When it comes to roof maintenance, most property owners are rightfully concerned with preventing leaks and avoiding mold. However, there are other dangers and potential hazards to consider, such as how susceptible the roof is to fire. Fires on commercial roofs are rare, but when they do occur, the devastation can cause irreversible damage to the structure and grind the business to a halt. Fire can ruin the equipment housed in the building, but more importantly, fire can put the lives of customers, tenants, and employees at risk. Fortunately, property managers can lower the likelihood of fire by educating themselves on a few key points.
Did You Know? Implementing a maintenance contract with a commercial roofing company can ensure that any vulnerabilities are identified and fixed prior to a catastrophic event.
Fire Resistant Roofing Materials
Commercial buildings located in regions prone to wildfire are obviously more at risk of experiencing their roofs igniting, but storm-prone areas present a similar risk, as lightning strikes can also start a serious fire. Selecting a roof with fire-resistant roofing materials can be a lifesaver.
The potential combustibility of a roof is determined by four material categories, including Class A, Class B, Class C, and unrated.
- Class A roofs are made of the least combustible materials and should be able to withstand a severe fire without catching on fire.
- Class B roof structures can withstand a moderate amount of fire exposure.
- Class C roofing structures have the lowest roofing material rating and do not bear up well under a fire hazard.
- Unrated materials are roofing components that cannot pass the requirements for the lowest Class C rating. Unrated materials offer little to no fire resistance, and therefore most building codes won’t allow unrated materials to be used in construction.
Additional Maintenance Methods for Fire Prevention
- Repair Roof Damage as Quickly as Possible: Fire-resistant roofing materials work well to protect building structures against fire damage. However, roofs are still vulnerable to ignition if sections are damaged. When gaps and holes are present, it is impossible for the roof to offer the same level of protection as fire can make its way through damaged areas and cause the entire roof to be engulfed. Maintain the roof by fixing holes as soon as possible. Prioritize routine roof inspections and repairs to reduce the potential of roofing-related fire hazards.
- Fix Roof Leaks: Leaks cause a myriad of problems on roofing structures, but you may not consider a water leak to present a fire hazard. the fact is that water and electricity do not mix, and water intrusion into a junction box could expose live wires to water. When a live wire comes in contact with water, it can spark and ignite the materials around it.
- Clean Up Debris After Every Storm: Accumulated debris is one of the most common fire hazards, roof-related or not. Fire requires fuel to burn, which can include the debris lying on your commercial roof. The more debris on the roof, the higher the risk that fire could spread to the roof if stray embers from a nearby wildfire reach the building. Prevent fire damage by regularly clearing the roof of branches, leaves, garbage, and other debris.
- Properly Maintain Your Electrical System: Electrical wiring issues are often the cause of fire incidents, including any fires that originate on the roof. Contemporary buildings have diverse electrical installations like light fixtures, HVAC systems, and conduit pipes installed on the roof. Should any of these electrical systems malfunction, fire can result. Older buildings should ensure that the wiring is evaluated and inspected regularly to prevent defective wiring, overloaded circuits, or loose connections.
While the team at Unicoat Industrial Roofing are experts at extending the life of your roof by applying roof coatings, we are also uniquely qualified to identify any hazards that may exist on your roof structure. Don’t trust your roof repair and condition to just anyone – Unicoat Industrial Roofing has the reputation and experience you need.