By Drexel Metals.
With global climate and weather patterns having dramatically changed in recent times, wildfires occur more frequently every year. What was once known as a strictly summer phenomenon has extended into the winter months over the last few decades. In the winter of 2021, residents of Boulder, Colorado saw extreme devastation caused by wildfires. That December 35,000 people had to evacuate their homes and over 1,100 properties burned to the ground. Thousands of acres of land, once thriving with life, are now scarred. The Eldridge family would have lost their home in the fire, but thanks to Drexel Metals’ metal roofing system, their property survived.
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.
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 their home’s fiber cement siding to provide critical fire protection. Compared to the burnt land around it, the house looks virtually untouched. Its interior and the family’s belongings were also left undamaged (smoke damaged). The contractor and insurance agency handling the case have said the repairs will be minimal (not sure where minimal came from, smoke mitigation, fencing replacement, deck/exterior replacement), limited to replacing 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 Drexel Metals roofing system.
The metal roofing system and fiber cement / Hardie Board is masonry based and 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.
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 from Drexel Metals worked with the home’s metal siding so the home could endure the heat with minimal damage.
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