Dealing with Wildfire Risks: Roofing Materials and Maintenance for Fire-Prone Areas in Colorado
Having a home in the Colorado woods is a dream for so many people, and for good reason. Living in a rural or forested area of Colorado can offer peace, quiet, and natural beauty that can improve your emotional state and overall way of living.
But with that picturesque lifestyle comes some significant risk, and we’re not talking about bears and mountain lions (although you should watch out for those, too). We’re talking about wildfires, which seem to be happening more often over the last decade.
Wildfires can be devastating, but there’s a lot you can do today to potentially slow the spread of wildfires around your property and reduce the risk of being impacted. Keep reading for tips on the best roofing materials and maintenance for fire-prone areas.
What makes Colorado prone to wildfires?
Colorado has many forests and heavily wooded areas that are ready to ignite, especially during warmer, dryer years. We have a number of rural areas where homes and structures are built and intended to exist along with nature, but as idyllic as that sounds, it can also lead to bigger, more dangerous fires.
The climate in Colorado doesn’t do us any favors, either. Year after year, we experience high temperatures with little humidity, both of which zap plants and trees of moisture. Add to that an intense storm season with high winds and electrical activity in the air, and you have a good recipe for an ignition.
What can Colorado homeowners do to protect their homes from wildfires?
A good strategy for protecting your home from wildfires is to start with your home and work outward.
- Maintain your home and property. Keep your decks, roof, and gutters clear of all debris, especially flammable materials like pine needles and leaves.
- Make sure your roof has a Class A fire rating. This rating indicates the flame spread rating of your roofing materials. Those with a Class A fire rating have been tested to ensure their spread rating is between 0 and 25 — the lower the number the better.
- Upgrade windows to tempered glass. Double-pane windows with tempered glass are a great option.
- Replace flammable fencing and gating. Replace any flammable materials that sit within 5 feet of your home.
- Create vertical clearance between the ground and your siding. You want at least 6 inches of clearance between the ground and your siding for proper wildfire protection.
- Use ⅛-inch metal mesh to screen sensitive areas. This includes your attic, eaves, foundation vents, and deck.
Another step you can take to protect your home and property from wildfires is to create defensible space zones, which are management zones intended to prevent or slow the spread of a wildfire. In each of these spaces around each building or structure on your property, treat, clear, or reduce manmade or natural fuels to prevent embers from being produced or a fire from spreading.
What kind of materials are best for homes in areas prone to wildfires?
The best way to know if you have fire-resistant materials on your roof and home is to look them up and ensure they have a Class A fire rating.
Specifically, these roofing materials are good in wildfire-prone areas:
- Metal roofing
- Clay or concrete tile
- Slate tile
- Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles
- Synthetic composite
Wood shake shingles are a bad option for areas where wildfires might occur. In fact, some municipalities in Colorado and in other states have banned them from being used on homes because of how flammable they are. Due to this risk, some insurance companies increase the cost to insure your home, or won’t insure your property at all if you have a wood shake roof.
If you live in a rural, wooded area and your home has a wood shake roof or some other type of flammable material, you should consider other options that have a Class A fire rating. Click here for a free inspection that comes with notes and suggestions on how to reduce your wildfire risk.
We Can Help
The idea of dealing with a wildfire in Colorado can be scary, but if you take proper precautions and maintain your home and property, you can greatly reduce the risk that you might be affected. Remember that firefighters will do their best to contain a fire, but it’s ultimately up to you as a property owner to reduce the possibility of damage from a wildfire.
But the good news is that the team at J&K Roofing is here to help. Our team is experienced and knowledgeable when it comes to fire-resistant roofing materials, and we’re certified to work with every material we offer for your next home project. Get in touch with us for your roofing, siding, and window needs. Call 303-425-7531.