5 Ways to Prepare Your Roof for Hurricane Season
Hurricane season is here and the season will run all the way through November 30th, 2015. A major hurricane, defined as a category 3 or higher on the Saffir-Simpson Scale has not hit the US since 2005 (Hurricane Wilma in October of 2005), but we still haven’t been a stranger to a devastating storm. In 2012 for example, Hurricane Sandy was responsible for over 150 deaths and caused over $50 billion in damage. Technically speaking, Sandy was an “extra-tropical cyclone” when it hit. It doesn’t take a major hurricane to cause damage to a home, and when your roof isn’t in great shape the integrity of your home can be compromised by as little as outer bands from a tropical storm or even a heavy thunderstorm.
For many, the roof is an afterthought and tends to receive the least amount of TLC when preparing your home for hurricane season. Only when we notice stains on the ceiling do we wonder if there is a leak, but the roofs integrity could already be deteriorating before even seeing the first water spot on the ceiling. Below you will find 5 ways to prepare your roof for hurricane season.
Get a roof inspection
The first tip to prepare your roof for hurricane season is to get a roof inspection by a qualified roofing contractor. While there is a few ways to manually inspect your roof yourself that we will discuss later, a qualified roofing contractor has the knowledge and experience to find any weak areas on the roof, and give you a detailed report including life expectancy and estimates for repairs. A detailed roof inspection should include the full report, pictures of your home, and and an estimate for any repairs. Feel free to discuss the inspection report with your roofing contractor and go over ways to secure your roof in the event of a hurricane.
Learn about Roof Tie-Downs
Consider installing roof tie-downs, otherwise known as “hurricane straps” on your roof. Not every roof will need tie-downs but it’s a good idea to discuss them with your Sarasota roofing contractor. Tie-Downs help to brace your roof in very high winds and severe storms such as hurricanes. To prepare your roof for hurricane season, it may be a good idea to invest in hurricane straps if your home needs them.
trim trees before a hurricane
Trim your trees
This tip to prepare your roof for hurricane season is also a good practice for your roof any time of the year. Trees that hang over your roof and near your home can be dangerous in a hurricane. When winds pick up, tree limbs can too. Trees are susceptible to disease and it doesn’t take a lot for a diseased limb to snap. If a tree limb falls on your roof it can cause severe damage to your roof and allow water to intrude your home, cause electrical issues, or even hurt someone inside the home where the limb hits. Trees can also cause debris to build up on the roof, especially in the valleys. Leaves, pine needles, sticks, and other debris can form a pile of mulch on your roof. When “mulch” gets wet, it stays wet. This can cause the shingles underneath to deteriorate, and worse, the roofing structure to rot. Trimming back your trees on your Florida roof will ensure that throughout the year you will keep your roof clean and also help your prepare for hurricane season.
Clean your gutters and drainage systems
It’s easy to neglect your gutters and drainage systems throughout the year. In the event of a hurricane or major storm, it’s imperative that you take the time to clean them out prior to a storm. Clear all leaves and debris from gutters and drainage systems. Make sure all down spouts and gutters are clear of debris so that rain water can flow through them. If there is a storm and a build up of debris in your gutter, water not flowing freely can back up and intrude your home. Clean out the eaves of your roof of any debris as well to prevent build up.
Get out the binoculars
Safety is a major concern when it comes to inspecting your roof yourself. This is why it’s important to hire a professional roofing contractor to do the work. However, there is a few ways you can inspect your roof yourself to locate any issues and then discuss with your roofing contractor. Get up close and personal with your roof using a ladder, but for your own safety there is no need to get up there and walk around. Not only is it unsafe for you, but it’s better for your roof not to walk on it! Instead, pull out some binoculars and work your way around the house noting any problem areas you find. Here’s what to look for when inspecting your roof:
Missing, warped, or broken shingles
Rust spots on flashing
Cracked or worn boots around pipes
Popped up nails that can quickly be hammered down
Shingles that are curling or buckling
Excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutters (This can signal that your shingles have reached their maximum life)
Not all roof inspections have to be done on the outside. Look for issues indoors as well to pinpoint any issues before they get worse. There are many unforeseen dangers of a leaking roof that you should be aware of. Check for spots and stains on the ceiling, paint that is peeling, damp stains (check if it’s still damp or an old moisture spot) on wood, rafters or wet attic insulation. When in your attic ensure that you can not see daylight!
It’s important that your home is ready for hurricane season, and a major part of your home is your roof. All too often, homeowners neglect to take care of their roof before it’s too late. What could be a simple repair can turn into a costly repair and could lessen the life of your roof. While metal roofing and tile is built to last longer than shingle roofing, shingle roofs that are well maintained can protect your home for many years. Even a metal or tile roof needs to be maintained, regardless of life expectancy. Hiring a licensed roofing contractor to inspect and maintain your roof is a great way to ensure the integrity of your roof, and subsequently your home. If your roof has reached it’s maximum life, it’s important to get ahead of the game and start budgeting to replace the roof.
Florida Southern Roofing would be happy to assist you during Hurricane Season and help you ensure your roof is ready for any potential storm. We can come out and give you a FREE roofing estimate for any repairs or to replace your roof. We also offer inspection and maintenance services for your roof. With over 40 years in roofing, we are your trusted Sarasota roofing contractor.