The Top 5 Fire-Resistant Roofing Materials
Your roof is your home’s most important exterior aspect, and its sole purpose is to protect you from inclement weather. Sure, your roof can serve this primary function of protection and be a beautiful accent to the look of your home. But not all roofing materials are created with equal amounts of protection in mind.
For example, impact-resistant roofing materials offer different levels of protection against falling objects like hail or other debris. Similarly, different roofing materials have varying degrees of fire resistance.
So which ones are the most fire-resistant? Here are the top five fire-resistant roofing materials, along with the level of protection offered.
How Fire Resistance Is Measured
Before any type of roofing material is put on the market, it is subjected to rigorous testing and rated according to its performance. The main test, which determines a roofing material’s level of fire resistance, measures how quickly a fire spreads on a roof within 10 minutes. When it comes to fire resistance, roofing materials are rated on a class system. There are three levels of fire resistance when it comes to roofing materials: Class A, B, and C.
Class A roofing materials are the most fire-resistant. They aren’t readily flammable and will not contribute to the spread of fire across a roof. Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who have Class A-rated roofing.
Class B roofing materials are not readily flammable, and they’ll withstand moderate fire exposure. Typically, a Class B material will allow a fire to spread two feet further in a 10-minute window than a Class A material.
Class C roofing materials will withstand light exposure to fire, although they aren’t as fire-resistant as Classes A or B.
Non-Rated roofing materials are exactly that: they aren’t rated for fire resistance. That doesn’t mean they’re highly flammable, but they don’t meet the requirements for Class C (or the manufacturer didn’t seek a fire-resistance rating).
An important note is that each of these classes depends on the underlayment material and proper installation. For example, a Class A roofing material like concrete or clay tile could ignite if it doesn’t sit on fire-resistant roof underlayment.
Types of Fire-Resistant Roofing Materials
Each of the following roofing materials is considered fire-resistant to varying degrees. You can learn more about the durability of each by clicking here.
Metal is one of the best fire-resistant roof materials, and metal roofs are also sustainable. It’s not the cheapest material to install, but because of its durability, metal roofs will last a long time and are worth the investment. Metal is commonly assigned a Class A fire-resistance rating, which is the highest safety level for fire protection. Many of the mountain communities in Colorado have beautiful homes with metal roofing. Common types of metal roofing include aluminum roofing, copper roofing, standing seam metal roofs, stone coated steel, metal tile roofs, and metal slate roofs.
Clay or Concrete Tile
Clay and concrete tile roofs are good options for fire resistance, as both materials are naturally fire-resistant and non-combustible. As such, they’re typically rated Class A. Part of routine maintenance includes making sure cracks in the material are repaired, as damaged tiles can open a roof up to ignition from flying firebrands.
Slate tile roofs are similar to clay or concrete tiles: they’re naturally fire-resistant due to their material. As a non-combustible material, it receives a Class A fire rating. Slate can break easily, creating the risk of cracks and other damage. Slate tile roofs are typically rated class A.
Fiberglass-Based Asphalt Shingles
Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles are the most common type of roofing material, including here in Colorado. Because asphalt shingles are a petroleum-based product, they’re flammable on their own. But that’s where fiberglass comes into play to help make them more durable during a fire; fiberglass-based shingles should be able to withstand a couple of hours of flames before they ignite. A fiberglass mat can also add weather protection and greater fire resistance. They are often rated Class A.
Synthetic composite shingles are a great fire-resistant option. They’re also economical and come in a variety of colors and styles. They’re recyclable, easy on the environment, and highly durable. Synthetic composite roofs are usually rated Class A.
A Note on Wood Shake Shingles
Some homes have wood shake shingles or wood shake tiles as their roofing materials. They are beautiful, durable, and can last a long time. However, they increase the risk of structure loss during a fire (particularly a wildfire). Since the fire season has become increasingly worse, it is important to note the roofing materials that have the lowest rating. Wood shake, plywood, or particle board roofs are the most common roofing types listed as Class C.
Traditional shake shingle roofs have been banned by municipalities in Colorado and other states that often face a fire elevated risk. And many insurance companies are no longer offering insurance on homes with wood shake roofs. If you are looking for wood shake or cedar shake options, consider several new lines of realistic synthetic shake and durable wood shake composite roofing products from Brava, DaVinci, EcoStar, and CeDUR.
We Know Your Roofing Materials
J&K Roofing professionals are knowledgeable and experienced with all roofing materials, plus we’re certified in each one. If you are concerned about fire resistant roofing for your home, we can provide options based on your area and home aesthetic.
If you’re in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, and Northern Colorado regions, contact us today by calling 303-425-7531. We’d love to hear from you!