Protect your Roof!
Can your home withstand harsh weather conditions? With hurricane season upon us, it is a question many homeowners may be asking themselves. We all know the devastation that can be caused to property by a hurricane. Heavy rain and strong winds can batter your home to the point of collapse.
You may think there is not much you can do to prepare for something as intimidating as a hurricane, after all it is an act of God. But with the right precautions, you can lessen or even escape any major devastation.
One of the areas of your home most vulnerable to hurricanes is your roof. Oftentimes, the roof is the first to go in a storm.
We've all seen photos or videos of roofs being torn off houses and blown away in the wind, leaving items in the home open to the elements and requiring costly renovations to fix. Winds apply pressure to the walls of buildings but sturdy walls are more likely to stay standing. Winds passing over roofs, however, try to lift the roofs. High wind velocities, like those found in severe storms, hurricanes, and tornadoes, can apply enough force to break the connections between rafters or roof trusses and the walls and thus remove the roofs from buildings.
You can however lessen the chances of this happening by having a solid and stable roof, built with quality materials and reinforced with hurricane clamps. A roof is not the place to skimp on quality.
Hurricane clamps serve a dual purpose as they also reinforce the wood frame of a building and reduces the risk of the building collapsing during an earthquake as well.
Metal roofing is generally considered the best option for hurricane resistance. Most metal varieties offer defense against winds up to 140 mph, enough to withstand a category 4 hurricane. Category 4 hurricanes range from 130 to 156 mph.
Metal roofs are typically more durable and fire resistant than shingle roofs.
If you are a fan of shingle roofs, all is not lost. New shingles made of asphalt are more hurricane resistant than older varieties. Some varieties can safeguard against winds as fast as 130 mph.
But keep in mind that having a good, strong roof is useless if you do not perform regular maintenance.
Oftentimes, the roof is the last thing we think about when doing renovations, upgrades or repairs on our homes. We tend to pay attention to it only when problems like leaks or rot arises.
But in the lead up to hurricane season, it is wise to inspect your roof for damage points and areas of concern.
These can be repaired ahead of time to prevent additional damage to your roof when a storm arrives.
Repair all leaks and fix any loose shingles or tiles. If this is not done, these breaches can allow a passageway for water to seep inside the roof. Loose shingles or tiles can also be dangerous in a storm as they can be picked up and thrown around with force and cause injuries. If your roof is more than 20 years old, it may need even closer inspection. Keep an eye out for holes, raised shingles, rust and other imperfections. These may be able to be fixed by patching, nailing down or replacing materials in certain spots.
Sometimes spot repair is not practical and it becomes necessary to replace the entire roof. This is necessary if your roof is very old, sagging, rotting or severely rusted.
Moss or fungi growing on your roof is another indication that your roof may need to be fully replaced as it signals trapped moisture and underlying problems.
Keep in mind that not all damage can be prevented because hurricanes are very unpredictable. Sometimes, even with the best preparation, roof damage is still sustained. But a roof that has been inspected and repaired properly stands a far better chance at withstanding a hurricane than a roof that is rusty, brittle and leaking.
You should also aim to trim any large trees that hang over your home. In a hurricane, branches (or even the entire tree) can come crashing down, causing extreme damage to your roof.
And while you should be cleaning your guttering regularly, ahead of the hurricane season is as crucial a time as any to do so.
Hurricanes come with not only wind, but intense rainfall. If your gutters are blocked, they can prevent water from draining off your roof. All the excess water may seep into your roof, causing other problems like mold and odors or creating a fire hazard if leaks are near to electrical outlets.
It is important to prepare and strengthen your roof ahead of hurricane season, but aftercare is equally as important.
After the hurricane passes or the hurricane season is over, conduct another inspection to ensure that there was no major damage and be sure to repair any damage caused by the hurricane as quickly as possible.
These inspections are best left to professionals who are trained to identify issues that may not be visible to the naked eye. One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when they’re assessing the damage to their roof after a hurricane is assuming that everything is fine because they do not see any damage.
But sometimes leaks and other issues can take weeks to make themselves known and can cause major structural damage by the time they are discovered.
We highly recommend contacting a professional to inspect your roof and make recommendations on how it can be reinforced ahead of the hurricane season and to identify any issues after the hurricane season has passed.