Hurricane Season Ready: Keeping a Roof Over Your Head

roof workersNow is the time to get your home ready to withstand the next storm.  The most important place to start is your roof, which is your home’s first line of defense against Mother Nature. Damage to your roof and roof covering, in particular, is the greatest risk your home faces when a hurricane strikes.   Watch this video to find out why Strong Roofs Matter.

IBHS provides the following guidelines to help you with inspecting your roof, and repairing or replacing your roof, if needed.

Inspecting Your Roof

When having your roof inspected, look for these warning signs  that  may indicate it needs repairs or replacement:Need a new roof?

  • Wear on your shingle roof: check for loose, broken or missing shingle tabs; cracks or curling shingles; or the majority of granules worn off tabs.
  • Roof penetrations: are they well-sealed and tight; are there gaps, signs of missing sealant, or badly deteriorated holes?
  • Off-ridge and ridge vents: are they well attached; if nails are used on the ridge vents, are they properly attached?
  • Leaks: Look for water stains on roof decking, including around the chimney, vents, pipes and valleys; also check for discolored roofing deck, rafters or trusses, or water stains on ceiling.

 Review the Roof Inspection Checklist for more information.

Repairing Your Roof

If you find damage, IBHS recommends contacting a professional roofer to discuss repair or replacement options. Learn more about Choosing a Roofing Professional.

For repairs, your roofing professional should follow these steps to create a safer, stronger roof:

  • Roof deck:  The roof deck should be inspected to determine if parts of it are rotted, delaminated, warped or structurally unsound. If it needs to be replaced, here’s how to strengthen the roof deck.
  • Inspect the framing members: If roof sheathing is damaged, the framing members under the sheathing should also be inspected to make sure that they are still sound and have not been damaged. If the framing members are damaged, ask your roofer to strengthen the connections in your structure when replacing the framing.  
  • Replace damaged sections: Damaged sections should be replaced with similar materials of the same thickness.
  • Re-nail the roof deck: The roof deck should be well attached to the rafters or trusses. Learn more on how to re-nail the roof deck for the greatest wind resistance.

Additional information on Critical Areas for Repairs.

Replacing Your Roof

If the damage is extensive or you’ve decided now is the time to add a stronger, more hurricane-resistant roof to your home, IBHS has several resources to help you get the best roof for your money. A high quality wind-resistant roof covering attached to a well anchored roof deck is one of the most critical elements in reducing your chances of extensive water damage. Be sure that these steps are followed by your roofing professional:

  • The old roof cover and underlying building paper or underlayment should be removed to expose the roof deck.
  • Inspection for damage should be conducted to determine if parts of it are rotted, delaminated, warped or structurally unsound. If so, these sections should be replaced with similar materials of the same thickness.
  • The roof deck should be re-nailed to provide a wind resistant connection to the roof framing.
  • The anchorage of roof deck/outlookers at gable ends (if any) should be improved.
  • Roof deck should be sealed after determining which option is best for your roof type.
  • Flashing and proper drip edge should be installed.
  • Roof cover installation of a high wind-rated covering should follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions for high-wind areas or local code requirements, if they are more restrictive.
  • Roof vents should all be high wind-rated and properly installed.
  • Soffits should be retrofitted to ensure they remain in place during high winds.

Visit the IBHS Roofing Resources Page for more information on hiring a roofing professional, and inspecting, repairing and replacing your roof.

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