Fortunately, savvy homeowners can do a lot to protect their property from the threat of wildfire. Even better, they can help the environment in the process. After you have cleared a survivable space around your home, look to improve your odds with a few potential upgrades.
A roof that protects
Cedar-shake shingles top the list of fire hazards because they are great at catching embers, ignite easily and then become a prime source of giant embers. Hailey has already banned them and other communities have considered following suit. If your residence has wood shingles, fire retardant chemical treatments offer temporary protection that may be better than nothing.
Asphalt shingles built upon a fiberglass matt have become the industry standard—however, the quality varies tremendously. The cheap stuff often sold at big box stores doesn't last, is difficult to recycle, and will end up costing more in the long run. A smarter alternative is choosing a higher-grade product, such as CertainTeed Landmark shingles, that comes with a lifetime transferable warranty.
Another option is going with a metal roof. The Tamko MetalWorks shingles are made from steel with about 50 percent recycled content yet resemble wood shake or slate. Not only are they fireproof but they also are Energy Star rated because they reflect solar radiation in the summer.
Decks don't have to be kindling
A green alternative to standard wood is a deck made from composite materials with a protective cap. The composite is typically 95 percent recycled materials (a mix of sawdust and plastic) and the outer cap prevents staining and UV degradation. These new-generation decks—Fiberon Horizon, TimberTech Evolutions and Trex Transcend—require minimal maintenance, last for decades and most have a Class B fire rating.
Keep an eye on the gutters
Although there are many types of gutter guards, the ones that make the most sense for this area are made of stainless steel micromesh, which is excellent at keeping out pine needles. Brands to consider include Gutter Dome, Gutter Glove, Gutter RX and Leaf Solution.
Looking at the big picture
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