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Fire Proof the Roof FAQ

How much will this cost me?

If your home is approved for roof replacement, you will pay a fee equivalent to 5.1% of the total cost of your roof to help cover the federally required grant matching costs. Once you get a quote from an approved roofer, you are responsible for paying them directly and submitting the receipts to us. Once approved, you will be reimbursed for 75% of the cost of the roof, attic vents, and gutter covers, if applicable. The total will depend on the size of your roof and the type of material you choose, but once reimbursed you will have paid 31.1% of the total cost.

What if my current roof is already a Class A roof?

Homes with roofs that are already considered Class A are not eligible. However, you may still apply for attic vents and gutter covers if you do not have them. If you are unsure if your roof is considered Class A, feel free to apply. If your application is approved, one of our inspectors will do a site visit to determine the class of your roof and what you may qualify for.

What if I recently replaced my roof with a Class A roof?

This is a very common question – we’re thrilled that so many people have recently upgraded their roofs as that provides enhanced fire safety not only for those homes but for the surrounding homes as well. Unfortunately, the scope of this grant does not allow us to retroactively approve roofs, and all homeowners must go through all the steps set forth in this project before roof construction is approved and can begin.

How do I know the class of my roof?

It is common for a homeowner not to know the class of their roof, and our inspectors will identify a roof’s class to determine eligibility. However, if you would like to get a general sense of your roof class before you apply, here are some guidelines.

  • Class A materials include flat or barrel-shaped roof tiles (concrete, slate, or clay), fiberglass-asphalt composition shingles, and metal roofs (i.e., steel or copper).
  • Class B and C roof coverings can typically meet Class A requirements when additional underlayment materials are used.
      • Fire-retardant pressure-treated shakes and shingles are the most common Class B roofing material.
      • Class C fire-rated roof coverings include recycled plastic and rubber products and roof aluminum coverings.

Information courtesy of University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources (UCANR). Click here to learn more.

    What if I own the home but do not live there?

    If your home is vacant, you can work directly with staff to apply and schedule inspections. If your home is rented, please notify your tenants and share their contact information with us. Staff will work with you as well as your tenants to schedule inspections. 

    What if I own multiple homes in the high or very high fire severity zone (FHSZ)?

    You may submit applications for all homes you own in the FHSZ. Each will be treated as a separate application and will require separate administrative fees. Approval of one application does not guarantee approval of other applications.

    What if my home was built before 1975?

    Any home that is 47 years or older, does not have a build date on file with the County of Mendocino, or may be located in a “potentially historic district” will require an additional inspection by an approved historical architecture consultant from the California Historical Resources Consultant List. Staff will help homeowners schedule and manage this inspection, and homeowners are NOT responsible for paying for this inspection.

    Why did Mendocino County get this grant?

    Because the Redwood Complex fires of 2017 were declared a major federal disaster, Mendocino County is eligible for Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP) funding.

    Hazard mitigation activities are aimed at reducing or eliminating future damages. 

    Structural hardening is an effective mitigation strategy against wildfire. There are approximately 19,000 homes in the high or very high fire severity zones (FHSZ) in Mendocino County, many of which do not have Class A roofs. Replacing these roofs will significantly decrease wildfire risk to those homes as well as neighboring homes.

    What are my odds of being approved?

    If your application and inspection are both cleared, your odds are very high! Applicants are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Once the grant total has been reached, additional applicants will be placed on a waiting list. Because the time between approval and construction is relatively long, there is a good chance that people on the waiting list will also receive the roof rebate. 

    Hazard mitigation activities are aimed at reducing or eliminating future damages. 

    Structural hardening is an effective mitigation strategy against wildfire. There are approximately 19,000 homes in the high or very high fire severity zones (FHSZ) in Mendocino County, many of which do not have Class A roofs. Replacing these roofs will significantly decrease wildfire risk to those homes as well as neighboring homes.

    What if I own a business in the FHSZ, not a house?

    This grant is specifically for residential buildings in the FHSZ. Unfortunately, non-residential buildings do not qualify.

    What if I can’t afford to pay for the up-front costs of the roof?

    We know that roofs are expensive and not everyone will have the funding available to pay for the roof and wait for reimbursement. We have partnered with Savings Bank of Mendocino County to create a special loan program for ALL eligible applicants – there are no credit requirements. Once approved for a new roof, you will work directly with Savings Bank to secure the loan. 

    What if my house needs other repairs?

    This grant does not cover the costs of any maintenance on a home; it is exclusively designed to provide rebates to homeowners who replace non-Class A roofs with Class A materials.

    Sometimes unknown issues are revealed when a roof is removed. Unfortunately this is a risk that the homeowner must accept, and the homeowner is ultimately responsible for all costs and repairs necessary that fall outside the scope of this grant.

    What if I rent my home?

    Please share this information with the homeowner, or provide us their contact information and we will reach out on your behalf.

    What if the home is owned as part of a trust, or has multiple owners?

    All legally entitled property owners must consent to the roof replacement before an application can be approved. In the application, the primary applicant is asked to list all names on the deed. When grant staff follows up on the application they will ask for contact information for each of those people and will reach out for their approval.

    Do garages and outbuildings count?

    Per California Building Codes 710A.3.1 and 710A.3.3, accessory buildings and detached structures that are less than 50 feet away from an applicable building will also qualify for Class A roof replacement.

     

    What happens after I apply?

    Once you submit an application, it will be reviewed by a staff member starting on August 16, and you will be contacted with any questions. If an application is approved to move forward, the next step is to schedule an inspection with one of our inspectors to determine the current class of roof and evaluate the home’s defensible space. Staff will help homeowners schedule and manage this inspection, and homeowners are NOT responsible for paying for this inspection.

    What if there are deed restrictions on my property?

    All homeowners will be asked about deed restrictions on their properties as part of the application process. Any homeowner with a deed restriction that would prevent participation will not be eligible for the program. 

    Why should I apply?

    The roof is the most vulnerable part of a building during a wildfire, and a nonflammable roof is the most important structural protection a homeowner can implement against wildfire. Compared to other protections such as sprinkler systems (which require maintenance and access to water), a Class A roof is the simplest, most efficient and longest-lasting protection.

    What can be replaced?

    The grant allows for roofs that are “Class A by assembly,” which includes replacing fascia boards and decking/sheathing, both components of a roof and integral to home hardening and a higher level of protection.

    In addition, rebates are also available to replace approved attic vents and gutter covers. If the roof is already Class A, the homeowner may apply to replace attic vents and install gutter covers.

    Why did I get the mailer if I don’t qualify?

    A letter was sent to approximately 17,000 property owners, and may arrive in the mail as late as July 30. To ensure as many people as possible who may qualify for the rebate were notified, the mailer went to all property owners in the Mendocino County FHSZ. Unfortunately there is no good way to separate addresses for land with residential buildings from land with non-residential buildings. We apologize for any confusion or frustration this may have caused. 

    What if I'm a contractor who is interested in participating?

    We are currently building our list of approved contractors and would love to hear from you! Please contact elizabeth@firesafemendocino.org to start the simple process of getting approved as a participating roofing contractor.

    Have any other questions? Contact us here: elizabeth@firesafemendocino.org

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