A house fire is often a sweeping disaster that not only causes thousands of dollars in damage but also exposes the residents to life-threatening situations. While it is no secret that a fire is ferocious and can put the structural stability of a house at risk, there are a lot of steps you can take in order to reduce the impact of fire- and smoke-related damage on your residential property.

In this article, Kingdom Restoration, a top-rated provider of roof restoration and bathroom remodeling services in the area, takes a close look at the common causes of house fires, various ways a fire can affect a roof, especially asphalt shingles, tips to minimize the scope of fire damage to your roof and steps to take after a fire event at home.

How to Reduce the Risk of Fire Damage to Your Roof

Common Causes of House Fires

A house fire can occur for many reasons. Here are some of the most common causes of house fires in the U.S.

  • Cooking is the main starting point for most residential fires. In fact, fire departments responded to approximately 1,600 cooking-related fires on Thanksgiving in 2017, and about 44% of house fires materialize in the kitchen or cooking area. Spills, open flames and leaving the stove unattended while in use usually start kitchen fires.

  • Your heating equipment is also a fire hazard. In 2018, around 36,000 house fires caused by heating equipment or heating sources—space heaters and fireplaces, in particular—were reported. Items that are combustible or easily catch fire should not be placed anywhere near a space heater.

  • Faulty wiring is another common cause of fires in homes. Look out for blown fuses, blinking lights, lights that faint when you use appliances and sparks from electrical outlets and let a home innovations company fix these problems for you.

  • A house fire can spark up from smoking materials such as a lit cigarette or a lighter. You can reduce the risk of a house fire by opting to smoke outside of your home where most things will not catch fire quickly.

  • defective appliance can also cause a spark and eventually ignite a fire. However, leaving appliances unattended and using appliances incorrectly can also cause fires in homes.

How a Fire Affects a Roof

When it comes to residential roofs, particularly asphalt shingles, smoke and heat from a fire is nothing but bad, bad news. GAF, a premier manufacturer of asphalt shingles, recommends a close inspection of asphalt shingles if there is a fire, whether from your kitchen, a forest or a factory near your home.

Watch out for various telltale signs that indicate when a roof should be tossed out and replaced with a brand-new one after prolonged exposure to a fire.

  • Asphalt has melted or is runny.

  • The top coating of the shingle is distorted or warped.

  • There is blistering due to intense heat or burning embers.

  • Shingles are scorched or slightly burnt.

While most fire-related damage to the roof will be visible to the eye, it is still best to schedule a follow-up inspection with a home innovations contractor after a few weeks to ensure deterioration did not take place later. Moreover, once asphalt shingles are compromised, there can also be damage to the underlying materials such as the decking and substrate.

How to Reduce the Impact of Fire Damage to Your Roof

A fire is one of the most harmful disasters that your residential property can face. Make sure to take the following preventive measures to minimize the fire- and smoke-related damage to your roof.

  1. Keep your roof clean. Do not let dirt and debris accumulate on your roof. While the removal of debris is often associated with the prevention of impeding the flow of water off the roof, it is also incredibly helpful when it comes to minimizing the risk of fires. If fallen leaves and tree branches, for example, catch fire, they can burn for an extended period of time, allowing the heat to affect the roofing materials. Be sure to regularly clean debris off your roof, especially after storm events.

  2. Keep your chimney clean. In addition to removing debris on your roof, it is also essential to get your chimney cleaned and inspected once a year by a qualified roof and window installation company. When you burn a fire in your fireplace, soot, a black, powdery substance, and creosote, a thick and oily residue, build up inside the chimney. These materials can easily ignite and send sparks onto the roof. It is best to clean your chimney before the cold, freezing winter season rolls in.

  3. Keep your electrical system in good condition. Issues with electrical wiring and connections may result in fires in the attic or roof. For instance, when the conduit or light fixtures that are installed close to the roof malfunction, it may result in fire damage. If you live in an older house, get your electrical system inspected every three to five years. Breakers that are tripping too frequently and lights flickering out of nowhere are indications that something is wrong with your system.

  4. Install a lightning arrester. Although lightning strikes are an extremely unlikely threat, they can start a fire even on the best roofs. You can prevent this type of fire by installing a lightning arrester, a device made of brass or copper, as part of a lightning protection system in your home, which aims to provide a path to the ground for the lightning current to flow.

  5. Patch up cracks or holes on the roof. Even with fire-resistant roofing material, your roof still can catch fire if certain sections of the roof have sustained damage. For example, missing shingles or loose flashing may allow heat to reach the unprotected interior structures of the roof. According to a window installation expert, holes, cracks or gaps on the roof that normally allow water to leak in also allow the fire to spread, so make sure to patch up those openings.

What to Do After a House Fire

Here is a checklist of steps to take after a house fire that will help kickstart your road to recovery.

  1. Check with your family. Make sure everyone in the house is safe and then let other family members or officials know what happened.

  2. Document the scope of the damage. This is to support your insurance claim. Also, do not forget to acquire a copy of the fire report from the fire department as it can be helpful in building your case with the insurance company. After, get in touch with restoration companies that offer fire restoration and smoke damage repair services.

  3. Organize your possessions. Separate your damaged belongings from undamaged items so it is easier to make a list of fire-damaged possessions when filing the claim. However, you may find that household items like beddings, carpets, or curtains that the fire did not directly touch may be affected by smoke or soot. You will need to have those items professionally cleaned.

  4. Find somewhere to stay. You may want to contact local disaster relief services, your family, or close friends who can help you find a safe place to stay while your house is being restored.

Let Kingdom Restoration Handle All Your Exterior Restoration Needs

Breathe new life into your home with high-quality exterior service with Kingdom Restoration. Our experienced team of professionals offers a wide range of solutions, including fire-damaged roof restoration, window installation, bathroom remodeling, deck construction and more. With keen attention to detail and outstanding work ethic, we will deliver the comfort and satisfaction that you deserve. Call us at (941) 263-8715 or fill out our contact form to request a free, no-obligation quote. We work with homeowners in all of South Florida.