Protective Coatings & Treatments for Fire Rating for Wood Shingle & Wood Shake Roofs - Getting from No-Rating to B-Rating to Class A Fire Rating
Types of Wood Shingle/Shake Roof Treatments Available
As we mention in our outline of roofing materials and their properties found at ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR, wood shingle roofs, if treated with a fire retardant, are fire rated B.
Un-treated wood roof shingles have no fire rating and are not permitted by code in some areas. A class A fire rated wood shingle roof can be installed using special procedures and materials that include plywood and gypsum board.
NRCA's David Flickinger explained in 1999 in Professional Roofing, that treatments are available for wood shingles and wood shakes on building roofs to preserve the wood from rot and to increase its fire resistance. For new wood shingles, a pressure treatment impregnates the shingles with a wood preservative (in the 1990's CCA or chromated copper arsenate) or a fire retardant.
[Click to enlarge any image]
When shingles are treated with a fire retardant they are then heated to complete that treatment procedure.
Typical spray or brush-on wood roof treatments are also available to treat wood shingles or shakes that have already been installed on a building.
According to Flickinger, the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau (CSSB) recommends that cedar roofing products used in locations with high decay potential should be treated with a preservative.
A U.S. map provided by the Forest Products Laboratory (above-left) indicates that the southeastern quadrant of the U.S., but extending north into West Virgina and parts of eastern Kentucky and Tennessee make up this area of high decay hazard (the dark colored area on the map) based on the FPL climate index.
Questions About the Durability of Fire Retardants & Preservatives for Wood Roofs
According to the NRCA both of the wood roof processes described above, when wood roofing shingles or shakes are treated under pressure, before installation on the roof, are considered "permanent", that is, the treatment should last for the life of the wood shingle.
For existing wood shingle roofs, treatment might be applied using a topical spray or brush-on of preservatives. These treatments are not permanent and need to be performed periodically depending on the geographic locale of the roof
Where premium red or white
cedar is too expensive for a particular roofing job, wood roof buyers should consider pressure-treated southern
yellow pine shakes and shingles. In its favor, yellow pine
is a tougher and stronger wood, and although not as pretty
as red cedar when new, over time they will both weather to
a similar silver gray.
Because penetration of the treatment on pine roofing shingles
is nearly 100%, pressure-treated pine shingles carry guarantees
against decay for up to 50 years, making them well suited
to high-moisture environments, shallow slopes, and
shady wooded sites where organic matter may collect on
the roof. The preservatives should not leach out over time.
One drawback to yellow pine shingles and shakes is
that many are flat-grained, so most come pretreated with a
water repellent to help them resist cupping and splitting.
However, retreatment with a water repellent at some point
may be required for optimal performance. Western red
cedar shingles are also available pressure-treated for
severe applications where standard cedar shingles are
prone to decay.
A bit before Flickinger's 1999 article, in 1995 in his article on Choosing Roofing, Jefferson Kolle questioned the durability of wood shingle fire retardant treatments. Kolle suggested that rain tends to draw the fire retardant to the shingle surface where it is washed away over time.
The same article however, quoted Don Meucci from the Cedar Single & Shake Bureau who said that tests performed on fire-retardant-treated wood shingles from a 16-year old roof passed the current fire resistance tests of that time. Nonetheless, some communities where fire risk is particularly high (Los Angeles California, Newcastle, New Hampshire) have banned the use of wood roofs regardless of their treatment.
For added details about proper wood shingle or wood shake roof installation, perhaps the most authoritative source of wood shingle and wood shake information is from the Western Red Cedar Shingle & Shake Bureau (now the Cedar and Shake Shingle Bureau, since not only western red cedar is used for roof shingles).
Sources of Wood Roof Fire Retardant Coatings - where to buy
Fire Retardants Inc., 123 Columbia Court North, Suite 201, Chaska MN 55318, Tel: 800-913-9385, email: email@example.com, Website: www.fireretardantsinc.com
The company produces Burn Barrier No. 10 Shingle Treatment, Clear, Fire Retardant solvent-based wood roof coating, fire hazard hazard classifcation Class "B"
Carboline Fire Protective Coatings, Carboline Company
2150 Schuetz Road
St. Louis, MO 63146
Phone: 1-314-644-1000, Tel: 800-848-4645 website: www.carboline.com
Flame Safe Wood Products, Flame Safe Chemical Corporation and Flame Safe Wood Products, Inc.
2653 Warfield Avenue, Fort Worth, Texas 76107 Phone: 817-740-9197 Toll Free: 1-800-333-9197, website: www.flame-safe.com/
Contact us to add product listings, no fees, no conflicts of interest are involved
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how to see if wood shingles are fire resistant
(Mar 25, 2012) Ona Hester said:
I need to know how to see if wood shingles are fire resistant
Ona, if you do not have a record of who installed the roof, what product was used, nor a copy of documents describing the product, what's left is to send a sample to a shingle testing lab, asking for the appropriate ASTM test to be performed. The code requirement for treated shingles varies by geographic area, so you might start there.
Question: Is there a wood shingle treatment that provides both fire retardant and preservative?
(July 20, 2012) Bill Schubert said:
Is there a wood shingle treatment that provides both fire retardant and preservative?
Bill, thanks, you ask an important question.
Wood shingle fire retardants (e.g. see FireRetardantsinc [dot] com Tel: 800-913-9385) are expected to be applied over new, un-treated wood shingles or shakes, and to be re-applied every few years to preserve their protection. I infer that if someone has already treated a wood roof with a preservative that imparts any water resistance to the wood shingle surface, the fire retardant treatment won't be effective as it won't soak into the wood as expected.
I pose that the fire retardant is also preservative, but I agree that the chemistry will vary. I've asked the experts to take a look at this Q&A and to comment further
(Oct 22, 2014) Joel said:
I have a 35 year-old wood shake roof, which was put over a now 55 year-old wood shingle roof.
Is there any (liquid) waterproofing material that can be sprayed (or brushed) over the outer wood-shake roof, to make it more leak proof? Is there any other way to make this roof more leak-resistent? (How the roof "looks" after this additional waterproofing is done is not important. I am located in Southern California.
There are companies selling elastomeric roof coatings purporting to seal roof leaks. I would not attempt that repair on a wood shingle roof without discussing the process with the coating manufacturer.
Ask a Question or Search InspectApedia
Questions & answers or comments about preservative coatings & fire resistive coatings used on wood shingle roofs.
Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
 Thanks to Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, for assistance in technical review of the "Critical Defects"
section and for the photograph of the deteriorating gray Owens Corning flex duct in a hot attic. Mr. Cramer is a Florida home inspector and
home inspection educator.
 "Choosing Roofing," Jefferson Kolle, January 1995, No. 92, Fine Homebuilding, Taunton Press, 63 S. Main St., PO Box 5506, Newton CT 06470 - 800-888-8286 - see http://www.taunton.com/FineHomebuilding/ for the magazine's website and for subscription information.
Problems in Roofing Design, B. Harrison McCampbell, Butterworth Heineman, 1991 ISBN 0-7506-9162-X (available used)
 The Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau in the U.S.: Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau, P.O. Box 1178
Sumas, WA 98295-1178, or in Canada: Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau, #2 - 7101 Horne Street
Mission, BC V2V 7A2, 604-820-7700 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. The association can also be contacted by their website, cedarbureau.org where CCSB offers wood shingle installation instructions in the form of a manual - cedarbureau.org/installation/wall_manual/introduction.htm
 Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau, CSSB, U.S.: Sumas, WA 98295-1178, Tel: 604-820-7700, In Canada:
Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau #2 - 7101 Horne Street, Mission, BC V2V 7A2 Tel: (604) 820-7700, E-mail: email@example.com , website: http://www.cedarbureau.org/
CCSB offers wood shingle installation instructions in the form of a manual - cedarbureau.org/installation/wall_manual/introduction.htm
 Forest Products Laboratory, US FPL, One Gifford Pinchot Drive, Madison, WI 53726, Tel: (608) 231-9200, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, website: http://www.fpl.fs.fed.us/
 NRCA - National Roofing Contractors Association - http://www.nrca.net/, 10255 W. Higgins Road, Suite 600,
Rose mont, IL 60018-5607, Tel: (847) 299-9070
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: ASTM E 84- Class " A "
UL 723, Type 1, NFPA 255, UBC 42-1
ASTM E 2898, AWPA C-20, AWPA C-27
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: ASTM E 84 - Class " A "
UL 723, Type 1, CAN4-S102-M83
NFPA 255, UBC 42-1
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: International Maritime Organization Resolution A.753 (18) AND ASTM F1173-85 section A5 Wet Condition Classification of " Waterfilled Plastic Pipe"
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: ASTM E 84 - Class "B"
UL 723, Type 2, CAN4-S102-M83
NFPA 255, UBC 42-1
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: ASTM E 108 Fire Tests for Roof Coverings-Flying Brand, Burning |Brand, Spread of Flame and Intermittent Flame Exposure
ASTM E 2898
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: NFPA 701
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: California Administrative Code Section
1237.1 of Title 19
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: Federal Standard 16CFR 1632 (FF 4-72)
California Administrative Code, Title 4,
Chapter 3 Section 1371-
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: Cal Tech 117-F
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: ASTM E 162
 Fire Safety Standard/Classification: ASTM E662
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide, Edmund C. Snodgrass, Lucie L. Snodgrass, Timber Press, Incorporated, 2006, ISBN-10: 0881927872, ISBN-13: 978-0881927870. The text covers moisture needs, heat tolerance, hardiness, bloom color, foliage characteristics, and height of 350 species and cultivars.
Green Roof Construction and Maintenance, Kelley Luckett, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2009, ISBN-10: 007160880X, ISBN-13: 978-0071608800, quoting: Key questions to ask at each stage of the green building process Tested tips and techniques for successful structural design
Construction methods for new and existing buildings
Information on insulation, drainage, detailing, irrigation, and plant selection
Details on optimal soil formulation
Illustrations featuring various stages of construction
Best practices for green roof maintenance
A survey of environmental benefits, including evapo-transpiration, storm-water management, habitat restoration, and improvement of air quality
Tips on the LEED design and certification process
Considerations for assessing return on investment
Color photographs of successfully installed green roofs
Useful checklists, tables, and charts
Roofing The Right Way, Steven Bolt, McGraw-Hill Professional; 3rd Ed (1996), ISBN-10: 0070066507, ISBN-13: 978-0070066502
Slate Roofs, National Slate Association, 1926, reprinted 1977
by Vermont Structural Slate Co., Inc., Fair Haven, VT 05743, 802-265-4933/34. (We recommend this book if you can find it. It
has gone in and out of print on occasion.)
Roof Tiling & Slating, a Practical Guide, Kevin Taylor, Crowood Press (2008), ISBN 978-1847970237, If you have never fixed a roof tile or slate before but have wondered how to go about repairing or replacing them, then this is the book for you. Many of the technical books about roof tiling and slating are rather vague and conveniently ignore some of the trickier problems and how they can be resolved. In Roof Tiling and Slating, the author rejects this cautious approach. Kevin Taylor uses both his extensive knowledge of the trade and his ability to explain the subject in easily understandable terms, to demonstrate how to carry out the work safely to a high standard, using tried and tested methods.
This clay roof tile guide considers the various types of tiles, slates, and roofing materials on the market as well as their uses, how to estimate the required quantities, and where to buy them. It also discusses how to check and assess a roof and how to identify and rectify problems; describes how to efficiently "set out" roofs from small, simple jobs to larger and more complicated projects, thus making the work quicker, simpler, and neater; examines the correct and the incorrect ways of installing background materials such as underlay, battens, and valley liners; explains how to install interlocking tiles, plain tiles, and artificial and natural slates; covers both modern and traditional methods and skills, including cutting materials by hand without the assistance of power tools; and provides invaluable guidance on repairs and maintenance issues, and highlights common mistakes and how they can be avoided.
The author, Kevin Taylor, works for the National Federation of Roofing Contractors as a technical manager presenting technical advice and providing education and training for young roofers.
The Slate Roof Bible, Joseph Jenkins, www.jenkinsslate.com,
143 Forest Lane, PO Box 607, Grove City, PA 16127 - 866-641-7141 (We recommend this book).
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: email@example.com. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones