Are stone coated steel roofs fire proof?

Lab tests rate a number of roofing products as Class A fire resistive, the best rating. But actual wildfires in real life situations show which roofs truly protect a home when a blaze hits.

In the 2003 “Cedar” fire that swept across San Diego, the high winds generated by the fire tore off wood shakes, asphalt shingles and some concrete and clay tiles. With roofing material gone, exposed wood deck was an easy mark for flames and blown embers.

Heavy embers, such as from tree limbs or falling trees, also may fall onto a roof. Brittle materials such as clay and concrete tiles break under stress and may allow the fire to enter the home.

Is your roofing product up-to-code?

Building codes require roofing products to pass 80 mph wind tests. Many roofing products fail the test, yet they are allowed to be installed under a “grandfather” clause.

In the Cedar fire, most of the homes with steel roofs were spared because the steel systems are wind resistant. The Stone Coated Steel was unfazed by the 60 to 80 mph winds-it has stayed intact in 145 mph hurricane winds. Flames and embers could not burn through the steel, so these homes sustained little or no fire damage.

“We actually put (fire) engines at a steel covered roof because I knew it was defendable,” said veteran fire division chief Kim Raddatz of Coronado, who battled the San Diego fire. Less than a week later, he re-roofed his own home with a Boral Shake roof, made of a stoned coated steel material.

“I put the steel roof on for its fire-related benefits, bar none,” Raddatz said. “I wanted something that not only would withstand the heat but would withstand the high winds that are generated within a very large wildland or suburban fire.”

California roofs built to last

The material makes a major difference on how a fire spreads and how well firefighters can save a home.

A fire started in the kitchen of the home of the Silber family in Cypress, California during the middle of the night. They quickly contacted the fire department. According to a local newspaper report, “the Boral Shake roof, a stone coated steel roof the Silbers had recently installed, effectively prevented self ventilation and contained the fire to one portion of the home. The fire department was able to quickly extinguish the flames within 20 minutes of their arrival.”

Other roofing products that are flammable or heavy can cause premature roof collapse and do not provide the fire containment and safety that are unique to stone coated steel or other metal roofs.

Learn about different California metal roof types we have available or give us a call at (800) 766-8000. We also offer financing options for all your residential roofing needs in California. Our solar systems company, Cira Energy, offers cost-saving solar powered system so you can cut out the utility bills.