If you are getting a new roof, you may want to invest in tile—like terra-cotta. Tile roofs are beautiful, eco-friendly, and durable. If you live in an area that's prone to wildfire, they are a great choice. However, these roofs are fire resistant, not fireproof.
With all of the wildfires ravaging states like California, ABC News says that homeowners need to buckle down on roof maintenance, since it's one of the most vulnerable areas of the home. Here are three ways to make durable tile even stronger.
Inspect Interlocking Sections During Hot Weather
While terra-cotta itself is resistant to fire, the roof underlayment may be more vulnerable. Terra-cotta tiles are traditionally laid in interlocking sections—like you would see on Spanish-style homes. If these sections become loose, then small embers can penetrate the underlayment. Sections can become loose due to things like earthquakes, extreme variations in temperature, or old age. You should have a roofing professional regularly inspect the tiles and replace any that do not fit snugly together.
Improve the Roof's Fire Rating
Some roofs are unrated, meaning they are made with little or no fire-retarding materials. A rated roof is one that uses fire-resistant materials, such as a Class A, Class B, or Class C roof. These classes are based on standardized testing within the roofing industry, as well as building codes. If you live in an area with lots of wildfires, it's imperative that you upgrade to a Class A rating.
Many terra-cotta roofs fall into Class A, but it's better to be safe than sorry; have a professional specializing in tile roofing services inspect the fire rating and make improvements. For instance, he or she could add more mono-ammonium phosphate to any plastic, paper, or wood materials under the tile. Mono-ammonium phosphate, or ABC dry chemical, is a compound that is often used in fire extinguishers.
Clean the Gutters Out
As long as you have a ladder and a friend to hold it steady, you can clean out your gutters easily by hand. Your shingles may be made of terra-cotta, but your gutter system is likely made of a less fire-resistant material.
Shingles can fill up with twigs and leaves, which lose moisture as they dry in the sun. As the debris dries out, it's required ignition temperature lowers. In other words, it's easy for dry leaves to catch fire. If you don't like the idea of continually cleaning the gutters, consider adding a grate or shield so that you can sweep the shingles or spray them with a low-power pressure washer.
Keep all of these ideas in mind and you'll be able to better withstand wildfire season.