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Introduction to Roof Covering
When considering wildfires, your roof is arguably the most vulnerable part of your home. It represents a relatively large horizontal surface where embers can land. If your roof covering is made from combustible materials, or debris has accumulated at certain locations, the embers can ignite these materials. While your home may only be subjected to the flaming front of the wildfire for a few minutes, your roof (and the rest of your house) can be subjected to wind-blown burning embers for a much longer period of time, as the wildfire approaches and burns through the area where you live.
How well your roof performs during a wildfire will depend on a number of factors, including:
- The roofing material used and its fire rating.
- The age and condition of your roof.
- Edge-of-roof issues.
- The complexity of your roof (that is, how many levels and wall/roof intersections you have, and how much debris can collect there).
- Gutters and other edge-of-roof factors.
- Vents and other penetrations in your roof (link to Vents section).
Every thirty years or so, you will have the opportunity to select a new roof covering. In the meantime, one of the most important jobs you have is inspecting your home and near-home vegetation, and performing needed maintenance. The standard tests to determine fire performance are conducted on new covering materials (the exception being fire retardant treated shakes that must also be evaluated after natural weathering). An older roof may not perform as well as a fire-resistant membrane. It will be up to you to make sure your roof covering is inspected and maintained, and replaced when needed.
When new, this asphalt composition roof covering has a Class A rating. The older and weathered roof may not provide the same protection from wildfire, and may also be more vulnerable to water leaks.