I have been searching for a material for building decks that meets the most rigorous requirements of the wildfire interface zones. I found a new product called TimberSIL that seems to fit the bill and more. The product literature makes some big claims:
“TimberSIL utilizes recycled non-toxic water glass, extracted from rice hulls (an abundant waste product) to surround and protect the wood fiber. TimberSIL wood is unrecognizable as food source for insects, protected from flame and resists rot. The glass extraction process is so heat intensive that it creates more energy than it uses (Energy positive).”
BuildingGreen.com has given the material great reviews, and they explain the energy positive claims a bit:
“Timber Treatment Technologies switched entirely to this waste agricultural source of sodium silicate about a year ago. The sodium silicate the company uses in its treatment process is derived 100% from burning rice hulls. Rice hulls have a high silica content–up to about 60%–and this silica is extracted in a gasification process in which the hulls are heated to produce three products: hydrogen (which is burned to generate electricity), carbon (used in making activated carbon for filters), and amorphous sodium silicate. ”
This is a relatively new and unproven product as of yet, but it seems like a good one to try. The TimberSIL installation manual provides a lot of helpful tips. I think only southern yellow pine is available now, but perhaps it will expand to other species and maybe they can switch to FSC certified wood as well.