Design & DIY

Your choice of building materials can impact your cottage’s wildfire resilience

The materials you use to build or renovate your cottage make a difference when it comes to how well it will survive a wildfire. In the August 2023 Lahaina wildfire on the island of Maui, one house survived almost unscathed—and many experts credit the choices that the owners made when they renovated. They installed a non-combustible metal roof and a non-combustible zone of, in this case, river rock around the foundation:

How much of a difference can materials make? The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, an independent organization that researches building safety, built two side-by-side model homes and tested them in an ember storm, similar conditions to what occurs in a wildfire:

For more research results and tips to help you protect your cottage from a wildfire, even if you aren’t renovating, visit and