For customers living and working in coastal areas, preparing for hurricane season is vital as these storms can cause serious damage to homes and businesses.
While the development of tropical cyclones (hurricanes) is possible any time of year, activity is more likely during the official Atlantic Hurricane Season, which spans from June 1 to November 30. The 2018 season was marked by the early development of Subtropical Storm Alberto (May 25). Alberto is one of a record four subtropical storms to occur in a single season, which hasn’t occurred since 1974. This longer-lasting storm activity and increase in frequency has led experts to warn of an increased threat of hurricane impact and serves as evidence that anyone on the eastern US and Gulf of Mexico coastlines should stay prepared.
During extreme weather events, the roof is one of the most vulnerable areas of a structure, evidenced by roof cover damage accounting for most insurance claims not related to storm surges during hurricanes. Roof cover damage is one of the most dangerous and devastating effects of a hurricane as even partial damage can leave the rest of the structure vulnerable to wind, water and other elements. Metal roofing can can resist winds up to 140-mph and features interlocking panels that provide unique strength and security. This durability enables metal roofing to withstand abuse from not only the high winds of tropical storms and hurricanes, but also wildfires, hailstorms, tornadoes and floods seen across the country. Metal roofs also have fewer seams, meaning there are fewer entry points for water that can potentially soak attic insulation and cause ceiling collapse and other damage. In addition, a properly-installed, thick-gauge metal roof can last up to 50 years before needing to be replaced—more than double the lifespan of traditional asphalt shingle roofs your customers are no doubt accustomed to.
Tips to Help Your Customers Protect Their Metal Roof
As with any kind of roof, maintenance is integral to protecting your investment. Simple precautions can be taken to ensure your metal roof is kept in optimal condition and ready for hurricane season.
- Professional inspection
Prevention is key. To maintain the strength and durability of metal roofs, your customers should have a licensed metal roofing professional inspect it regularly. While your customers can manually inspect their roof themselves, a qualified roofing inspector can thoroughly examine it, identify areas of concern and provide a detailed report including roof life expectancy, photos and repair estimates. Professional inspectors can also make hurricane preparedness recommendations based on your customer’s roof type.
- Check for rust, loose screws and flaking paint
When rust develops on metal, it can accelerate degradation, compromising the structural integrity of your customer’s structure and leaving it vulnerable—particularly in inclement weather. While ABC offers galvanized and coated metal panels that prevent rust from occurring, standing water and heat from direct exposure to the sun can degrade this protection over time. Therefore, it is important that your customers regularly check for rusty and loose screws as well as flaking paint which can also cause rust to develop. If rust is discovered, they should contact their roofing contractor for repair options.
- Install hurricane straps
An added layer of protection from high winds, hurricane straps (also known as roof tie-downs) securely tie rafters to load-bearing walls. Made of galvanized metal, they can attach to any type of roof, protecting it and the structure beneath, as well as keeping it from detaching and causing damage to nearby structures and objects. Many homes already have them (depending on how old the roof is), but even structures with hurricane straps should be checked to make sure they were installed properly.
- Add roof reinforcements
Although metal roofing is resistant to wind-related damage, adding reinforcements can decrease the likelihood of damage – particularly if your customer’s building project is located in a hurricane-prone area. To reinforce their metal roof, your customers can add sturdy overlapping materials on top such as heavier metal panels or two-by-fours. A professional roofing contractor can advise your customer on the best reinforcement option for their structure.
- Brace gable ends
Gable ends experience a lot of exposure to high winds, making them vulnerable to wind damage. If your customer’s structure has a gable end, they should ensure that it has been solidly built and is braced appropriately.
- Trim your trees
Trees that hang over your customer’s roof can be dangerous any time of year, but particularly during a hurricane. Falling tree limbs can cause severe roof damage, allow water into the structure, cause electrical issues or even injure someone inside. Trimming trees to is an easy way to prevent damage and injury.
- Perform an interior inspection
If your customer is experiencing issues with their roof, chances are that they will also see damage on the inside of the structure. Your customers should be aware of any spots, stains, peeling paint and daylight seeping in. These are all serious indicators of a compromised roof and should be addressed immediately.
Choosing metal panels as a roofing solution is the first step to preventing damage to homes and buildings during hurricane season. There are, however, extra precautions your customers can take to prevent damage and protect their investment.
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Note: This post was updated from a previously-published version.