Hurricane Season Roof Prep
Spring is often the start of outdoor projects for many homeowners. Pruning, mulching, planting and tidying up flower beds are basic early chores, and maintenance tasks like re-staining decks and replacing edging quickly follow.
Homeowners that live along the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific coastlines also need to safeguard their home and outdoor areas for the upcoming hurricane season.
Is Your Roof Ready for Hurricane Season?
With a little advanced preparation and the use of specially designed roofing products, like roof shingles engineered for high wind resistance, homeowners can help ensure their home’s roofs are ready for possible strong gales and driving rain.
What Causes Hurricanes?
Hurricanes are formed when humid tropical air rises in an area of low pressure over the sun-warmed ocean. The moist air is heavy with evaporated water, and once it reaches higher elevations, it condensates into clouds. The clouds grow and form thunderstorms, some reforming again and again.
Eventually, the whole mass of clouds and winds starts to rotate due to the earth’s spin around a central core. Storm winds can be clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on whether the system is north or south of the equator. Hurricanes will continue to strengthen if they can feed on warm moist ocean waters. Once they move into cooler regions or over land, they typically start to weaken.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration categorizes storms by their wind speed. Category 1 hurricanes have wind speeds at or greater than 74 miles per hour. Hurricanes in category 5 can have winds over 157 miles per hour and cause catastrophic damage.
Meteorologists attempt to predict the number of tropical storms and potential hurricanes for each upcoming season (June 1 to November 30). According to Dan Kottlowski, a hurricane expert at Accuweather, 2020 may have more than the usual number of storms. Of these storms, seven to nine could become full-fledged hurricanes.
While hurricanes are a fact of life for homeowners living near or on the ocean, there are several strategies you can take to safeguard your home and family.
- Follow and obey evacuation orders.
- Create an emergency plan.
- Stock up on supplies.
- Plan for power outages.
- Prepare your home by shuttering windows, cleaning gutters and downspouts, stowing outdoor equipment and checking the sump pump.
Protecting Your Roof During a Hurricane
Whether it’s a catastrophic hurricane or a powerful tropical depression, wind gusts, flying debris and torrential downpours can cause significant damage to your home. Roofs are especially vulnerable, due to their exposed location and large surface area. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do ahead of time to make sure your home’s roof is ready for hurricane season.
Arrange for a Pre-Season Roof Inspection
Your home’s roof will have a better chance of making it through a severe storm unscathed if you take care of problem areas before bad weather arrives. Schedule a roof inspection prior to hurricane season to check for loose or cracked shingles and damaged flashing. This is also a good time to discuss ways to shore up your roof in case of strong winds.
Provide Added Support
If you live in a region that’s prone to hurricanes, you might want to reinforce your roof’s frame. A professional roofing contractor can explain the pros and cons of various roof strengthening methods, such as:
- Collar ties
Choose Quality Roofing Products
During a hurricane, the winds created can cause a powerful uplift, capable of peeling shingles off the roof’s surface. Edges and eaves are especially vulnerable. Once your shingles are gone, the wind starts to work on your underlayment, and soon your roof becomes defenseless against the pounding rain. Wind gusts can also carry objects, from tree branches to lawn furniture, turning them into projectiles that can damage shingles and tear off flashing.
- Make sure your roof is ready for hurricane season from the start by opting for durable asphalt shingles. Engineered to deliver up to 130-MPH* wind limited warranty performance with only 4 nails, Owens Corning® Duration® shingles feature patented SureNail® Technology for excellent nail pull-through and enhanced adhesion to help keep them flat and in place during wind storms.
- For added security, use asphalt cement under shingle tabs, especially on ridges and the roof edges.
- Make every layer of your roofing system count by choosing a tough, water-resistant synthetic underlayment. A good underlayment can help keep the elements out while remaining securely attached to the roof decking.
- Help protect valleys, roof penetrations, eaves, and rakes with an extra layer of protection, such as Owens Corning® WeatherLock® Ice and Water Barrier*. Homeowners in areas prone to hurricanes may choose to apply WeatherLock® Ice and Water Barrier over the whole roof to help protect the roof deck in the event that wind-driven rain makes its way under the shingles or flashings.
Check into Potential Insurance Discounts
Homeowners who are proactive in protecting their homes may benefit from insurance discounts. Some states even require insurance providers to offer discounts to homeowners who observe hurricane-related building codes.
Depending upon your insurance carrier, you may need to schedule a wind mitigation inspection. During this assessment, a certified inspector will determine how well your home can potentially withstand strong winds. They’ll look at the siding, windows, doors (especially the garage doors), and of course, the roof.
Be a Proactive Homeowner
When it comes to hurricanes, being prepared is much better than reacting to an emergency. Keep your home hurricane-ready with regular inspections and reliable products designed to handle wind gusts and impacts.
If your home’s roof is starting to show signs of wear and tear, or you think you may have roof storm damage, consult with an independent roofing contractor about the benefits of repair vs. a total roof replacement. Search the Owens Corning Roofing Contractor Network to find independent roofing contractors near you.
*See actual warranty for complete details, limitations and requirements.