Welcome to Hurricane Season 2016. As Jimmy Buffett sings, “Squalls out on the Gulf Stream, big storm comin‘ soon.” Houston residents, already weary from an almost unprecedented number of spring storms and record-setting floods, are now facing the 2016 hurricane season. And while there is no way to stop the onslaught of storms brewing out there in the Gulf of Mexico, wise homeowners know that making necessary roof repairs now can save money and heartache when the wind starts whipping.
Getting Your Ducks in Line
Before the first storm hovers on the horizon, take some proactive steps to assess the condition of your roof. According to the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety, damage to roofs is the number one reason cited in insurance claims unrelated to storm surges.
Below are some tips for protecting your roof from wind and water damage due to hurricanes.
- Get out the ladder and climb up on your roof’s surface to evaluate its condition. If you don’t feel capable of doing roof repairs and inspections safely yourself, call a qualified roofing professional to do it for you. Inspect it for loose or peeling shingles, soft spots, cracks, blisters or buckling.
- Use nails or caulking to secure loose roof tiles or shingles. If there are only a few loosened shingles, you may be able to accomplish this task on your own, but more extensive roof repairs may require professional assistance.
- Remember that all roofs are not the same. Depending upon the shape and style of the roof, its ability to withstand high winds varies. Gabled roofs experience higher wind pressure during hurricanes, so making sure that gables are properly braced is imperative. Inspections must be done from inside of the attic; check for reinforcing 2 x 4s or other kinds of framing boards as supportive connections to roof trusses or other horizontal or diagonal supports.
- What about your gutters? Some homes have them, others don’t, but if yours does, keeping them unclogged and free of debris is needed to prevent damage to the roof and the home itself. Gutters should be cleaned seasonally, but it’s a good idea to check them for debris after any major storm impacts your area.
- Determining the condition of the roof deck is also important. Check for evidence of leaks, e.g., drip marks, water stains and dark spots. Inspect the deck on a sunny day to spot any cracks where sunlight filters in.
- The wind resistance of a home is dependent upon the security of the roof’s connections to the walls of the home. Many homeowners who live close to the Gulf of Mexico use hurricane straps to secure their roofs. Securing your roof now can help prevent having to make costly roof repairs later.
It’s very important to photograph all the damages you repair. One of the grounds of denials for insurance claims is that your property wasn’t properly maintained to withstand a storm. Having photographic evidence of roof repairs can bolster a claim. Make sure that you save all your roof repair photos to the cloud for storage purposes, as well as scanned receipts of materials purchased to make pre-storm roof repairs.
Trim Trees Before the Storms Come
Even a newly roofed home done by professionals is vulnerable to damage from trees and large limbs. Trees that topple onto a house can cause dangerous collapses, and loose limbs become projectiles in hurricane-force winds. Walk around your property and assess the vulnerability of old trees and low-hanging limbs that could do damage after a storm comes roiling out of the Gulf.
It’s well worth the investment to hire a tree-trimming company to remove potentially dangerous, rotting trees and limbs from your property that can become serious liabilities.
Could it Be Time to Consider Venting Your Roof?
Over time, heat and moisture build up and damage attic interiors, including the underside of the roof deck. Some homeowners decide to combat the problem by venting their roof. A vented roof can provide cooling relief in subtropical climates, reduce electricity consumption and lower your cooling bills. During the cooler months, vented roofs have less moisture accumulation that can cause structural damage to your home.
Another benefit of a vented roof is that shingles tend to last longer when the heat has an escape route. For best results, you want to ensure that the intake and exhaust vents are equally sized and balanced to allow the moisture and heat to escape evenly. Strive for a gentle airflow from the bottom of the eaves, up the rafters to ridge vents atop the roof’s peak.
Some homeowners resist venting due to the fear that the vents can allow access to rodents and other creatures seeking shelter in the attic. When installed by experienced roofing professionals, vents should not offer access to critters or let rain come in to the home.
When in Doubt, Call the Professionals Out
When you are working and raising a family, it can be difficult to find the time to make roof repairs. Even when time is not a factor, many homeowners lack the skills and/or tools needed to attempt preventive or restorative roof repairs. There’s no shame in reaching out to qualified roofing professionals to assess and evaluate the condition of your roof. In fact, making roof repairs now can provide homeowners with not just peace of mind, but proof of their diligence in maintaining their property. This comes in handy if hurricane damage makes it necessary to file a claim with either FEMA or their homeowner’s insurance company.
Here at Acadian Roofing, we offer tile, slate and pre-finished standing seam roofing, as well as balcony waterproofing and other services. Our experienced roofers can come out and inspect the condition of your roof and offer an assessment of the repairs that are needed to protect your biggest investment — your family’s home. Call us today at 713-463-7663 to set up your roof inspection.