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Selecting the Best Roof to Minimize Hurricane Damage

Florida Hurricane Insurance

The 2019 Hurricane Season (June 1 – December 1) is upon us. And while you can’t make your home and property invincible to high winds and flooding, you can improve your home’s resilience to a potential tropical storm. It’s not uncommon to see wind-damaged roofs and shingles blown off after a major storm has ripped through the area. Damage to the roof often allows heavy rains to soak the interior of the home.

There are several key roofing flaws that high winds will generally expose:

  • Overhanging eaves

High winds may lift roof sections, framing and all, when there are overhanging eaves to “catch” the wind

  • Insufficient bracing or the lack of hurricane straps

Roof structures are susceptible to being blown off the building if there is insufficient bracing or hurricane straps are not installed

  • Roofs connected by staples

Roofs need to be strongly secured with long nails instead of staples, which will not hold in high wind conditions

  • Lightweight shingles

Shingles that are light weight or not installed using wind-zone techniques are easily lifted by the wind. If rain is driven under roofing shingles it can damage the roof deck.

  • Too-steep roof pitches

If your roof pitch is too steep it will act like a sail and “catch” the wind in tropical storm conditions

There are three steps you can take to minimize storm damage to your roof.

  1. Check the integrity of your roof

According to a 2013 FEMA report on best practices to secure roof coverings, it is best to inspect your roof at least once a year to ensure the integrity of your roof is maintained. When roofing materials aren’t secured properly, high winds can tear them off and rain can infiltrate the interior of your home.

Check your roof for the following problems:

  • Damaged, cracked, buckling or missing shingles
  • Cracked or worn rubber seals around roof pipes and vents
  • Rust on any metal parts, such as flashing
  • Caulk that is peeling, cracking or chipping
  • Chimney parts that are damaged or missing
  • Moss or other growth on shingles
  1. Ensure the right roofing materials are used

When it’s time for your roof to be replaced, discuss your needs with a reputable local contractor who is knowledgeable about the weather challenges in your area and the type of roofing materials that will reduce your risk for damage.

The integrity of your roof is primarily determined by the construction of your roof. Consider purchasing superior shingles. They do cost a bit more, but they will reduce risk to your home and belongings. Ensure your roof is constructed with the right underlayment and nails. You can request that six nails be used on every shingle as opposed to the standard four. These steps alone will help provide a stronger, wind resistant roof.

Make sure your contractor adds braces to your roof system, including trusses, in order to maintain its integrity. Hurricane straps will help secure the roof to load-bearing sidewalls.

  1. Clean up your yard

It’s important that you remove anything in your yard that wind could blow around. The majority of injuries, fatalities and damage during a hurricane is a result of flying debris.

  • Trim away weak branches and removed dead trees
  • Replace rock or gravel landscaping with bark mulch
  • Store lawn furniture, decorations, barbeque, garden tools, bicycles and children’s playsets indoors

For more on Florida home insurance and hurricane risk management, contact us!