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Why You Need to Choose Fire Retardant Wood Shakes

Fire Retardant Wood Shakes
Many homeowners love the look of natural wood shake shingles made from durable cedar, but they're less than pleased when they discover that most of these shingles don't meet current fire safety codes. Untreated wood is not a great addition to the top of a structure in any area, and it's even more of a risk when you live in a state known for its natural and manmade wildfires.

Yet there is a way to enjoy both a safe home and the beauty of wood shake shingles. Discover why fire retardant shake shingles are a must-have for your California home's roof.

Local Fire Risks

While annual wildfires were once thought of as a risk unique to Northern California, the last five years have seen dozens of fires popping up across the country to destroy homes and other properties. Even if you think you live in an area or neighborhood with extensive fire protection, your own home has to meet those standards as well or it could contribute to the spread of a fire.

Fire retardant wood shingles are available in multiple levels of fire resistance based on the installation method. Adding fire resistant features like an air gap under the shingles and proper underlayments can allow you to achieve the highest level of fire safety for little additional installation cost.

Low Color Treatments

You don't need to commit to a completely different look for your cedar shakes just to enjoy fire resistance, either. While some of the retardants used on wood shingles give the finished piece a slightly browner look, other products are nearly completely clear once cured.

These chemicals also age out to a natural gray color as the shingles ages, making it impossible to tell the treatment was ever applied. In fact, you should keep the paperwork from your initial installation to help with any future sales since there's no specific way for a home inspector to verify if you have treated or untreated wood shingles.

Class A Code Requirements

Many counties in California and other states with high fire risks are changing their building codes to require far higher fire resistance for roofs in particular. This is because a majority of house fires start and spread because of coals and sparks landing on the roof and burning their way in.

Class A is the highest possible fire resistance rating for a roof, and it requires both Class A rated wood shingles and a matching installation process. It is not enough just to install Class A shingles over regular wood decking and expect to pass the building inspection, so it's good to hire a roofer experienced with these advanced fire safety codes.

Long Lifespans

Extensive testing has shown that pressure treated wood shake shingles last just as long as untreated or sealed shingles. There's no need to choose between longevity and fire safety. Painting also does not interfere with the fire resistance of the shingles, but you will need to contact the manufacturer to find out which types of paint will properly bond with the chemically treated wood surface.

Classic Beauty

Finally, you can't beat the true beauty and transformation that genuine cedar shingles provide. Even treated shingles change colors naturally and develop that natural look that composite and asphalt shingles can only mimic. For many people, it's the only way to make a classic cabin or high end luxury home look complete.

Call us today to make sure your wood shingle roof is living up to the current safety standard. If we here at Cal Roofing Systems Inc. determine you're at risk, we can help you install a brand new Class A roof with either fire-retardant wood shingles or another material of your choice.