How to Reduce Damage Caused By a Wildfire: Invest in a Fire-Resistant Roof


Make Resilient Upgrades | Strengthen Your Home • Wildfires

Why does it matter?

Wildfire-resistant roofing refers to using building materials and construction techniques designed to minimize the risk of fire damage to roofs and homes during a wildfire. This is especially important in areas prone to wildfires, where traditional roofing materials such as wood shingles or asphalt may be vulnerable to ignition.
Embers, or firebrands, are small particles of combustible building material, trees, shrubs, or other vegetation that ignite during a wildfire. Windborne embers can fly up to two miles ahead of a wildfire perimeter and cause the ignition to 90% of destroyed homes.

Flying embers can land on or near your home, especially your roof, so it is critical to have a fire-resistant roof and reduce the chances of your home catching fire.

What do I need to know?

One common type of wildfire-resistant roofing is metal roofing, which is highly resistant to flames and flying embers. Metal roofing is typically more expensive than traditional roofing materials but can provide excellent protection against fire. Metal roofs can be made of various materials, such as aluminum, steel, or copper. They can be installed in shingle, tile, or standing seam configurations.

Another option is using fire-resistant shingles, typically made of asphalt or fiberglass, and treated with fire retardants to make them less flammable. These shingles can be slightly more expensive than traditional shingles. Still, they are highly effective in reducing the risk of fire damage.

Additionally, installing a fire-resistant underlayment beneath the roofing material can provide extra protection against embers and flames. This underlayment is typically made of non-combustible fiberglass or mineral wool.
Understanding roof classification differences is essential for choosing a wildfire-resistant covering.
• Class A roofs are preferred as they are the most fire-resistant roof covering type. They include asphalt fiberglass composition shingles, flat/barrel-shaped clay and cementitious tiles, and some metal materials.

• Class B roofs include treated wood shake roofs but are not allowed or recommended in most wildfire-risk locations.

• Class C roofs made from recycled plastic, rubber, or aluminum are treated with fire-resistant coating and installed with fire-resistant materials such as an additional fireproof layer. Still, the coatings can wear out over time due to weather and exposure.

Where do I start?

Installing a fire-resistant roof is an important safety measure that can help protect your home and property from fire damage. Here are some steps to follow when installing a fire-resistant roof:

  1. Choose fire-resistant roofing materials: Several types of roofing materials are naturally fire-resistant, including metal, clay, and concrete tiles. Some other materials, such as asphalt shingles, can be treated with fire-resistant coatings. Be sure to select roofing materials with a Class A fire rating, which is the highest level of fire resistance.
  2. Install fire-resistant underlayment: Underlayment is a layer of material installed underneath the roofing material to provide additional protection against water and weather. Fire-resistant underlayment is made of materials such as fiberglass or mineral wool and can help prevent fire from spreading through the roof.
  3. Use fire-resistant flashing: Flashing is a thin piece of material installed around roof penetrations such as chimneys, vents, and skylights to prevent water from seeping in. Fire-resistant flashing is made of copper, aluminum, or stainless steel and can help prevent fire from spreading through roof penetrations.
  4. Install fire-resistant sheathing: The sheathing is the layer that covers the roof deck and provides a base for the roofing material. The fire-resistant sheathing is made of gypsum or fiber cement and can help prevent fire from spreading from the roof deck into the attic.
  5. Install a fire-resistant ridge vent: A ridge vent is a type of ventilation system installed along the ridge of the roof to allow hot air to escape from the attic. Fire-resistant ridge vents are made of materials such as metal or ceramic. They can help prevent fire from spreading through the ventilation system.
  6. Ensure proper installation: It is essential to have the roof installed by a professional experienced in installing fire-resistant roofing materials. Correct installation ensures that the roof provides maximum protection against fire.
  7. Keep your roof clear of debris at all times.

More Resources:

FLASH Buyers Guide to Resilient Homes - Wildfire Checklist
FEMA P-737, Home Builders’ Guide to Construction in Wildfire Zones
FEMA How to Prepare for a Wildfire
FEMA Rebuilding After a Wildfire



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