General Contractors and All They Do

3 Things To Know About Fire Ratings For Your New Roofing Project

Roofing is as critical to commercial structures as it is for residential structures. In fact, the low-slope roofs common on commercial structures arguably make your roofing choices far more crucial to your building's long-term reliability and maintenance needs. Since commercial roofs can't rely on steep slopes for water and snow runoff, it's necessary to consider your building's needs carefully.

However, the weather isn't the only threat your roof may face. Fire can be a hazard anywhere, even in locations that don't typically experience wildfires. Fire resistance should be an essential consideration when choosing a roof for your commercial structure. These three tips will help you understand what you need to know about roofing material fire ratings.

1. Understand Stand-Alone vs. By-Assembly Ratings

Roofing materials broadly fall into three rating classes (and a fourth unrated category), but these don't tell the entire story. While some materials provide natural (or "stand-alone") fire resistance, others only achieve their proper rating with correct installation. For example, some materials require an underlayment or chemical treatment to meet the appropriate fire rating classification.

By-assembly roofing materials will provide fire ratings for their given classification, but it's essential to work with an experienced contractor when installing these materials. Since these options only achieve their full fire rating when installed correctly, you should always work with a contractor with experience with your chosen roof covering.

2. Know How Fire Ratings Vary

Class A, B, and C ratings provide a fairly accurate assessment of a roofing material's fire resistance, but it's important to understand testing methodologies and the meaning behind each rating. These classifications tell you whether a material is flammable, how far you can expect flames to spread, and how well each material stands up to varying levels of fire exposure.

Note that all three classifications indicate that the material will not easily spread fire, but only Class A-rated materials are entirely resistant to spread. Likewise, Class A materials can stand up to the most intense flame exposure, making these roofing options the best choice for locations where wildfires or other fire hazards exist.

3. Pay Attention to Local Codes

Local building codes nearly always require rated materials for commercial buildings, but other requirements may vary. In many cases, fire rating requirements may also depend on the purpose of your structure, its location, and other factors unique to your construction. While Class A materials should generally meet any code requirements, Class B or C materials may not.

If you're planning a new commercial structure, you must work with your contractor and other experts (as well as your insurance company) to ensure your building's roof meets all local fire requirements.

To learn more, contact a commercial roofing installation service in your area.