One thing I really enjoy doing in the summertime is sitting around a campfire. 

Being outside on a warm evening feeling the heat from the fire and drinking a cold beer. 

It’s a cheap way to spend quality time with your friends. 

But I have to say the thing I like most about campfires is the smell of the burning wood. 

It’s that smell that brings back memories of every camping trip and barbeque from my past. 

I absolutely love that smell, as I’m sure many of you do as well. 

But we all know that if we were to burn wood inside our homes, we would be killed within minutes. 

That’s because the smoke from the burning wood is toxic. 

Wood, a natural organic material, is toxic when it burns. 

Unfortunately for anyone trapped inside a burning building, everything is toxic. 

Every material inside every building releases toxic fumes when it burns. 

It’s unfortunate but it’s a fact. 

The only hope for anyone caught inside a burning structure is to get out. 

Fortunately many materials inside the home such as furniture, drapery, and carpets contain fire retardants which greatly reduce the spread of fire so that people inside have much more time to escape. 

Under the Canadian Building Code Vinyl is allowed in all construction, including high-rise buildings, with certain limitations. 

However many municipalities in the United States do not allow any Vinyl above the 2nd floor in building construction, the main reason being its release of toxic fumes when it burns. 

Considering that Vinyl is no more toxic than any other material when it burns, does it make sense to exclude it as an allowable building material? 

Also, something that many people do not know is that Vinyl is self-extinguishing. 

This means that it will only burn when exposed to an external flame source. 

Once the flame is removed, the burning stops. 

So if its fumes are no more toxic than any other material when it burns, wouldn’t it be safer to use Vinyl over other materials that will continue to burn when the external flame is removed? 

Fires can be disastrous and cause tremendous damage. 

However many lessons have been learned over the years and buildings are now built with fire safety as a top priority. 

Buildings today have many emergency exits and are built with fire-resistant materials and internal fire sprinkler systems. 

When you include the fire alarms in every home plus the many materials that contain fire retardants, people today have much lower risk of dying in a fire compared to 100 years ago. 

The use of Vinyl as a construction material may lower that risk even further because its self-extinguishing nature would reduce flame spread. 

So in a fire situation, Vinyl is no more toxic than any other material in your home, and may even be beneficial because of its self-extinguishing properties. 

Now let’s look at the benefits of Vinyl when it’s NOT burning:

– Vinyl is non-corroding so it stays looking new longer

– Vinyl has superior smoothness making it easy to clean and disinfect

– Vinyl is durable and has superior resistance to the elements

– Vinyl is flexible so it bends before it breaks

– Vinyl is very easy to maintain

– Vinyl has very low life-cycle costs compared to traditional building materials

When you put all this into perspective, Vinyl really has no downside compared to traditional building materials in a fire, but has a lot of upside when there’s no fire. 

Hopefully one day all those municipalities that currently exclude Vinyl building materials will be able to find the right perspective.