With the recent Waldo Canyon, and other Colorado wildfires I am asked what is the most fireproof roof? I also get questions about putting concrete tile on an existing roof.

In our area most shingles are a fiberglass/ asphalt composite. Most of these are rated as Class A fireproof. Class A is the best rating, these shingles are coated with a ceramic granule that not only increases their fireproof capabilities, it is what protects the shingles from UV damage and gives them the variations in color to make them look great on a home.

Some people still aren’t convinced and ask about concrete or clay tile for existing homes. There used to be a lite weight concrete tile available from most manufacturers, such as Monierlifetile, Westile and Eagle  however, for our area they have all been discontinued. They did not hold up well to our weather conditions. They may still be available in other parts of the country. The lite weight tile was 700-800 lbs per square. A roofing square is 100 sq ft. A standard weight tile is approximately 1000 lbs per square and a dimensional shingle weighs between 225- 240lbs per sq.

Most newer homes have the ability to handle standard weight tile but an engineering report will be required by the building department to prove it. In some cases minor alterations to the trusses might be required to increase their ability to handle the weight. The real issue is how the stucco and drywall will handle the shifting weight. Even if the trusses were designed to take the weight of tile, removing shingles and replacing it with tile causes a lot of movement in the roof and exterior wall structures. This movement does not cause structural damage, but might cause cracking in the stucco or drywall. This is an almost guaranteed occurence in a cathedral ceiling.

In new home construction the tile is always placed on the roof before the final stucco coat is applied, even it is not installed until later. This allows the structure to move with the weight of the tile before the stucco is applied to reduce possibility of  damage that might take place.

There are some great alternatives such as fired clay tile by US Tile which is lite weight and very durable or several varieties of stone coated metals which are extremely lite weight and very attractive such as Decra, these products can be more costly up front, but will out last many other products.

There are buildings in our area that have 100+ year old roofs that are fired clay tile that still look great.

Ultimately even with a Class A fire rating, logic tells us a clay, concrete or metal roof has to be more resistant to fire than an asphalt shingle. However if a fire gets close enough to really put this to the test, chances are other combustible materials in the home will create problems.

Cornerstone Roofing – Where integrity is the cornerstone of our business

Rory Huskin, owner 877-564-5470 serving all of Southern Colorado including Pueblo, Colorado City, Rye, La Junta, Trinidad, Canon City, Florence and many other cities. Please call our toll-free number for our office located nearest to you.