Government forecasters have predicted a busy Atlantic hurricane season which is set to begin on June 1st and run through November 30th. It is important to understand that a hurricane or severe storm should not be treated lightly, as it can destroy your roof and other parts of your home. Fortunately, there is ample time to prepare as well as steps that can be taken to minimize the damage caused to your roof by strong winds, rain, and debris.
In order to protect your family and property before, during, and after the storm, you can review this 7-day guide to help you plan and prepare over the next week.
How a Hurricane Can Impact Your Roof
As the highest structural component of your South Florida home, the roof takes the brunt of Mother Nature’s punch during a hurricane of any category:
Category 1 – Minimal Hurricane
Wind Speeds: 74-95 mph
Damage: Damage is primarily directed to unanchored mobile homes, shrubbery, trees and can cause some damage to poorly constructed structures.
Category 2 – Moderate Hurricane
Wind Speeds: 96-110 mph
Damage: May tear off some shingles, tiles, or portions of flashing, damage the gutters, and leave you with a roof leak. It may also cause damage to doors and windows of buildings. Considerable damage can be caused to shrubbery, mobile homes, and poorly constructed structures.
Category 3 – Extensive Hurricane
Wind Speeds: 111-130 mph
Damage: This can cause extensive damage to the roof covering and decking from both wind and airborne debris. Such damage includes broken tree limbs and structural damage to small residences and utility buildings. Unfortunately, mobile homes and poorly constructed buildings are often destroyed.
Category 4 – Extreme Hurricane
Wind Speeds: 131-155 mph
Damage: This can cause severe damage to the roof covering, decking, and gable ends due to both wind and airborne debris, such as broken tree limbs. It can also cause complete roof structure failures on small residences and complete destruction of mobile homes, doors, and windows.
Category 5 – Catastrophic Hurricane
Wind Speeds: 155 mph
Damage: This can cause devastating roof damage, where the decking is torn off. It can also cause complete building failures and blow away small utility buildings. It can cause All shrubs, trees, and signs to be blown down while causing complete destruction of mobile homes and extensive window damage.
Preventing Hurricane-Related Roof Damage In Miami
As hurricane winds pass over a roof, the pressure above the roofing system drops, while the pressure below is increased through holes and entry points. This effect draws the roofing panel upwards, possibly damaging or tearing the roof. Even minor roof damage can leave your Miami home susceptible to water intrusions, ranging from a small leak to a catastrophic flood.
The key to minimizing your risk against roof damage is hurricane preparedness. Here are a few critical steps you can take to prevent excessive wind damage and help withstand a hurricane.
Get Your Roof Inspected
Be sure your roof is in good shape to keep your home safe and comfortable during a hurricane. Pre-existing damage to your roof can make it more susceptible to leaks, loss of shingles, or complete failure during a heavy storm.
Begin by inspecting your roof and rain gutters to ensure water flows freely down rain spouts and away from your home. You should also ensure flashing defects are handled, take care of any loose soffits, and ventilation turbines, and remove all loose debris from the roof surface.
It is crucial to take care of any needed roof repairs by replacing any damaged or missing shingles, tiles, and metal. When installing or replacing your roof in Miami, a city inspector or civil engineer will proceed with several inspections to ensure they meet the strength required by the Florida Building Code to keep your home safe.
Remember that only a trained roofer should walk on the roof, as they know how to navigate the roof safely, without damaging its surface.
Trim Your Trees
Though a strong, deep-rooted tree may not fall during a storm, it may weaken its limbs in the canopy. Broken, dead, and damaged limbs can be torn from the trees during a hurricane and turned into dangerous projectiles.
Cut down tree limbs and heavy branches that hang over the roof to avoid the likelihood of it breaking windows or causing damage to your home.
A broken window can cause unwanted upward pressure on your home’s roof, which can be powerful enough to tear your roof off. Install impact-resistant shutters over all large windows to protect your windows from high winds and flying debris. You can also install new impact windows that are tested to one of the major standards.
Purchase solid wood or hollow metal doors for maximum wind resistance and choose doors with at least three hinges and a deadbolt lock.
Garage doors are more prone to storm damage because of how broad their surfaces are. Invest in special garage door braces that can help them withstand powerful hurricane-force winds.
Clean Gutters and Drainage Systems
Make sure to clear all leaves and debris from gutters and drainage systems so that rain water can flow through them. Fixing any deficiencies, such as poorly-attached sections or loose downspouts that can contribute to household water leaks, is also recommended.
Recovering Your Roof After The Storm
After the storm passes, make sure to note and photograph any roof damage. We recommend that you do not attempt to climb up on your roof because the structure may be weakened and roof may be slippery.
If you suspect roof damage, be sure to call your homeowners insurance company immediately and refer to your notes to report a claim and arrange for an inspection. If you wait too long, you may not be able to submit a claim. When you submit your roof insurance claim, an insurance adjuster will be sent to inspect the damaged areas and assess the cost of replacing your roof.
Once the insurance company has assessed the damage and gives consent for repairs, we recommend that you call a professional roofing contractor you can trust to inspect your roof.
Knowing what to do after a hurricane is just as important as preparing for the storm itself. If your roof has sustained major damage, be sure to get it repaired as soon as possible, to prevent it from worsening . Our trained staff at T&S Roofing Systems is especially equipped to evaluate and fix any potential issues and we’d be happy to provide you with a free consultation.