Fire Resistant Roofing Materials For Bay Area Buildings
The Bay Area and our surrounding counties have been hit hard these past few fire seasons, and we’ve all learned more than we wanted to about fires, how they move, and what puts a home at risk. One of the most important lessons is how much fire resistant roofing materials can help to save homes and businesses in the wake of burning, falling embers.
Fire Resistant Roofs Give Home & Businesses A Chance
While there isn’t much that can be done if your home is in the direct path of a powerful firewall, many of the homes lost or destroyed by fires aren’t in the fire’s path at all. Instead, hot burning embers and debris travel up and into the wind, landing on buildings downwind of the fire.
If your roof is built with fire resistant materials, it may not catch fire at all when burning embers descend. Or, the roof’s resistant properties give you and fire crews time to staunch the embers before the building ignites. Plus, as more homeowners insurance companies cancel or refuse fire coverage, a home’s fire resistant roofing materials matter more than ever when it comes to protecting your investment and future equity.
Flame penetration through the roof covering into the attic space
Fame spread over the surface of the roof covering
The propensity for the roof covering to become dislodged and generate embers.
With that in mind, here are our top recommendations for Class A fire-rated roofing materials that meet or exceed the WUI code standards.
Asphalt glass fiber composition shingles
Asphalt shingles are the most popular roofing materials out there because they are the most affordable. Upgrade them to an asphalt/glass-fiber composition shingle and now you have an affordable, Class-A fire-rated standalone roofing material. This means they don’t need any extra “fireproofing” materials or assembly to resist ashes, embers, etc. that fall from the sky during a severe firestorm.
Clay tiles are another “standalone” fire-rated material. These are quite popular here in the Bay Area because they replicate the tiles used on Mediterranean-style and Spanish-style buildings. Clay tiles are also considered an eco-friendly roofing option because of their longevity, lower-maintenance requirements, and energy-saving properties.
If budget is a concern for you, we recommend metal roofing products. They are more expensive than standard, asphalt shingles but they also last (with warranties) for 40-years or more. Plus, at the end of its lifespan, a metal roof can be recycled, saving it from the landfill and reducing its overall carbon footprint. Visit our post, Pros & Cons of Metal Roofing…to learn more about the product.
In addition to being more fire resistant, metal roofing products are also known for their energy-efficient improvement. The reflective coatings used on the metal panels reduce solar heat gain and they also provide an ideal foundation for solar panels.
Keep in mind that unlike the asphalt/glass fiber shingles and other standalone options listed here, metal roofs are considered an assembly-rated Class A material. This means they are only Class A if the rest of the roofing assembly is designed and selected to meet the Class A code requirements. Your roofing contractor will help you learn more about that.
Slate tiles or shingles
Made from slate or slate-composite tiles and shingles are exceptionally durable (they can last for 60 years or more). With a closed assembly (meaning no gaps, exposed roofing substrates, or niches where birds or rodents can create nests), slate tiles and shingles are completely impervious to fires because there are no flammable materials to ignite.
That said, slate is a stone and it’s heavy. Unless you are building a new home that plans for a slate roof, the building may need more structural reinforcement to handle the extra load.
Like slate tiles and shingles, concrete tiles are a heavy option – but are very fire resistant. They also make our list of6 Popular Roofing Materials because of their stylish appeal, versatility, and very long lifespan. As you can imagine, they are also a wonderful insulator, making concrete tiles an eco-friendly option as well.