Throughout much of the western and northern United States, wildfires are becoming an increasing threat. In 2021-2022 alone, wildfires caused more than $11.2 billion in damage to US homes. If you’re worried about wildfires, you are not alone. Nobody wants to suffer the kinds of injuries that can occur in a wildfire, and having to relocate or rebuild is a considerable burden, too.
While there is no way to guarantee your home won’t suffer fire damage, there are a lot of steps you can take to reduce your risk. One of those steps is to re-evaluate the type of roofing you have on your home.
How Wildfires Spread: The Roof
Roofs play a massive role in the spread of wildfires. The fire does not even have to be close to your home for your home to catch fire. Wildfires are enormous and send up lots of sparks and burning debris. Burning leaves, pieces of paper, and embers can easily get picked up by the wind and blown hundreds of yards away. If they land on a roof and that roof is flammable, the rooftop may very well catch fire. This is not a rare occurrence; it happens pretty often.
Even tile roofs are not exempt from spreading wildfire. While the tile itself is not flammable, tile roofs are actually the second most susceptible to catching fire after (the obvious) wood shakes. The reason is that tile roofs accumulate a lot of debris underneath the tiles. Dried out leaves, pine needles and other things work their way under the tiles from wind, storms, and animals that like to make nests. When there is a wildfire the airborne embers will wind up getting underneath the tiles and igniting that debris which then catches the roof deck on fire and destabilizes the structure. This instability and all the extra weight of the tiles makes firefighters very hesitant to enter a burning structure with a tile roof.
Once one home in an area catches fire due to a spark, the fire soon spreads to other houses nearby. Those with flammable roofs are most susceptible, of course. All it takes is one ember landing on the roof for it to potentially catch fire. When a home’s roof is burning, it is difficult to prevent the fire from spreading through the rest of the house. It’s also hard to protect other flammable rooftops when a roof close by is burning.
Metal Roofs Offer Protection
One of the best ways to protect your home from wildfires is to ensure your roof is not flammable. If a spark or ember lands on your roof, you want that ember to cool off before a fire can start. Not only does this protect your home, but it also reduces the spread of fires to other homes in the area.
While there are several roof materials marketed as “fire resistant,” the truth is, some of them will eventually catch fire if enough sparks land on them, or if the fire is hot enough. Metal is the exception. Metal roofs are not just fire-resistant; they are fire-proof. Imagine trying to light a steel spoon on fire with a match or even a blowtorch. It might get hot, but it won’t send up flames. The same is true of a metal roof. An ember landing on the roof will surely heat up that part of the roof, but your roof will not go up in flames. “Class A fire rated” – this is the highest possible rating you can have for a roof system and a metal roof achieves that.
“I’ve seen too many homes burned to the ground that could’ve been prevented,” said Jim McMullen, former California State Fire Marshall. “A metal roof is one of – if not the – best preventative steps a homeowner can take to prevent the spread of residential fires and save their own homes.”
Other Advantages of Metal Roofs
In addition to being about as fire-proof as possible, metal roofing offers a few other advantages for homeowners in areas where wildfires are common. Metal roofs are lightweight in comparison to tile roofs. This means that if your home does happen to catch fire from a source other than the roof, the roof is less likely to cause the walls to crumble. A house with a tile roof is more likely to have a cave-in since the tile is so heavy. Firefighters often refuse to enter a burning home with a tile roof because the risk of collapse is so high. The risk is much lower with metal because the roof is much lighter.
Metal roofing is also an eco-friendly choice. There’s a greater chance your home will survive a fire with a metal roof, which means you’re less likely to send piles of half-burned building materials to a landfill. Plus, most metal roofs are now made from recycled metal, and they can be recycled one day again when you replace them.
Finally, homeowners’ insurance companies like metal roofs, thanks to their fire-proof qualities. If you update your insurance agent and let them know you had a metal roof installed, they may give you a discount on your premiums. These savings can make a difference in a fire-prone area where insurance rates are high.
Getting a metal roof is also one way to be a good neighbor. By reducing your own fire risk, you’re helping protect your neighbors’ homes from spreading fire, too.
The threat of wildfires probably is not going away any time soon. So, the best thing you can do is take steps to protect your home and family. Upgrading to a metal roof is a very wise step to take. Contact Vertex Metal Roofing if you’re looking for a roofing company in Northern Minnesota, Phoenix, or Tucson metro area. We specialize in metal roofing and will make sure your roof is installed right – the first time around.