An asphalt roof protects your home for many years, but damage is always a possibility from trees, storms, and animals like rats and raccoons. One type of damage you might not think of too often is fire damage. A small fire in your home, a chimney fire, or flying embers from a brush fire can cause damage to your asphalt shingles. Here's a look at the type of damage a fire can cause and how repairs might be undertaken.
Heat And Flames Cause Shingle And Deck Damage
Your asphalt shingles can be damaged even if the fire isn't actually on your roof. If your neighbor's home is close enough and it's on fire, the heat from it can cause damage to your roof. For that reason, any time there is an intense fire close to your home, you should have your roof inspected for damage.
Of course, if the flames are coming from your own home, then your roof could sustain fire damage as well as heat damage. The degree of damage depends on the location and intensity of the fire. The entire roof might be destroyed from the rafters underneath to the shingles on top. Other times, the fire might be confined to a small area if it starts on top of the roof from an ember.
The first step is to have a roofer inspect the damage to determine the repairs that are needed. Walking on a damaged roof is dangerous, so you shouldn't climb up to inspect your roof if you think it has fire damage. Plus, if the damage is from heat and not flames, you may not know what to look for when assessing the damage.
Fire Damage Restoration May Require A New Roof
You'll want to involve your insurance company before you take action on roof repairs. The repairs you undertake might depend on the insurance company's decision on whether to replace or repair the roof after it's been inspected. Repairing fire damage is a lot like repairing other types of roof damage. The affected shingles and other roofing materials are removed so new materials can be applied. Melted or heat-damaged shingles will probably be removed as well (even if they aren't completely destroyed) because they'll be at a higher risk of leaking.
If the fire started inside your home and spread to the roof, you may be looking at extensive renovations that include rebuilding the attic before the roof is put on. A fire that started from a floating ember or the chimney may not have penetrated the roof if the fire was put out in time. In that case, tearing off damaged materials down to the decking might be all that's needed in a localized area. If your roof only has heat damage, repairs might just involve replacing the affected shingles.
A house fire is a traumatic event, even if the fire is small. You have to contend with fire, smoke, and water damage, and repairs need to be done in a timely manner. While your roof should be repaired as soon as possible, you might be able to buy some time by covering the damage with a roof tarp to keep out rain until your roof can be restored.