Keeping the roof on your house

Posted May 23, 2009 2:57 p.m. EDT
Updated September 4, 2019 4:40 p.m. EDT

The strength of a home's roof can determine whether it survives a hurricane.

The roof is one of four "force intrusion areas" that are key to protect before a storm hits. The other areas are windows, entry doors and garage doors.

“Once air pressure moves through a hole in a roof and into the home during a hurricane, it can literally blow out the walls and windows of the home,” said Ray Rosewall, president and CEO of DaVinci Roofscapes. “Coastal area homeowners – especially those in potential hurricane areas – need to have well-installed, solid roofs overhead to protect their homes and prized possessions.”

As a first step, coastal homeowners should make sure they have proper bracing, such as galvanized metal hurricane straps, to connect the roof to the walls of the home. This can help prevent uplift during hurricane-force winds.

For a second step, consider impact-resistant synthetic roofing tiles that have been formulated and tested to withstand hurricane strength winds and severe impact.

As one of 10 steps to build a disaster-resistant roof, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes recommends selecting an impact-resistant roof covering tested to meet standards for wind and impact resistance. FLASH recommends using the standards of ASMT D 3161 enhanced or UL 2390 for wind resistance and UL 2218 for impact resistance. To achieve these ratings, companies use independent third parties to test their roofing materials.

"This means these products can be installed in wind zone areas reaching 150 mph, which is the top range of a category 4 hurricane. Additionally, they have a Class 4 rating for impact resistance from flying debris during a hurricane," said Roswell.

“Having a synthetic roof overhead means you have gone the extra mile to increase the odds that your home, personal belongings and family treasures will be there when the severe weather has passed,” says Rosewall. “And, in many areas, there’s the added benefit that selecting this type of roofing can lower your homeowners insurance bills.”