Even though it’s not something you’d like to think about, it’s necessary to take all precautions for your home, in the case that it ever has to endure a fire.  Your roof is no exception.  A series of laboratory tests have been developed to measure how well roofing materials, like shingles, resist fires.  These tests are widely accepted by roofers, as well as the building industry, in general.

UL 790

UL 790 is the most widely quoted standard, that tests roofing materials’ resistance to fires from external sources: fires that originate outside of the house – things like lightning.  A fire rating is not given merely by the physical properties of the roofing material, but also by installing the material in a way that is recommended by the manufacturer.  UL assigns roof coverings a rating that ranges from Class A (the highest level of protection) to Class C (the lowest level of protection).


Roofing material that receives a Class A through C rating ought to maintain its position on the roof following a fire, and is not expected to generate burning or flying shingles.  Simply speaking, it ought to stay where it was placed.

  • Class A roof materials afford a high degree of fire protection.
  • Class B roof materials afford a “moderate degree” of fire protection.
  • Class C coverings afford a “light degree” of fire protection.

There is no absolute guarantee however, that even class A will hold up in a fire.

Why choose Class A?

  • Although you can’t guarantee the safety of someone inside a burning building, they have a much better chance of escaping unharmed if the building has a more fire-resistant roof.
  • Many building codes require class A roofing materials.