Residential Metal Roofing Executive Report Marketing, Lead Generation, In-Home Sales, Installation, Referral Maximization

Fire Resistance

Issue #21 | January 28, 2015 | Seth Heckaman

I hope this finds you well!

I am the Sales Manager here at Isaiah Industries and Todd has allowed me to join in this discussion on selling the key benefits of metal roofing. I have learned much as Todd has passed along many of your responses to these reports where you share your own thoughts and best practices. I am anxious to continue our discussion and learning from all of you.

Now, let’s continue our series on selling the benefits of residential metal roofing. In past issues, we have covered wind resistance, durability, beauty, and low weight. We will now discuss how metal is one of the few truly fire resistant roofing materials available.

The fire resistance of roofing is obviously a top-of-mind issue for homeowners around the country who live in areas prone to devastating wildfires. Each year, families in the western United States have wind-blown embers from wildfires set fire to their homes, most often landing on their roof. I talked with a park ranger in Idaho this week who is looking at alternative roofing materials for their park structures and forest lookouts. Most of their structures are currently roofed with wood shakes and they spent two months of last year continually dousing the roofs with water in protection against a wildfire raging three hundred yards away.

Homeowners not living in areas prone to wildfires rarely consider fire resistance when weighing their re-roofing options. We must begin by educating them that, with traditional roofing materials, their home is only as fire resistant as their neighbors. There are countless stories of house fires igniting the homes of their neighbors, again due to wind-blown embers. Entire neighborhoods have been destroyed where the predominant roofing material was wood shakes – essentially a tinderbox on the roof.

In the Isaiah Industries in-home presentation, we begin by establishing a homeowner’s criteria for choosing their next roof; providing them metrics they never even considered when evaluating roofing materials. We educate them on the dangers of wind blown embers and confirm that fire resistant options do exist. We must first insert fire resistance into their re-roofing equation.

Later in the presentation, we revisit this criterion and discuss how metal roofing is one of the few roofing materials that are truly fire resistant. Asphalt shingles and wood shakes may be engineered or treated to be somewhat fire resistant when first installed, but as these roofs dry out and age, they become more and more vulnerable. It only takes one ember from a nearby wildfire, house fire, or even a tree struck by lightning, and the roof is ignited. Metal, slate, and tile are the only roofing materials that are 100% non-combustible over the entire life of the roof.

When comparing truly fire resistant roofing materials, we return to our discussion on weight. With metal weighing only 40 – 90 lbs. per square, versus slate and tile weighing 1000 – 1400 lbs. per square, it is the only fire resistant option available for most homeowners. Firefighters have actually been instructed not to enter homes with tile roofs: as the home’s structure is compromised, the weight of the roof becomes too much to bear, and the roof collapses.

In areas of the country prone to wildfires or where wood shakes are prevalent, a homeowner might discover they can save on their home insurance premiums by switching to a fire resistant roof. I am always hesitant to mention potential insurance savings during a presentation in fear the homeowners will want to check with their representatives to see what savings are available, thus delaying their decision making process. But this could be worthwhile to mention if you research your area and find the savings are significant.

Over the years, the Metal Roofing Alliance has collected some stunning photos of homes with metal roofs that have survived wildfires while the surrounding homes and foliage have been completely destroyed. Please contact me if these photos would be of value and you will like to learn how to utilize them in your own marketing materials.

Thank you for allowing me to join you in these discussions. The fire resistance of roofing is not often thought of in most areas of the country, but if presented properly, is another powerful benefit of metal. I look forward to hearing from you and learning your thoughts and methods. If you would like to discuss further, are interested in either of the upcoming training events, or any of us here at Isaiah Industries could be of service, please do not hesitate to reach out at or 800-543-8938 x241.

todd Miller

has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.

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