METAL ROOF HELPS PROTECT HOME FROM WILDFIRE
Story & Photos By Drexel Metals
According to the United States Forest Service, increased heat, shifting rain and snow patterns and other climate-related changes over the past few decades have made wildfires bigger and more intense. These changes have also nearly doubled the length of wildfire season. What was once a summer phenomenon has inched into the winter months.
In December 2021, the residents of the greater Boulder, Colorado, area experienced just how damaging these winter fires can be. The fire prompted the evacuation of 35,000 people, consumed over 1,100 homes and businesses, and burned thousands of acres of land and property. But for the Eldridge family, the property damage caused by the fire was minimal due in part to their home’s metal roofing system from Drexel Metals.
The facts before and during the fire
The Eldridge family originally chose the metal roofing system from Drexel Metals because it provided exemplary hail and wind protection. Completed in April 2021, the roof of the Eldridge home is comprised of 24-gauge, 16-inch-wide Galvalume® steel panels. The metal system is finished with a high-performance Sherwin-Williams PVDF coating in Drexel’s standard Classic Bronze and roll-formed to the DMC150SS profile. This color and profile lent striking sightlines to the 6,970 square foot roof.
Before the fire, the roof helped the family live sustainably by providing a cool roof rating to help offset heating and cooling energy loads. The roof had also been fitted with solar panels, per Boulder County requirements of new builds. Using Drexel’s approved solar attachment, the solar panels attached to the top of Drexel metal roofing’s standing seams, eliminating the need for penetrating the Eldridge’s new metal roof.
In addition to hail and wind, the Eldridge family soon found out the metal roofing system also helped to protect their home from wildfires. Less than a year after completion, the home faced the 2021 wildfire Colorado Governor Jared Polis called “absolutely devastating.” When it tore through the Eldridge’s neighborhood, high winds fanned its flames, intensifying its heat. Further, the fire caused a large propane tank to explode near the home, showering the area with flames, ash, and destructive shrapnel.
Providing defense for
the home and the neighborhood
Despite the destructive nature of the fire and the explosion it caused, the Eldridge home remained standing because the Drexel metal roofing system worked with the home’s fiber cement siding to provide critical fire protection. The contractor and insurance agency handling the case said the physical damages were limited to the fencing, decking, windows, insulation, and compromised roofing panels. These replacements are much less costly than a complete rebuild, which might have been the case had the Eldridge family left a 6,970 square foot hole in their home’s armor by not purchasing a fire-resistant metal roofing system. The home’s interior and the family’s belongings only experienced smoke damage.
The metal roofing system and fiber cement siding also did more than protect the Eldridge’s home. These systems seem to have provided critical defense for the area that surrounds it. By not bursting into flames itself, the home reduced the amount of potential fuel for the fire. Neighbors and those near to the Eldridge home also claim the roof shielded the homes behind it from the flames, heat, and propane tank shrapnel. The claim that the house acted as a fire break seems to be supported by the trail of destruction the fire left behind, which promptly stops at the Eldridge home.
Many solutions in one system
The Eldridge family could not have known that a fire said to be able to consume football field lengths of land in seconds would devastate their neighborhood less than a year after their home was completed. However, that is exactly what happened.
The DMC150SS Prefinished Galvalume panels helped provide critical protection from the wildfire for the home and possibly the neighborhood. Though it was originally chosen to protect the home from wind and hail and to elevate the design aesthetics of the house, the metal roofing system worked with the home’s fiber cement siding so the home could endure the heat with minimal damage.
Location: Boulder, Colorado
Completion: April 2021
Substrate/Profile: DMC150ss seamed 90 degrees
in 24 gauge 16” wide Galvalume panels
Finish: Sherwin-Williams PVDF, Classic Bronze
Contractor: Dean / Dalton Smith Front Range Seamless