Why Are So Few Westerners Embracing Metal Roofs To Resist Wildfire?

wildfire house photoDespite well documented evidence that metal roofs save homes, West Coasters lag in market penetration.

PORTLAND, Ore.—With increasing threats of wildfire, homeowners, builders and remodelers in the western U.S. in particular need to take steps to make their homes more defensible.

That includes incorporating ignition-resistant building materials such as metal roofing as part of home renovation and improvement plans. Yet even with the increasing threat of wildfires, homeowners on the West Coast have been slower to make the metal roofing switch. The latest 2018 consumer research from the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) shows that while metal roofing demand is rising overall, especially in areas like the south and southeastern U.S., less than 20 percent of western homeowners are likely to consider a metal roof replacement, among the lowest in the country.

To help protect homes in wildfire-prone areas, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommends that if a roof is covered with wood or asphalt shingles, homeowners consider replacing it with a fire-resistant material, such as metal. That’s because metal roofing has a Class A fire rating, the highest available. Class A roofing must be able to withstand flames up to four hours and resist tests using 15 cycles of gas flame turned on and off.

The fact that more homeowners in the west haven’t yet adopted more fire-resistant materials is surprising, says Renee Ramey, MRA executive director.

“Homeowners in hurricane-prone areas understand and are quite familiar with durability, strength and exceptional wind resistance benefits that metal roofs offers,” said Ramey. “It’s time for homeowners in the west and in Canada to also realize that metal roofing can help protect their homes against extreme conditions particular to their regions, including dangers like wildfires.”

More areas in the western U.S. and Canada are vulnerable to wildfire, and last year’s devastation demonstrates how quickly the problem can spread, even to areas that were previously considered safe. Flying embers from a wildfire can destroy a home up to a mile away and a roof is one of the most vulnerable areas. Yet a 2016 study by the U.S. Forest Service entitled “Recovery and Adaptation after Wildfire on the Colorado Front Range” shows that local communities and homeowners are still woefully unprepared when it comes to adapting to future threats, even after wildfires strike.

Given that wildfire season is already underway in many areas, and it is the peak season for seasonal home improvement and renovation projects, Ramey says incorporating improvements that will make their home more defensible and wildfire resistant should be top of mind for homeowners.

“Choosing home improvement products that look great, perform well and are made to last are always top priorities for homeowners,” said Ramey. “Now they also need to consider how to better protect their home against growing regional threats and extreme climate conditions. Thankfully, there are materials like metal roofing available that check all the boxes.”

About Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA)

Representing metal roofing manufacturers in the United States and Canada, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) was formed to help educate consumers about the many benefits of metal roofs. The main objective of MRA is to increase awareness of the beauty, durability and money-saving advantages of quality metal roofs among homeowners, as well as to provide support for metal roofing businesses and contractors. For more information, visit MRA.

Photo by jeans_Photos