Ask Todd Miller *Metal Roofing Expert

#3 – Fire Safety of Metal Roofing

Written by Todd Miller on February 20, 2017 | Filed under: Metal Roofing 101 Series, Roofing Help Videos

As homeowners, we take a lot of steps to fireproof the interior of our homes. But, when it comes to the exterior of our homes, the risk is out of our control. It can come from nearby wild fires, lightning strikes, or unfortunate fires at our neighbor’s homes. Metal roofs are non combustible and can offer some of the best available protection from external fires. And, unlike some other roofing materials, they offer this protection without any special fire resistive treatments which tend to wash away after a few years of exposure to the weather.

Additionally, in the event of an interior fire, the low weight of metal is of great significance. Heavier roofing materials increase the chance of a roof caving in once the fire reaches the attic. In fact, with some heavy roofing materials such as clay and concrete tile, fire fighters will not even go inside to fight the fire due to the risk. A combustion resistant metal roof can bring great protection to your home and great peace of mind to you.

4 responses to “#3 – Fire Safety of Metal Roofing”

  1. Todd Miller says:

    Hmmm. That is odd. Not sure what happened to the rest of my response, nor what I was going to say. Firefighters are typically trained how to “open up” metal roofs if they need to vent the attic. That said, ultimately, aluminum roofs and roofs with lots of interlocks rather than mechanical seams are probably easiest to open up. A commonly used fire resistant underlayment is Versashield by GAF. There is also a product called Dens Deck that can be used, as well as some others. I am not sure what sort of light weight tiles you have heard about but if they are cement based, they are still heavier than asphalt shingles. Aluminum roofing weighs about 0.45 – 0.7 pounds per square foot. Steel weighs about 0.8 – 1 pound. Asphalt shingles weigh from 2.75 – 4.25. I hope this helps. Feel free, if you have more questions and it’s easier, to just email me at todd@asktoddmiller.com

  2. Robert says:

    Your comment was cut off after this phrase, “…essentially the same in that regard. I…”, could you post the rest? Can you also describe the fire resistant underlayment and give some specific products so I can research this. Do you happen to know which roofs (aluminum or steel) firefighters prefer? Finally, I have heard recently about light-weight roofing tiles Can you share about them and how they compare with metal roofs, especially aluminum?

  3. Todd Miller says:

    Thank you. This is a good question. The melting point of steel is considerably higher than that of aluminum — about 2500 degrees compared to about 1250 degrees. This means that both will resist small blowing brands until they self extinguish. And hotter fires would be attacking other areas of the home as well. However, through the use of fire resistant underlayment, aluminum roofs can pass the same fire tests as steel roofs. Additionally, in the event of an interior fire, having the fire be able to burn up and through the roof at a lower temperature can be beneficial rather than have the fire spread through the attic. Of course, again, if the fire resistant underlayment is in place, aluminum and steel will be essentially the same in that regard. I

  4. Robert says:

    Can you comment on the relative comparative advantages and disadvantages between aluminum, standard steel, stainless steel, and other more exotic metals for roofs relative to specifically fire. Someone I spoke with seemed to think steel was superior to steel in a fire because the aluminum will melt while the steel is still strong and resistant to the flames.

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About Todd

Todd's expertise comes from his years of experience in metal roofing manufacturing. As president of Isaiah Industries, based in Piqua Ohio, Todd runs a several of the world’s leading manufacturers of residential metal roofing; Classic Metal Roofing Systems, Kassel & Irons, and Green American Home. His personal goal is to educate homeowners of the long-life benefits of metal roofing.

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