2018 saw devastating fires throughout California. Homes and lives were lost, but there are some simple steps that can be taken to help protect a home. Removing of hazardous trees and firewood near the home is a normal first thought of prevention but removing debris from the roof and gutter is just as important.
Debris in gutters is one of the greatest wildfire vulnerabilities for a home. Pine needles, leaves, and debris are great fuel for embers from a wildfire. A roof can become easily exposed to a fire from flames that were started by embers in the gutter. Embers can destroy a home from up to a mile away. Clearing debris from the gutters and roof is an important first step for protecting a home against wildfires.
Once a gutter is cleared of debris, the next step is to get it covered. Chapter 7A of the California Building Code states that “roof gutters shall be provided with the means to prevent the accumulation of debris”. Gutter guards or covers have become more common and help keep debris out of the gutters, while allowing water to flow freely. The variety of gutter guards vary from metal covers to plastic or fiberglass mesh covers to reticulated open cell foam filters. A gutter guard will help reduce the potential of damage to a home from a wildfire. Gutter guards will keep debris out of the gutters, but they still need maintenance. As with any type of filter, they still need to be cleaned out occasionally to remove any small debris that may get stuck. Additionally, as the gutter guards may keep the gutter clean the roof may still have debris on it that needs to be keep clean as well. Chapter 7A of the code is in place to help reduce the amount of debris on the gutters and rooftops.
We have created a new fire-retardant model of GutterStuff®, GutterStuff® Pro FR Plus is a fully coated neoprene gutter foam filter. GutterStuff Pro® FR Plus reduces the potential for damage to a home from a wildfire. For more information and to order GutterStuff Pro® FR Plus, please call TJM Innovations at 414-446-8778.
A foam gutter filter is an affordable option for a gutter guard, and when coated in neoprene and other fire-retardant materials, it has excellent fire resistance from wildfire embers. The neoprene also protects the foam filter from other harsh outdoor conditions such as UV Rays, heat, and humidity.