Fire Resistant Roofing: Protect Your Home Against Wildfires
An image of the 2020 Cameron Canyon wildfire. Photo courtesy of denverpost.com
It is no secret that Colorado is a beautiful state: mountain views, national parks, lakes, creeks, and abundant wildlife make it one of the most desirable places to live in the country.
It is also no secret that Colorado’s weather is unusual. “Just wait five minutes” is an oft-used expression to explain the rapid changes in temperature and precipitation that can occur year-round. In the wintertime, snow can accumulate to well over a foot in the morning and will have melted by the afternoon. In the summertime, the state is famous for its clear, sunny days and stormy afternoons.
Colorado’s typically arid climate means it is also susceptible to wildfires during the summer months. In recent years, climate change has increased the prevalence and severity of these fires. In fact, 2020 saw the three largest forest fires in the state’s history. The Cameron Peak fire burned 208,913 acres and destroyed nearly 500 structures.
Although 2020 was atypical, it is still wise to protect your home in the event of any fire, including wildfires. Your roof is a great place to start. Whether you are looking at a new build or want to upgrade your current system, there are a few things you will want to keep in mind.
How Do Homes Catch Fire?
Understanding how and why homes ignite can be helpful when choosing ways to protect your home. Typically, buildings catch fire in one of three ways: embers, radiant heat, or direct flame exposure. During wildfires, wind-blown embers are a common source of ignition.
Choose Fire-Rated Materials
While it is not always possible to save your property from fire, choosing fire-rated materials can help mitigate the possibility of irreparable damage. Roof coverings can be classified as “A, B, C,” or “unclassified” in relation to their fire-resistant capabilities. When selecting roofing materials, be sure they are rated “Class A.” These include:
Certain materials can be “Assembly-rated Class A,” which means they achieve Class A certification when combined with other materials. An example of this would be wood shake treated with a fire retardant combined with an underlying material, such as a Versashield® SOLO™ Fire Resistant Slip Sheet.
● Pine needles, leaves, small branches, and other debris can accumulate in gutters and on the roof. You will want to remove this at least twice a year. Wind-blown embers can cause this debris to ignite.
● Certain types of materials like metal, flat and barrel-shaped tiles, and cement can have gaps in between the roof covering and the sheathing. Birds and other animals can build nests in these openings, creating another source of tinder for wind-blown embers. You will want to remove these* and hire a professional to fill these gaps with the appropriate material.
*In some instances, it is illegal to remove bird nests from your roof. If they are in “unsafe” areas, such as in gutters or on top of vents, it is generally okay to remove them. Otherwise, you will want to verify with your local wildlife association that it is legal for you to remove any nests.
Cover Attic and Crawlspace Vents
● Vents leading into attics and crawl spaces can act as entry points for windblown embers. You can reduce the number of embers that make their way into these areas by covering vents with specialized screens. The screens will also prevent the aforementioned pests from nesting in your attic.
● If your area is under wildfire alert, you can further protect your home by covering these mesh screens with a layer of metal or plywood. Just be sure to remove these once the threat has passed.
J&K Roofing Can Help you Decide
J&K Roofing has been a local Colorado business for more than 35 years. We are very familiar with its weather and the best methods to guard against it. We use only the highest quality, Class A-rated materials and we are certified in each one. If you have experienced fire damage or have questions about what roofing materials can be used in your area, give us a call.