Time For A Change: If You Have A Wood Roof, Replace It With Something Else

Posted on: 8 February 2016

If you are looking for ways to remodel your old home, one way in particular can help save your home from fire. If the roof is older and made of wood, even pressure-treated wood, switch it out for a non-wood material such as metal, asphalt, tile, and so on. Wood can substantially increase the chances of your home catching fire, and switching to a non-wood roof is one of the best ways to douse those chances.

Shake and Shingle

Wood roofs consisting of shingle-like pieces are known as either shake roofs or shingle roofs (you'll often hear people talk about "shake shingle roofs" as if a "shake shingle" were a specific item, but these are not actual roof materials -- if you hear "shake shingle," interpret that as "shake or shingle"). Shakes and shingles are similar but have a few differences, construction-wise. However, they have a dangerous quality in common, and that is that they can fly off the roof in windy conditions during a fire and become firebrands.

Flying Fire

Firebrands are burning materials like embers that travel to a fuel source and ignite it. So, if a piece of a shake roof is burning and flies off, landing in some brush, that piece of shake roof is a firebrand. This is one of the key ways in which fires spread from structure to structure. Note that shakes and shingles can also be considered fuel for other firebrands.

Untreated, Treated, and Non-Wood

So-called treatments to spray on existing wood roofs don't make the roof safe enough to pass muster in fire zones. If you're remodeling and want to keep an older roof, you will have to replace the roof if it is made of untreated wood. You do often have the option to use pressure-treated, fire-resistant wood in some areas, and depending on how else you prepare your home against fire, you could have a lower chance of the roof catching fire. However, there are two other reasons to avoid wood completely and instead look at materials like metal.

Outright Bans

A report out of the University of Nevada Cooperative Extension notes that many areas ban all wood roofs even if made from pressure-treated wood. If your house has somehow escaped notice -- maybe you're out in the middle of nowhere -- don't take a chance on local authorities seeing it and fining you. Look at materials that won't burn for your next roof.

Test Results

Another reason to go with non-wood roofs is that even treated shakes and shingles can catch fire. The Los Angeles Fire Department conducted tests on pressure-treated, fire-retardant shakes and shingles and found that these still ignited. In other words, even if the risk was lower, there was still a risk.

Instead of continuing to have a risk like that attached to your home, have the roof completely replaced with another material. If you want to know which material might work best given your home's style, location, and other factors, talk to roofing companies that offer a range of options.

To learn more, contact a company like Surface Shield Protective Coatings