Metal Roofing and Fire Resistance: What You Need to Know

Published On: May 14, 20230 Comments on Metal Roofing and Fire Resistance: What You Need to KnowTags: Last Updated: January 21, 20245 min read

Fire is a potentially destructive threat to your home that can cause structural damage and endanger people’s lives. It is critical to select fire-resistant materials, particularly roofing materials. A fire-resistant roof is your home’s first line of protection, so choose materials that are both economical and efficient.

house with metal roof

Asphalt, slate, metal, and clay tiles are some of the fire-resistant materials, but among all of them, I will go for metal. In this article, I will discuss the necessity of fire-resistant metal roofing and how it performs better than other substances. You can also read more to find detailed guidelines to install metal roofing in your home.

What Does ‘Fire-Resistant’ Mean

First thing first, before going into details, we need to know what fire resistance means. Primarily it means non-flammability and the ability to withstand fire and heat. But for metal roofing, it refers to the ability to prevent from penetrating the roof to reach the attic. For example, Class A fire resistance, which is the highest rating means the fire can’t infiltrate the roof. It’s also worth noting that fireproof and fire-resistant roofs are not the same thing though both are quite similar.

A fireproof roof can withstand any fire or great heat for the longest time as they don’t burn and melt, and obstruct the spread of fire. Slates and clay are some of the top fireproof materials. On the other hand, fire-resistant materials also withstand the fire for a certain period, but eventually, it will not prevent the fire completely from penetrating through it.

What is the Fire Rating of a Metal Roof?

As per the National Building Code of Canada (NBC), you can follow the following definition of fire rating:

“A fire-resistance rating is defined as “the time in minutes or hours that a material or assembly of materials will withstand the passage of flame and the transmission of heat when exposed to fire under specified conditions of test and performance criteria, or as determined by extension or interpretation of information derived therefrom as prescribed in [the NBC].”

Generally, metal roofs are classified with a Class A fire rating, that can withstand to fire for a long time.

According to  National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the Class A Fire Rating proves that a metal roof outside your house can:

  • Endure 2 to 4 hours before ignition
  • Withstand a burning brand measuring 12″ x 12″ and weighing 2,000 grams
  • Withstand 15 cycles of a gas flame turned on and off
  • Encounter maximum flame spread of 6 feet

Why Fire Resistance Matters in Roofing Materials

When choosing roofing materials for your home or company, fire resistance is critical. Lightning strikes, electrical faults, and natural calamities such as wildfires can all cause fires to ignite. By stopping the spread of flames and lowering the risk of structural collapse, a fire-resistant roof can help protect your property and the people inside. Besides, fire-resistant roofing materials have to be approved or allowed by local construction codes or insurance plans. Choosing a roofing material with a high fire rating can raise the value of your house by providing an important safety element. You can assist maintain the safety and security of your property and the people who live in it by prioritizing fire resistance in your roofing selections.

laying metal roof

How Metal Roofs Prevent Fire Spread

Metal roofs are highly fire-resistant and can help prevent the spread of flames. Metal roofing is typically rated as Class A, the highest rating for fire resistance, by industry standards organizations such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).

Metal roofs, in the case of a fire, stop the spread of flames by reflecting heat and avoiding the development of hot spots. In comparison to other roofing materials, metal roofs can cut the risk of fire spreading by up to 90%, according to a study by the Metal Construction Association. This is because metal roofs do not retain heat like asphalt shingles or wood shakes do, but instead dissipate heat more efficiently than other materials.

Some studies conducted by the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) found that metal roofing is one of the most effective roofing materials for preventing the spread of wildfires. They evaluated the performance of different roofing materials in simulated wildfire conditions and found that metal roofing was one of the most effective materials at preventing ignition and reducing the spread of flames.

Pros of Using Metal Roofing

  • Metal roofing is high fire-resistant roofing that can withstand high temperatures and does not catch fire easily, making it an ideal choice for areas with a high risk of wildfires or other fires.
  • A metal roof can provide valuable protection for your property and the people inside in the event of a fire. Its fire-resistant properties can help prevent the spread of flames for long hours and minimize the risk of fire damage.
  • Metal roofing is typically rated as Class A, the highest rating for fire resistance, by industry standards organizations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). This means it has been tested and meets industry standards for fire resistance.
  • Metal roofing is a low-maintenance roofing material that does not require frequent repairs or replacement. This can be a significant advantage in areas with a high risk of fires, where regular maintenance may be challenging or hazardous.
  • Metal roofing has a long lifespan, typically lasting 40-70 years or more. You can expect long-term fire protection for your property without investing frequently.

Final Thoughts

Fire resistance is a crucial consideration when selecting roofing materials for your home or business. Whether you live in an area prone to wildfires or are looking to increase the safety and value of your property, consider investing in a metal roof with fire-resistant underlayment. By reflecting heat and preventing hot spots, metal roofing can reduce the likelihood of fire spreading and provide valuable protection for your property and the people inside.

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