Four Roofing Tips For Homeowners In Areas With High Fire Danger

Living in an area where forest or brush fires are common means you have to design your entire home with fire safety firmly in mind. Nowhere is this more important than on the roof. Blowing embers from a fire can travel up to one mile, where they can land on your roof and set your home ablaze. This guide can help you increase the fire safety of your roof. 

Tip #1: The Right Materials

Roofing materials usually carry a fire-resistance rating, so you want to opt for materials with the highest rating possible. Roofs are rated as Class A, B or C, with Class A roofs providing the most fire resistance. Generally, metal, slate and gravel roofs generally offer the most fire resistance, while shingle and shake roofs provide the least amount. When considering a roof replacement (from professionals such as those from Advantage Roofing), fire resistance should be your primary deciding factor if you live in a high-risk area.

Tip #2: Maintain It Correctly

Those blowing embers don't necessarily need combustible roofing materials to start a blaze. Leaf-filled rain gutters or piles of dry pine needles on top a metal roof can provide the necessary tinder to set your house alight. Make sure you keep your roof surface clean and remove the debris from your gutters regularly. Keeping trees trimmed back so they don't drop branches or leaves on your roof is also a good idea.

Tip #3: Check Regularly for Damage

A missing shingle or damage to the roof may reveal the highly flammable sheathing material beneath. In this case, it doesn't matter how flameproof your main roofing material is since the embers may set the plywood sheathing alight. Inspect your roof every spring to make sure there are no cracks, lifted roof panels, or damaged shingles. It's also a good idea to inspect after major storms. If you spot damage, schedule a repair right away.

Tip #4: Upgrade Your Fascia and Soffits

Although most homeowners think about the fire resistance of their main roof in fire-prone areas, they may overlook the fascia boards and soffits. These are the portions of the roof that finish the edges and underside of the roof around the perimeter of the home, and right on the other side of them is the attic. They are often made of wood, which means embers can set them on fire. Replacing these with metal boards will minimize the danger.

Soffits, the portion on the underside of the roof edge, usually also feature vents for the attic. Embers can enter the attic via these vents. In some areas with high fire danger, the building code doesn't allow for the inclusion of soffit vents unless they are certified fire-resistant.