House roof on fire because the roof was not made of fire resistant roofing materials

Best Fire Resistant Roofing Materials

The dry climate in Southern California and Southern Nevada along with the strong winds make the entire region highly prone to wildfires. When building, renovating or re-roofing a home in these areas be sure you and your builder select quality, fire-resistant materials, especially for your roof. The roof plays an important role in maintaining the structural integrity of your home, so it’s important to keep it safe and intact. Of course, due to its large surface area, a roof is highly vulnerable in the event of a fire. Burning embers can easily blow over and settle on rooftops. Radiant heat from large fires can cause roof materials to hit their flash point, or a temperature at which they self-ignite. Your roof might also come into contact with open flame if a fire moves into your area. Using quality fire-resistant roofing materials gives the entire structure a better chance of surviving a fire.

Roofing Fire Ratings 101

Roofing materials go through strenuous testing to determine a fire rating. This includes checking if the material is combustible, whether it will splinter and generate flying firebrands (i.e. burning pieces of debris), and if flames can spread across its surface. Class A roofing materials are typically non-combustible, can withstand severe fire exposure, and don’t produce firebrands. Class B roofing is made of combustible materials that are treated with chemicals to make them more fire retardant. Class C roofing is made up of things like untreated wood shakes and shingles, which will only survive light fire damage. Many communities in fire-prone areas ban Class B and Class C roofing materials for safety reasons.

What Are the Most Fire-Resistant Roofing Materials?

A fire-resistant roof includes the entire roofing system, including the deck, insulation, underlayment, and even the roof incline. The roof sheathing material plays a large role in preventing ignition and slowing the spread of fire to other parts of the building. Here are some popular roofing materials to provide Class A protection for your home.

Good Fire Resistant Roofing Materials

New gray slate roof in Las Vegas view from atop roof installed by Prestige Roofing

Slate

This natural stone tile is beautiful, durable, and non-combustible. However, slate is also an extremely heavy material, so you have to make sure your roof can support the weight. Additionally, slate tile is expensive and requires specialized knowledge for proper installation.

Clay Tile

Clay tile is another non-combustible option. It’s a popular choice for Southwestern, mission, or Spanish-style architecture. However, for optimal fire protection, it does require a bit of upkeep, particularly the barrel-shaped tiles, as there can be gaps between the underlayment and the tile sheathing. If these gaps aren’t plugged, embers can get blown in, bypassing the Class A protection of the tiles, and spread to the structural support beams.

Concrete Tiles

Concrete tiles, like clay, are non-combustible. They can be a good choice in terms of durability, fire-resistance, and cost-effectiveness. Today’s concrete tiles come in many colors, finishes and shapes for an attractive look to your roof. Like clay tiles, a concrete tile roof must be installed correctly. LIke clay, regular inspection by your roofer for misplaced tiles or other problems will help it retain its maximum fire resistance.

Asphalt Shingles

Fiberglass-based asphalt shingles provide good fire protection when they’re installed with a fire-resistant underlayment. They’re relatively inexpensive, but also require more upkeep than other options.

Best Fire Resistant Roofing

Two roofing materials, in particular, combine Class A fire-resistance, style, low maintenance and durability.

Metal

Luxury home at night with beautiful fire resistant copper roof

Metal roofing is non-combustible and offers Class A protection in combination with a fire-resistant underlayment. It’s lightweight, won’t corrode, and requires little maintenance. Metal roofing can be made from copper, zinc and steel, as well as various alloys, and comes in a variety of finishes, colors, and designs. Even better, most types of metal roofing are heat reflective and meet Energy Star efficiency requirements — making them a great option for the Las Vegas desert climate.

CeDUR

Vintage Las Vegas home restored with CeDUR shake roofing

Natural wood shakes are a popular roofing choice for their natural look and beauty, but are prohibited in many fire-prone communities for safety concerns. Fortunately, there is now a synthetic option on the market called CeDUR which replicates the look of natural cedar shakes and tiles but is designed with high fire resistance. CeDUR tiles self-extinguish and create minimal heat transfer, which helps prevent the spread of flames across the surface of the roof.

CeDUR tiles are also rated for impact and high winds, and won’t rot or split — unlike natural wood or asphalt shingles.

Other Tips for Reducing the Risk of a Roof Fire

Simple maintenance can go a long way to help mitigate the risk of a roof fire. Periodically inspect the condition of your roof, checking for gaps in the tiles, areas where shingles have fallen away, or where the surface is damaged. Also, make sure to remove wind-blown debris, such as leaves and pine needles that accumulate on your roof and in gutters. It’s important to have a fire-resistant roof when living in a fire-prone area like Las Vegas. By choosing Class A roofing materials and keeping up with maintenance, you can help prevent fires from destroying your home. If you have any questions, contact the experts at Prestige Roofing. We will help you find the right option to match your style and budget.