Choosing the Most Fire-Resistant Roofing Material for Your Home

By Gabriel Callaway

September 20, 2022

In 2018, nine million acres of U.S. land were destroyed by over 58,000 fires, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). This includes 18,137 residential dwellings and 229 business buildings burned, with California suffering the most property loss. In recent years, a growing emphasis has been placed on developing fire-safe housing and building design due to the numerous wildfires and destroyed structures.

Homes in states like California and Nevada are prone to wildfire damage. So if you live in the area, you might want to consider fire-resistant roofing for your home.

This article will compare the best fire-resistant roofing materials so your property can be secured and withstand wildfires.

How is Fire-Resistance Measured?

So how can you tell if a roofing material is fire-resistant? The roofing industry uses three standard ratings: Class A, B, and C. If you're only looking for fire-resistant roofing materials, materials that are unrated or have not attained any of these ratings' minimum standards should be avoided.

The highest fire resistance grade is Class A. Roofing materials with this grade can withstand intense fire exposure. Although Class B and Class C roofing materials are available, you don't have to settle for less. Several reasonably-priced choices meet Class A grades, so you don't need to break the bank.

6 of the Best Fire-Resistant Roofing Materials 

If you're looking for the best fire-resistant roofing materials to consider, we've rounded up the top picks for your convenience.

Metal Roofing

One great example of fire-resistant roofing material is metal roofing, which won't burn in a fire, and while it can eventually melt, very few fires can reach temperatures high enough to cause this. Not all metal roofing systems are made to the same standard of quality, so ensure the particular metal roofing system you select passes the Class A testing.

In the short term, metal roofing is an expensive choice but less costly in the long run. These roofing systems have a 40 to 70-year lifespan. They also offer various color and aesthetic options in metal alloys, including zinc, copper, steel, and stainless steel. (Related: The Different Types of Metal Roofing Materials for Your Home)

Concrete Tile Roofing

If you prefer the look of tile, concrete is a fantastic fire-resistant roofing material to consider. Compared to other tile materials, concrete tiles are more cost-effective, weather-resistant, and non-combustible. Additionally, concrete tiles are available in a vast array of hues, finishes, and forms. Concrete offers more customization options than slate or clay if you want a unique roof look.

Clay Tile Roofing

Clay is not as heavy as slate but is similarly made using organic, inflammable elements. It is famous for Spanish-style architecture as well as other structures with a Southwestern or mission theme. This material is flame-resistant, but just like other roofing alternatives on this list, it's crucial to ensure the particular tile components you've selected are Class A fire-rated. Fire embers can enter via any holes between the tile and the underlayment.

Clay tiles are generally not as long-lasting as the other roofing materials we've discussed. It can be challenging to find a roofer that can work with the material because they can be difficult to install. And although they are more affordable than metal roofs, they will require replacement sooner.

Asphalt Shingles

Although asphalt is a petroleum-based material, shingles can be a fire-resistant roofing option. Asphalt shingles with fiberglass backing offer some fire protection– primarily when used in conjunction with fire-resistant underlayment.

Today, you'll find plenty of asphalt shingles with a Class-A fire resistance certification on the market. As a result, you can select practically any of them and receive excellent fire protection. Although shingles are not as effective at fending off the fire as metal roofs, you will probably be delighted with their performance. If they fall in, it's pretty improbable that they will catch fire or contribute to one.

Additionally, they have several advantages over metal and other roof kinds that you might like. They come in far more shapes and colors and are more cost-efficient upfront. They are also easier to install. (Related: Are Shingles A Good Roofing Material In Portland?)

Slate Tiles

Another example of fire-resistant roofing material is slate tiles. Since slate is a rock, it has a strong flame resistance and is unlikely to melt or distort in the presence of extreme heat. As a roofing material, slate has a lot of drawbacks. It is difficult to install, expensive, and heavy. However, homeowners with older homes or who prefer an aristocratic design could benefit from this choice.

Synthetic Roofing

Lastly, another fire-resistant roofing material is synthetic roofing. Durable synthetics or composite shingles and tiles can be produced to resemble wood, asphalt, or natural tile, and they have highly reflecting qualities that can lower the cooling costs of your home. They are also made of eco-friendly components like polyurethane. So if you're looking to make greener choices to make the planet better, this choice is for you.

Synthetic roofing is an immensely versatile choice that can be used on any property. Like metal roofing, it is available in various styles and colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it really possible to have a fire-proof roof?

Your roof serves a variety of vital purposes. It acts as the first line of protection for your home or business property against the wind, sun, precipitation, and other environmental hazards. To maintain the overall infrastructure integrity of your building, your roof will be crucial. An attractive roof also helps increase the value of your curb appeal, which is a great bonus.

However, does a fireproof roof exist? Unfortunately, there is no such thing because even materials that are not flammable can still warp or melt when exposed to the extreme heat of a raging fire.

What is the difference between fireproof vs. fire-resistant roofs?

While a fireproof roof may not be realistically possible, a reliable fire-resistant roof is something that can be achieved. Nowadays, various fire-resistant roofing materials are readily available to give you excellent fire protection for your property, home, and the important people your roof covers.

How are roofing materials rated?

All roofing materials that may be used to install a roof on your home have been evaluated for their ability to resist fire. The rating system is relatively straightforward and ranges from A to C. "Class A" is the highest rating, which refers to the most fire resistance, and can endure extreme fire exposure. The following rating is "Class B," which indicates moderate exposure, and the lowest rating is "Class C."

Why should you choose fire-resistant roofing?

Wildfires frequently occur in states like California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado because of the occasionally dry weather (particularly during the summer.) The result was the establishment of the Wildland-Urban Interface (WUI) Code by the US Forest Service. The WUI, as defined by the Forest Service, is the meeting of residential areas and wildlands, and it was designed to lessen the risk of wildfires spreading from the forest to populated areas.

Using specific types of construction products for residential structures is one of the measures the WUI takes to stop wildfires from spreading. One such product is fire-resistant roofing materials, which may significantly slow the spread of wildfires and protect urban areas from more severe destruction. WUI-approved fireproof roofs are resistant to ignition during a wildfire and are also resistant to the entry of fire embers and fire radiation.

Gabriel Callaway

About the author

Before Boss Exteriors, Gabe had his first company Callaway Construction Company for about 8 years. He started out of necessity to provide for himself and his family. Being self-taught, he was running everything solo for a couple of years in the beginning, and was doing all sorts of services. From flipping homes and doing all kinds of interior remodelling and contractor work, he recently shifted gears completely and niched down mostly to roofing, which is what Boss Exteriors is now. Channeling all his experience in being a general contractor for almost 10 years, he's now funnelling his expertise into the mastery of roofing to give customers an even better service and experience.

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