One of Red Sky Shelters unique offerings is our silicone-coated Legacy roof material. It all started well over a decade ago when we discovered the high environmental impact that PVC-coated materials carried (see our roof fabric page). However, almost all of the suitable outdoor materials were PVC-coated. When we researched silicone rubber we found that it had several promising qualities like extreme weather resistance, low environmental impact and flame resistance. We were mystified as to why it wasn’t being applied to a strong polyester base fabric to yield an environmentally responsible architecturally suitable membrane material. Besides silicone’s high cost it turns out that one of the possible ironic reasons was that silicone’s resistance to fire made it difficult to pass a flame-resistance test. We found out that most synthetic fabrics pass such a test because the heat from the flame causes the material to curl and shrink away from the fire keeping it from catching the flame. On the other hand, when silicone is applied, the rubber holds the fabric in the flame allowing it to eventually catch. It is kind of like school: often grades don’t reflect what one knows, they are rather a measure of how well one can pass the tests.
Even though we are not at all chemists, we set up a makeshift lab and spent years and countless hours experimenting with ways to allow silicone-coated material to pass a flame test using environmentally responsible alternatives to the common flame resistance strategies (which didn’t work well with silicone anyway). Eventually we were successful and it was a flagship day when we were able to pass the flame-resistance test. The result is our Legacy silicone-coated roof material that we feel is an amazing roof material.