With spring temperatures warming things up, it's time to start thinking about hurricane preparations for your house. While you cannot completely prevent any risk of hurricane damage to your roof, there are steps that you can take now to reduce the risk of any damage in the event of a hurricane. Since the winds of a hurricane can exceed 150 miles per hour, being proactive is important. By starting now, you'll allow yourself plenty of time to address issues and add protections before the storm season starts. Especially if this is the first hurricane season you've faced, you'll want some tips to make sure that your roof is as safe as possible. Here are a few things that you should do.
Start the Process with a Comprehensive Inspection
Of all of the components of your house, the roof has the most exposure to hurricane-force winds. The uplift created by hurricane winds can strip roofing shingles, tiles, and roof deck material off the roof. If you have any damaged areas, those will be the most vulnerable to these issues. By inspecting the roof in the early spring, you'll be able to identify any weak or damaged areas that need attention before any rough weather comes in.
You'll have to get up at the roof level with a secure ladder. Look for any missing, loose, or curled roofing tiles or shingles. Those will need to be replaced before the storm. Closely examine the edges of the roof for damage, because that area is particularly at risk. Also, look closely at the nails holding the shingles in place. The nails should be flat and secure, and there shouldn't be any missing.
If the house has an attic, look at the interior of the roof area, too. Look for any signs of sunlight getting through the roof or around the seams of the wall, because that can indicate that there's a gap there. Those gaps may let hurricane winds get underneath the roof, which could cause serious damage. Also check your trusses and rafters for any nails that may be protruding, because that's a sign that the roof deck isn't as secure as it should be.
Repair Any Identified Issues
If you noticed any problems with the shingles, nails, or rafters, you'll want to address them right away. Replace any missing nails in the shingles, secure any nails that are protruding from the trusses and seal any gaps inside where the roof meets the walls. You can use spray insulation, caulk, or anything similar to seal those spaces. You should also seal the edges of your shingles with roofing cement. This helps to create a seal that blocks wind from getting underneath the shingles.
Support the Trusses
Once your roof is addressed, it's time to support the roof trusses. Add bracing to the trusses by installing lateral support beams. The added support of the lateral beams will brace the roof and offer more support and reinforcement. This may help you protect against severe wind damage.
Use Hurricane Straps
In places where hurricanes come with excessive winds, such as categories three and above, your roofing contractor might recommend the use of hurricane straps on your roof. These straps are designed to keep the trusses in place on the studs. If your home is at risk of upward wind drafts, these straps will help to keep your roof secure.
Since hurricane season can be unpredictable, the better prepared you are, the greater your chances are of coming through the season with your home unscathed.The sooner you address the potential risks, the easier it's going to be to add safety measures. If you're not comfortable working on your roof, talk with a local roofing contractor, like one from Davis Bros Roofing, to have the inspection and work done professionally instead.