Hawaii strictly regulates fireworks, but you wouldn't know it when New Year's rolls around. Once the clock passes midnight, people all over the islands set off pyrotechnic displays in defiance of the law, risking criminal prosecution in the process. Worse yet, their fireworks can cause untold damage to their neighbors' homes.
Even when set off from a distance, fireworks can harm your roof in a myriad of ways. While most home insurance will cover such damage under accident clauses, that's only after the damage has taken its toll. It's much better to take protective measures beforehand to minimize the harm your house will suffer.
So, in what ways can fireworks cause harm to your roof, and what safety measures can you take?
We've been serving Hawaii with top-notch roofing services for over fifteen years, and in that time, we've seen it all. In this post, we'll go over the different tips & advice regarding how fireworks can wreak havoc on your roof and the preventive measures you can take to keep your home safe. Read on to learn how you can keep your roof in top shape during the new year.
1. Remove Branches and Leaves from Your Roof
While many modern roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles are fire-resistant, they don't account for stray debris on the roof itself. Leaves and twigs can turn a single spark into a blaze in the blink of an eye. You can minimize the risk fireworks pose just by keeping your roof clean.
In the days leading up to New Year's, get out the ladder and get your hands dirty. Any potentially flammable debris, no matter how small, should be removed. Take the time to thoroughly clean your gutters as well, as they collect more rubbish than the roof itself.
Even if firework debris doesn't start a fire on your roof, it can still cause lasting damage. For example, shingles can experience cracks or discoloring if exposed to high enough heat. Some shingles may even warp, revealing your roof in ways that aren't easy to notice and creating an opening for future damage.
Damage to your gutters is a serious concern with fireworks. Unlike shingles, most gutters can't withstand high pressure and heat, especially those made with plastics. You'll need to replace them if even a small part has melted through.
2. Spray Your Roof
Fires can quickly ignite and spread in dry weather. If conditions are right, a small amount of warm ash can lead to incredible flames. Hawaii's lack of defined dry and wet seasons make this hazard hard to predict, but you can still be proactive against dry weather.
One suggestion is to get a garden house and douse your roof before the fireworks start launching. You don't need to soak it: spray just enough to cover the whole roof. The added moisture will immediately put out any stray sparks, ash, or burning debris that may fall from the sky.
Of course, this isn't such a good option if your roof is already damaged. It's always best to inspect it before spraying to confirm there aren't any surprise holes or loose shingles. So long as it isn't already damaged, spraying your roof in this way won't cause any additional harm.
3. Replace Missing or Broken Shingles
A missing shingle may not bother you much throughout the year, but it's a different story when people start setting off fireworks. Modern shingles offer some degree of fire resistance, but the materials they cover? Not so much.
If you look just beneath your shingles, you'll find roofing felt, an extremely combustible paper that protects your roof's decking. If it catches fire, your entire roof can burn, regardless of what type of shingles you have. Check your roof after severe storms to make sure your shingles are still secure.
As New Year's approaches, you can help protect your home by replacing any damaged or missing shingles. Any area of an exposed roof, no matter how small, gives potential fires a place to start. Once a fire takes hold, it can quickly burn through the exterior and spread inside.
Note that not all shingles are considered fire-resistant. Class A shingles, including slate, asphalt, fiberglass, clay, and metal, offer the most resistance. If you're unsure how heat-resistant your shingles are or can't identify their make, we can help as part of a thorough inspection.
4. Clear Overhanging Branches
Who doesn't love spending a sunny afternoon in the cool shade of a tree? If you're like most homeowners, you've planted a few on your property. Trees are an essential part of Hawaii's beauty, so much so that we often fail to recognize when they could cause harm to our homes.
Tall trees with broad leaves and long branches that hang over your roof are hazardous if they catch fire. Trees, living or dead, can serve as kindling when exposed to sparks, flame, or high heat. Trim them back so that there are five feet between the nearest branch and the edge of your roof.
A tree doesn't need to come into contact with your roof to pose a fire hazard. Strong winds can force the flame to leap onto your roof and spread that way. Minimize the risk of removing any branch that faces your home or reaches over it.
5. Clean Your Rooftop After Fireworks
You and your roof survived New Year's without incident. The noise has finally stopped, and you can go back to your life uninterrupted by the commotion of fireworks. So you decide that it's safe to stop worrying about your roof, at least until the next storm hits.
It's tempting to drop your guard once the celebrations have come to an end, but it's also a huge mistake. If someone was setting off fireworks near your home, chances are small parts of the explosives landed on your roof. These may not be live sparks or ash but flakes of paper and other combustible materials.
If someone near your home has set off fireworks, it's good practice to have a professional safely clean your roof as soon as you can after they've stopped. Debris from fireworks can lie dormant for days or months, but under the right conditions, they will ignite. You can take the opportunity to check for damaged shingles, too.
Let Us Help You Protect and Repair Your Roof
Every precaution you take against fireworks can protect and extend the life of your roof. But still, there's no accounting for chaos, and there's always the chance that despite your best efforts, your rooftop will suffer some damage. Don't panic if this happens to you: call on Kapili Roofing instead.
Our skilled staff can perform comprehensive roof inspections and repairs, regardless of what type of damage it has suffered. With an in-depth knowledge of current materials and techniques, we offer flexible solutions that will meet your needs. When you hire us, you're getting precisely what you need and nothing else.
We ensure high-quality service by performing all roofing work ourselves. We maintain strict control over every step of the process and take full responsibility for our workmanship. We're so confident in our work that we provide free consultations to all customers.
Don't wait any longer to protect your roof! Reach out to Kapili Roofing today to learn more about our services, and stay tuned for more Tips and Advice. We look forward to working with you!