AIA Blog - Metal Roofs Can Be A Fire Hazard For Your Home

Posted on 01.15.13 by Wendy Wygle

Metal roofs have become popular in rural areas because they last longer and are lighter than conventional roofing materials, but they may be a hazard if your house ever catches fire, according to reporter Al Vaughters.

Metal Roof

For example, firefighters in New York recently had some tense moments when they were on a roof they didn’t immediately realize was made of tin. Fire chief Steve Pacanowski explained that the home had a metal roof installed over layers of asphalt shingles, which held heat in, compounding problems for the firefighters.

Metal roofs create numerous problems for firefighters. They require special cutting tools to get through, and they can hide the location of the fire inside and its true intensity. “Walking on a metal roof could be the equivalent of walking on a built-up roof with ice on it. Because it is metal it tends to be a little slipperier. Our whole purpose for being up on the roof is to gain access, and release those super-heated gases, and that heat and flames, if that is what’s underneath, and get those out.”

Also, because the roofs are lighter, the supporting materials may also be lighter, which can cause the roof to fall down faster than most standard roofs. They may seem convenient for your home because of how long they can last, but metal roofs are terrible in less-than-ideal conditions. I would strongly reconsider if I was planning on getting one any time soon.

3 Responses to Metal Roofs Can Be A Fire Hazard For Your Home

  1. Mark G. says:

    Yes metal roofs last longer than conventional roofs and they are more expensive up front but over all they are cheaper for now. Your insurance company will give you a discount for having one now… but I predict in time it will actually cost you more to insure your home when the insurance companies finally realize the extra damage that comes to the inside of the house due to a metal roof traps the fire inside.

    Not to mention that they are very slick to walk on and are dangerous if someone has to get on it.

  2. Julie says:

    I disagree with the overall assessment. First of all, a metal roof should NEVER be installed over existing shingles. It should be installed over the plywood decking, just like any new roofing materials. Secondly, the roof should be built to code regardless of the exterior roofing material choice. Third, a metal roof can actually PREVENT a house from catching fire from falling embers from an external fire, such as all the wildfires we had in Oklahoma this past year.
    We had a metal roof on our log home and when we built at a new place, we definitely had a metal roof. Very glad we did it, too, when the firestorms were so close the past year.
    If you are going to publish a story like this, perhaps you should point out the GOOD & BAD points on each side. It makes you appear to be biased for your own profit.

  3. Wendy says:

    Thank you for your input Julie. We actually do metal roofs as well, so we did not post this with biased opinions. We just found some interesting facts (& issues firemen encounter!) with metal roofing. Like all roofing or any building materials for that matter, there are pros and cons to it all! We are new to blogging about our industry, so thank you for your feedback!

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