Mona Vale + Issue No 1 of Mitre 10’s inSITE Magazine for Tradies and Handymen Preparing Al Fresco Areas for Christmas Get-Togethers and Summer Visitors Summer De-bug; Mosquitoes, flies, cockroaches and ants - how to keep the outdoors insects where they belong DIY Summer Projects: Install A Fountain Or Water Feature Late Summer and Early Autumn Projects: A Shed For All Storage Solutions + Garden Tasks + Keeping Our Waterways Clean Autumn Plantings for Winter Harvests 2018 Paintback Collection Event: Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale Saturday, April 7 Reducing Ticks in Your Garden: Garden care, Plants that Repel, What to Wear Outdoors Attracting Insectivore Birds to Your Garden: DIY Natural Tick Control Mother's Day 2018: DIY Rose Garden Winter Mould & Mildew Inside Your home: How to Keep Air and Surfaces Healthier DIY Traditional Rocking Horse Johnson Brothers Trade Day 2018 DIY Mushrooms and Vege Kits: School Holidays Fun Winter 2018 for Curious Kids Woodworking Projects for Beginners: School Holidays Fun Winter 2018 - Simple Storage Box + Wood Tool Box Spring Garden Prep: Soil Care Spring into Spring + JBH August 2018 Trifecta DIY Backyard Doggie Paradise Garden Care for Heavy Rain Days + Non-Toxic Snail and Slug Debug Ideas Garden Design and Plant Management to Minimise Tick Attacks and Infestations - insights from an essay by Bill Conroy BSc. (Agr) (Syd) + a Tribute to Wilfred Lawrence Conroy CBE by Keith Jackson, PNG and others Make Your Own BBQ Kitchen Garden: Gifts That Grow Past That Giving Day Christmas Lights 2018: Light Up the Night How to Keep Your House Cool During a Heatwave Without Using an Air-Conditioner Mid-Summer Garden Care 2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale! + End Of Summer Garden To Do List DIY Fruits of Your Garden: Growing Figs Fruits Of Your Garden: Growing Passionfruit - Autumn Is Also The Time To Plant Strawberries For Spring How To Water Your Plants When Away On Holidays + Some April 2019 School Holidays Fun For Outdoors; A Skateboard Swing Or Indoors; Grow Or Make Pot Plant People Dealing With Autumn Dampness Inside The Home + Mums Day Gifts For 2019 Winter Heating Guide + Get Ready For Winter Specials Keeping Your Garden Dewful During Times Of Water Restrictions and Drought Installing Leaf Stopper Gutter Guard + Trade Day 2019 JBH Mitre 10 Trade Day Guests 2019 An Artfull Garden - for Winter School Holidays 2019 DIY Deck Refurbishment: Turning Wood Into Open Tiled Spaces - Groundworks Father's Day Wish List 2019 + How to Re-stain your Deck timbers and posts for Summer Installing Posts For Decks and Verandahs With Heavier Loads + Installing Membranes For Tiled Decks National Garden Week's 2019 Focus Is On Children(Oct 13-19): Spring School Holiday 2019 Garden Ideas (to get started on) Replacing Balustrades Handrails DIY Tiling Your Verandah: and Choosing Your Simple Or Complex Tile Pattern
Australia's Prime Minister Visits Mackellar - Informal Afternoon Tea with Hon. Malcolm Turnbull October 2016
JBH Win Awards August 2018 Trifecta - 2018 Free Trade Day supporters, Mitre 10 Heritage Advert features JBH Mona Vale Store, Hardware Australia’s 2018 NSW Hardware Store of the Year over 2500sqm.
Front Page Issue 294: 2018 Winners Of National Hardware Store Of The Year - Johnson Bros Mitre 10 Mona Vale !!!
National Garden Week's 2019 Focus Is On Children(Oct 13-19): School Holiday Garden Ideas (to get started on) & Congratulations Award Winning Johnson Brothers Mitre10 At Mona Vale - 2019 NSW Store Of the Year, 2019 NSW Trade Centre Of the Year and 2019 Village Garden Centre of the Year