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Posted by McElroy Metal ● Apr 30, 2024 8:00 AM

How Do Metal Roofs Withstand Fire and Other Harsh Conditions?

How Do Metal Roofs Withstand Fire and Other Harsh Conditions?

When choosing roofing, there are many advantages to opting for a metal installation. Long-lasting and requiring lower maintenance than other options, metal roofing offers clear benefits for properties of all kinds.

One key thing to consider with any roof, though, is the environment itself. Areas where conditions can be extremely harsh, whether that is a result of the local climate, the presence of fire risks, or other potentially harmful conditions, require roofing that copes with those requirements.

Metal roofing is highly robust, but what happens when exposed to harsh conditions, and is it the best option in these scenarios?


Managing Fire Damage

Metal roofs are not fireproof, as they will not completely stop a fire from penetrating through them. However, they remain one of the best options for properties at risk from fire or extreme heat.

A metal roof is fire resistant rather than fireproof, which delivers some significant benefits to your property. Because metal is noncombustible, it doesn’t burn, so if the worst happens, it will not contribute to spreading the fire, which other flammable materials can do.

In areas vulnerable to wildfires, embers blown in the wind can catch on a roof, setting flammable roofing material such as asphalt ablaze. A metal roof eliminates this risk, but metal has other advantages.

Metal roofs are resistant to mold and rotting, which may also be a fire hazard since the organic material is combustible.

In some cases, metal roofs are coated with fire-resistant material or paints that provide an additional layer of protection. In the case of a property fire, it can compromise the structural integrity of a roof, causing additional danger to occupants. A metal roof retains its strength, protecting those inside until they can evacuate in a fire incident.

Preventing Fire Damage

A photo from the Hawaii fires generated a lot of interest because a home with a metal roof withstood the flames. This quote is from an article on Yahoo about this house.

“It appears these modifications had the effect, however unintended, of making the home more resilient to flames.”

“When this was all happening, there were pieces of wood — 6, 12 inches long — that were on fire and just almost floating through the air with the wind and everything,” Atwater Millikin said. “They would hit people’s roofs, and if it was an asphalt roof, it would catch on fire. And otherwise, they would fall off the roof and then ignite the foliage around the house.”

“Roofs are the No. 1 factor that contribute to the flammability of a home because they can serve as large landing pads for embers”, said Susie Kocher, forestry advisor for the University of California Cooperative Extension, who co-authored, A Guide on How to Harden Your Homes Against Wildfire.

Dealing with Harsh Conditions

While a fire is the most extreme example of heat-related conditions, metal roofing deals with hot temperatures better than other roofing options. Metal roofing reflects, rather than absorbs, energy from the sun, keeping the interior of the building cooler than some other roofing choices.

However, metal roofing excels not just in dealing with heat; in fact, it is one of the best choices for roofing in a range of harsh conditions.

Properties by the coast can be desirable. However, they do come with some challenges. Salt spray and ocean air can be corrosive, wearing the exterior of properties very quickly and causing damage through corrosion.

Metal roofing can be manufactured from marine-grade aluminum or products such as Coastalume™, which resist corrosion and offer decades of life even in these challenging conditions.

Is Metal Roofing the Right Choice?

Metal roofing offers exceptional performance in harsh conditions. With the right choice of materials, it can withstand extreme weather and environmental challenges where other roof types would struggle or have a dramatically reduced lifespan.

While metal roofing has a higher initial cost than an asphalt roof, its additional longevity, robust construction, low repair costs, energy savings, and ability to protect the property for decades make it a better value. We did the ROI calculations in this detailed analysis of metal roof cost compared to shingles.

In harsh environments where other options are likely to fail much more quickly, metal roofing is an even better choice for long-term value and performance.

Overall, for properties exposed to harsh or extreme weather and situations with risks of harsh conditions, a metal roof offers something that other choices cannot. A metal roof is perfect for preventing moisture ingress and resisting high winds, impacts, and fire.

With options for high-strength, impact-resistant metal roofing, dedicated marine aluminum roofing, and more, wherever a property is located, there is a metal roofing solution to meet the demands of its environment.

Learn everything you need to know about Residential Metal Roofing. Check out our metal roofing resources for inspiration and answers to your questions.

About McElroy Metal

Since 1963, McElroy Metal has served the construction industry with quality products and excellent customer service. The employee-owned components manufacturer is headquartered in Bossier City, La., and has 14 manufacturing facilities across the United States. Quality, service and performance have been the cornerstone of McElroy Metal’s business philosophy and have contributed to the success of the company through the years. As a preferred service provider, these values will continue to be at the forefront of McElroy Metal’s model along with a strong focus on the customer.

Topics: Metal Roofing, FAQ

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