From hurricanes to hail and torrential downpours to wind shears, the roof is the first line of defense for a home. Isn’t it time you took a second look at everything you can do to storm-proof your roof?
How important is a roof? Well, your roof is more than a shingled umbrella; it’s crucial to your home’s structural integrity. Lose your roof and you may lose the whole house. What you many not realize is that most houses are not constructed with roofs designed to handle the stress of a major storm. Making upgrades and improvements is often the only way to ensure a roof has the ability to withstand extreme weather. This improvement process is called retrofitting. With that in mind, the following are a few ways you can retrofit different kinds of roofs so that the only thing you end up losing is the power when the next storm rolls around.
Shingle RoofsWhen retrofitting a shingle roof to storm-proof it, the single most important factor is the condition of the roof shingle.
Depending on the shingle rating, there are several courses of action you can take to retrofit the roof shingles. For slightly worn shingles you can use asphalt roof cement to both reinforce and even repair loose shingle tabs. A more heavily worn roof can similarly be patched up with roof cement. Given enough wear and tear you may also have to bite the bullet and reroof. This checklist can help with both shingle evaluation and retrofitting advice.
Whether storm-proofing a tile roof through retrofitting is even possible is a matter of some debate. To the extent tiles can be fixed in place, the following is suggested:
The most vulnerable tiles in a storm are the hip/ridge and eave tiles. These tiles should be reinstalled using new two part expanding foam adhesives and affixed to a wood or metal hip/ridge board. For more specific information on how to do this visit here.
Metal RoofsMetal roofs seem to perform well in storms. Therefore, it’s less about retrofitting and more about being diligent with regular upkeep. For instance, you should regularly check for rust around screws. There are a few areas where retrofits can be accommodated, such as adding fasteners if the spacing is too great between the existing ones, or replacing loose fasteners with larger ones.
Gable End Overhangs
Often overlooked, but just as important to a roof’s integrity during a storm, are the gable end overhangs. The wind force on overhangs cannot be overstated, meaning proper connection and integration into the roof frame is absolutely crucial. Retrofitting depends largely on whether the gable end overhang was constructed using the ladder detail or with outlookers.
Ladder detail constructed gable ends with overhangs greater than 8-12 inches can have their connection to the roof strengthened using ¼ inch diameter lag screws.
Gable end overhangs constructed with outlookers can be strengthened with saddle type hurricane clips or smaller H2.5 style clips. Outlookers can also benefit from the installation of a 2x4 joist hanger where the outlookers butt up against the second truss/rafter from the gable end.
For more detail on gable end reinforcement go here.
Gable End BracingA gable end is a triangular wall that sits on top of a rectangular one. If you have one and it fails during a storm, the damage can be catastrophic. The good news is, of all the retrofits on this list, gable end walls are among the easiest to strengthen. However, because so many retrofits are possible, and the sizes and styles of gable ends are so varied, there’s no one-size fits all approach. With that in mind, there are two primary retrofits. The first involves strengthening the wall itself and connecting the gable end wall to the house so it doesn’t get pulled off or pushed inward. The second is the wall-to-wall connection. This involves connecting the gable end wall to the outside wall below it.
You can find more detailed information on gable end wall reinforcements here.
Storm-proofing a roof by retrofitting it with the necessary upgrades is no small task. Those with home improvement experience can likely tackle the process on their own. For everyone else, hiring a professional is the best option. Regardless of the time and expense involved, anyone who has experienced storm damage knows it’s worth it. Tim Reinhold, director of engineering and vice president of the Institute for Business and Home Safety says that, “When you have enough damage to have a claim, 90 percent of homes have roof damage.” Given the statistics, roof retrofitting is less an option than it is a necessity everyone needs to consider.
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