Thread: Metal Roofs

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    Thumbs down Metal Roofs

    I ask you all a question, are metal roofs worth the risk? we had a structure fire this weekend and couldnt get to the roof to vent it or open the roof up to get our ladder truck to spray through it. each pannel of metal was also glued together which made things even harder. the house was a total loss. this was the second metal roof that we have encountered and had trouble with. the first one was a few years ago. we were able to get on it to try and vent it....but the owners had the roofing company put the metal over the existing roof, that had atleast 5 or 6 layers of shingles on it. i know metal roofs are good, but with a wood stove, and this house was old...it had SAW DUST INSULATION! now there should be some rules against that...so please give me some feedback and some pointers if you have them on how to handle a metal roof...thanks


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    I am interested in the replies to this as well. We have a lot of metal rooves out here, so after some discussion we chose to go with a K12 and a universal blade instead of a chainsaw for the new aerial. I have not had the opportunity to try it out on an actual scenario yet.

    Good roof ladders are a must of course, and we just ordered a 30' folding roof ladder for some of our our monster homes, which I am anxious to try out as well. Here's hoping for a demolition burn this summer so we can play with all the new toys?
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    Gonzo; clear out your mailbox then pm me, please. ROOKIE

    As for metal roofs; we usually only see them in commercial buildings and we haven't had much experience with them. I have noticed that they are becoming more popular with people who have cabins at the lake and I'm wondering how that is going to affect rural firefighters. I haven't heard much about it yet.
    Last edited by ROOKIELZ; 02-21-2005 at 11:24 AM.

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    Default Re: Metal Roofs

    Originally posted by youngpup
    I ask you all a question, are metal roofs worth the risk? we had a structure fire this weekend and couldnt get to the roof to vent it or open the roof up to get our ladder truck to spray through it.


    Youngpup.. if you are usng a ladder pipe through any opening in the roof, the building is more than likely going to be a total loss. To quote Chief Alan Brunacini "when the ladder pipes go up, the building comes down".

    Each pannel of metal was also glued together which made things even harder. the house was a total loss. this was the second metal roof that we have encountered and had trouble with. the first one was a few years ago. we were able to get on it to try and vent it....but the owners had the roofing company put the metal over the existing roof, that had atleast 5 or 6 layers of shingles on it. i know metal roofs are good, but with a wood stove, and this house was old...it had SAW DUST INSULATION! now there should be some rules against that...so please give me some feedback and some pointers if you have them on how to handle a metal roof...thanks


    "ya gotta put the wet stuff on the red stuff." [/B]

    By code here in Massachusetts, there cannot be more than two layers of shingles on roof. If a roof is in need of replacement, and there is already two layers there, it has to be stripped. The building departments who issue the permits handle the enforcement. Most of the residential metal roofs I have seen are on older farmhouses or up in the North country, where there is significant snowfall and the potential for ice dam damage from a backup under conventional roofing materials. There are plenty of built up roofs with metal bases (Q-decking)

    As far as cutting into a metal roof, a metal cutting blade on a K-12 usually does the trick.

    Many older homes are "grandfathered" when it comes to the building codes. Renovation time is when the home must be brought into compliance with existing codes.
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    Question Venting metal roofs

    First, let me say that metal roof can indeed present quite a problem. Whats holding it up? Whats under the metal? How slippery is it? Is it over a large uncompartmented space? Does it have a ridge line? How do you safely traverse the roof? All of these questions must be answered if you are to operate ontop of the roof. If you cannot be certain then you'd better stay on the stick (nearly impossible to cut an appropriate sized vent) or work from a tower basket.
    I do have one big question though. " we had a structure fire this weekend and couldnt get to the roof to vent it or open the roof up to get our ladder truck to spray through it." Why? Why? Why? If you vent the roof an fire is going into the sky, then yee haw! You've done a good thing. If you follow this by stuffing a firestream into the vent, then Boo! You've just defeated the prupose of your work. Holes are not cut in roof to make access for firestreams! Well, they are but not in departments where someone has a clue!
    This is a huge tactical error made all to often. How about cutting a hole in the roof (when the fire is in the triangle) then attacking the fire from within (if safe) or through windows or FF made openings (defensive).
    If you want to cut holes to put a firestrream in, cut them at the level of the fire, after there is a vent above it.

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    no, i didnt mean that we wanted to cut a hole in the roof to vent AND spray through it. but beacuse we couldnt vent the fire ran through the house, so the township that was supporting with the ladder truck wanted to try and cut a hole to help knock the fire down. i know its bad to cut a hole and spray water through, especially when there are people inside. but the floor collapsed into the basement. and the house was totally involved. i should have explained myself more. but we all have been there before. you pull up to a house and every window is gone and the house is just roaring. all you do is spray some water and make it look nice for the people watching. yes i am young and i dont have alot of experience, thank you for your help. this house had stucco siding with chicken wire behind it. then boards, then sawdust insulation, then the inside wall. and the walls were made of old pine. so once the chimney fire got out of hand the house was gone within seconds. but yes i do understand that it is bad to vent and then spray water through that hole...just so you know that i have a clue, just trying to get some answers or pointers for the next metal roof i encounter


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    Gonzo

    What is the code say about the installation & renovation of "rain roofs" ie a new roof built of over and existing roof.
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    i cannot give out names, but this home owner is also a carpenter. so i am sure he did his roof himself. i dont come from a huge town, the fire dept that got called to the scene had to go about 3 miles and i myself had to drive almost 7. so there is not alot of people around. so he may have been able to sneak by without permits or codes. the fact is this house was very old. it had balloon constuction which helped the fire spread. what i am trying to say i guess is that people shouldnt put a metal roof on an old house with an old chimney. wood stoves are great if you clean your chimney regularly and burn it hard. but if they are going to put a roof on then the can atleast do it right. and not glue the sections together. but even if they had a shingled roof the house whould still be gone...

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    Originally posted by stm4710
    Gonzo

    What is the code say about the installation & renovation of "rain roofs" ie a new roof built of over and existing roof.
    I couldn't tell you offhand. You would have to contact the building department of the local community to get that information. There's a guy on "da job" who has his own vinyl siding and roofing on the side, he did some work for me on my old house, where he added another layer of shingles. That's how I knew about the 2 layer max part of the code.
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    My suggestion as an Lt who is responsible for a truck company is to get some tools that have multiple uses. We use a K12 with different blades that we can change at any point in time. I know this may sound off but wait until you get put against a concrete roof. Think a metal roof is hard!?!

    To talk more specificaly about your incident, it seems to me that the house in question was doomed for disaster anyway. That many shingles, with a metal roof, and saw dust insulation is not a scenario I would like to see anytime soon. Another possible way to ventilate a hard building is horizontal ventilation. Don't waste time on something that takes to long!

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    We have quite a few metal roofs around here (NC Iowa), we arent fortunate enough to own a K12 but I know they work real good in these situations. We've found that a chainsaw with a carbide chain will get the job done without too many problems. A pickaxe will work ok too, but it takes a lot of work to cut steel with an axe.

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    No problem...K12 with a metal cutting blade

    As for the question, you bet they are worth it. They hold up much better in high winds. Saw that first hand this past summer with the huricanes.
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    K-12 from a truck........
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    Default metal over shingles

    I recently put a metal roof over my old shingles, and caulked the panels together at the lap. This was done by a professional, lisenced contractor, and it was also inspected by a building inspector / code enforcement officer.

    I suspect if there was anything wrong with this type of installation, it would not have been allowed. The advantage of leaving the shingles on is good sound insulation, and you save money by not having to pay to have them removed.

    If a K-12 is not available, rip a hole in center of panel, and pry it back,using a halligan. Pull back enough to make an adequate vent, and go at it with a chainsaw.

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    Originally posted by gliddennmsufd
    I know this may sound off but wait until you get put against a concrete roof. Think a metal roof is hard!?!
    We've run into concrete roofs on some of our commercial strip malls. We also have a lot of metal roofs with tar and gravel on top of them.

    Best bet for roof ventilation in such a scenario would be the K12. We've done it on metal roofs, and it works.
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    The absolute hardest fire I've ever fought was a brick SFD with a metal roof overlayed on a shingle roof. We tried to make entry on it but there was simply too much heat being retained in the house. When we did start to make some headway on the fire, we found that it was between the old roof and the new metal roof............sucked. We didn't even try vertical ventilation, I would think that the K-12 with something like a warthog blade would be the way to go.
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    There's an artricle in the new Fire Chief Magazine on roof ladders and metal roofs. Check it out for more info.

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    K12 with warthog blade or vent chainsaw with carbide chain does the trick. I prefer the chainsaw, that warthog blade will definately do the job. Alot of guys are intimidated by the warthog because of it's aggressive tooth design. I am glad that I did not see that article in Fire Chief a month or two ago or I would have thought twice about the vent that I did on two story house. That was definately an article that make me rethink some things.

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    Hehe,Metal roofs?Metal ceilings? WELCOME TO NEW ENGLAND! You guys first day on the job? Stick to the roof,bucket to the roof or a long enough roof ladder.We got a 25'.Weapon of choice? Cutters Edge bullet saw!Metal with 6 layers of asphalt;Doesn't matter,it's done!Second weapon of choice,T50 Stihl wheel saw with a warthog.Getting thru the roof isn't the problem,overhauling it after the fire got in under it is.A crew that's ever worked on steel shouldn't take but a few minutes longer to open up than conventional roofing.But tin ceilings:that's what separates the bulls from the pups.These are a PITA,and do a nifty job at holding/concealing fire.Carbide conventional chainsaw chains don't last long cutting steel/metal roofing;ask me how I know.Loosen up the moldy money,get a CE and an extra chain and never look back.And no,I don't sell 'em but they "sold" me.Have the chain sharpen/replaced ONLY by CE and you'll be well satisfied.If I could only have one saw,it would probably be a K-12.But most of the time you need two or more and a CE is handier than pockets in a shirt.Try it,you'll buy it. T.C.

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    posted by Rescue101: Weapon of choice? Cutters Edge bullet saw!Metal with 6 layers of asphalt;Doesn't matter,it's done!
    We've got one of these saws, and it's incredible. We haven't found anything to slow it down yet.
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    Our's is the ventmaster chainsaw. I should have clarified that in my other post. Vnetmaster or cutters edge either way they do a great job.

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    In the last few years a couple of residences in our area were built and used complete metal all the way around like a big barn or something. Have yet to fight one of these but the heat retention could be quite a problem. Our guess is that any ventilation problems will have to be taken care of by horizontal ventilation and taking out the eve vents or something. The purchase of a K-12 would help I'm sure.

    TF

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    Shank,The difference between a Ventmaster and a CE on a metal roof is dramatic.I've used a Ventmaster and on aluminum or conventional roofing it's a nice tool.On steel,forget it, it's a carbide chain.This is where the bullet chain excels.Nothing I know of presently produced with the exception of a K12 type saw is as effective at opening the myriad of roof types we face today as the CE.And the CE will run circles around the K12 on conventional roofs.The reason I would pick a K12 over a CE if I could have only one is:The K12 with appropriate blades will cut ANYTHING,the CE has a few limitations.But for normal vent work,it's one hell of a weapon.T.C.

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    Originally posted by jfTL41
    There's an artricle in the new Fire Chief Magazine on roof ladders and metal roofs. Check it out for more info.
    Here's the link to that story....Will really give you something to think about concerning roof ops on metal roofs (rooves?... )

    http://www.firechief.com/mag/firefighting_metal_metal/

    Two Ohio firefighters were seriously injured during a training evolution when they fell from the roof of the training building....


    With the completion of the simulated ventilation, both started to move back up the ladder. At that point the hooks began to ride up on the metal roof cap and then came completely loose of the ridgeline, starting the firefighters' slide down the slope of the metal roof.
    During the investigation....

    With his knowledge of computer modeling, Rosenhan was able to quickly confirm a problem with the coefficient of friction between the standard NFPA-compliant roof ladder and certain metal roof buildings. His hypothesis also was confirmed using a test model he constructed in his laboratory.
    Seems the hook tips of a standard NFPA compliant roof ladder just don't have a sufficient "coefficient of friction" (that's "bite" to us regular folks) on a metal roof to keep it from sliding around...enough to dislodge itself from the roof ridge....
    Last edited by dmleblanc; 02-27-2005 at 04:39 PM.
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    C.D. Bales, "Roxanne"

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