The mineral magnesium oxide, also known as MgO, is the primary ingredient in MagBoards (aka MgO panels or magnesium oxide boards). MagBoards are fireproof construction material and they only recently gained popularity in the United States.
MagBoards are the perfect answer to construction needs in the home and in commercial facilities because they are strong, durable, non-toxic, and mold-proof, with unbelievably impervious fireproof properties. They are currently much more commonly used in Asia, probably because most MgO is mined in or near China where much of the deposits are found. China has strict rules about exporting its raw materials, so most MgO products are produced and exported from there.
Even though MagBoards might be a new construction material here in the US, magnesium-based cement has actually been used around the world for many hundreds of years. It was used in the construction of the Pantheon in Rome AND the Great Wall of China. Although the materials used in these projects weren’t exactly like today’s more advanced boards, the naturally fire-resistant minerals and product chemical composition were essentially the same. The fact that these ancient structures are still around is testimony enough to the durability of MagBoards.
What are MagBoards (Magnesium fireproof boards)?
MagBoards can replace materials such as cement-based products, wood, and gypsum. They are also cheaper to maintain than most of those products, they perform better, and often use smaller thicknesses to achieve the same result.
These versatile boards are not only fire-resistant, but they are also non-toxic, strong, mold-proof, and still retains their strength when wet. The many applications of MagBoards include linings of ceilings and walls, fascias and soffits, exterior cladding, floor underlay, and backing for tile. MagBoard can be used in practically any type of construction where fireproofing is required and depending on the size and cost of the structure, they can potentially save millions of dollars by preventing devastating fire damage.
How common are residential and commercial construction fires?
Between the years 2012 and 2016 in the United States, there were 355,400 recorded fires to home structures. These fires resulted in over 2,500 civilian deaths, more than 11,600 civilian fire injuries, and $6.5 billion in property damage. Home fires were responsible for four out of every five fire-related deaths.
In 2017, the US had 111,000 fires in nonresidential buildings. Half of all house fires happen in the kitchen, and for nonresidential buildings, cooking was also a culprit as 30% of all nonresidential fires were started by cooking. And while the kitchen is the most common place in the home for a fire to start, other places in the home where fires often start include the bedroom, living room, laundry room, and the attic.
Why is the kitchen the most common place for a house fire? Not surprisingly, the kitchen is a place that inherently involves lots of high heat and electricity, two main ingredients for a cooking-related fire. You may be familiar with the scenario where oil or grease gets too hot, and someone throws water on it in an effort to put out flames. The result of this action is absolutely explosive and can cause the fire from the oil to spread. The video below shows the effects of pouring water onto hot oil.
How do MagBoards help prevent the spread of fire?
There are several uses for MagBoards for construction of the kitchen that will help prevent the spread of a flame or flareup. The boards are fairly versatile in their potential applications. In the kitchen, they can be used to make cabinets, ceiling tiles, floor tiles and subflooring, and even decorative interior wallboard – all very common elements in most kitchens. If a fire spreads to these items when they are made of MagBoard, the fire will only cause some cosmetic damage, and it won’t spread farther.
The second most common area in the home for a fire to start is the bedroom. The most likely reason for this is the abundance of flammable materials typically found in the bedroom such as carpet, drapes, bedspreads, pillows, and linens. MgO certainly can’t be used to produce these items, but MagBoards can be used in the flooring, ceiling, and walls to help prevent the fire from spreading farther than the bedroom itself. Having only one burned-out bedroom is better than having the home completely destroyed.
Another common room for fires to start is the living room. The living room is a place where you’ll find fireplaces, candles, heating equipment, and electronics, and it’s a popular area for smokers. If any of those heat-producing sources cause a fire, there are other flammable items found in the living rooms such as couches, drapes, and carpet that can quickly spark and lead to the spread of flames. Like the bedroom, the living room can be protected using MagBoards when constructing the flooring, ceiling, and walls, in an effort to prevent a fire from spreading farther than it normally would.
The laundry room is also on the list of common areas in the house for fires. This is usually due to lint from the dryer clogging up vents and filters. Dryers produce a lot of heat, and sometimes the lint catches fire. Once the fire starts, there is a danger of it reaching flammable clothing in the dryer or hanging clothes that would light up quickly. If MagBoards are used in the construction of the laundry room for the flooring, walls, and ceiling they will help prevent the fire from spreading into other areas.
What is MgO construction?
MagBoards can be used throughout the construction process in both residential and commercial building construction. Their resistance to fire and many other green attributes make the boards a high-quality, cost-saving building material. The diagram below shows examples of where MagBoards can be used during residential construction.
The National Framers Council says that “Regardless of the material used in a building’s construction, prolonged exposure to fire without mitigation can lead to structural weakness and potential collapse.” The keyword here is ‘prolonged’. The reason fires are prolonged is because they spread and find more flammable materials. If more MagBoards (MgO fireproof board) are used during the construction phase of homes or commercial buildings, that would limit how far a fire would be able to spread. It’s possible that an entire framed out condominium complex might very well burn down from a kitchen fire. However, in condominiums protected with MagBoard throughout, the fire would most likely be contained to the one room where the fire began. This could potentially save many lives in addition to expensive equipment, sensitive information, and the cost of rebuilding a structure.