Ready or Not, Here I Come! Signed Hurricane Season

May 17, 2022

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Hurricane Preparedness

Some of the aspects that makes Florida so appealing to the thousands of newcomers each day is its weather, tropical environment, warmth year-round, and picturesque beaches. To anyone purchasing real estate in our lovely state, what's not to love? However, there is another aspect of weather we must consider when developing or guarding our real estate investments. That is: the inevitable storms and hurricanes which batter us regularly.

The question to ask yourself is… Is your roof Hurricane ready? As the season quickly approaches the coasts of Florida, taking preventative action towards your roof is crucial before a storm strikes.

While every element of storm preparation is important, the roof system is critical and most often overlooked. I would like to provide an outline of helpful information to ensure optimal safety for you, your family and loved ones this hurricane season.

During a storm the roof is a transfer point of wind energy and is part of your first line of defense against immediate and future damage. How your roof is built is as important as what it's made of. Your roof system should incorporate the following considerations: access, deck, slope, weight, traffic, local weather condition, wind zone, codes, insurance and budget constraints. Proper maintenance, and sometimes retrofitting of braces or hurricane straps, can help ensure that damage will be minimal when tough weather hits.

Every homeowner's association should designate someone responsible for the roof of their building. The roof should be treated as a depreciating asset and every step should be taken to manage this asset to ensure the benefit of its entire service life.

Do Conduct periodic inspections. Roof systems should be inspected twice a year by a qualified architect, engineer, roof consultant or roofing contractor who has a good understanding of the basic components of the roof system. Spring and Fall are the best times to do this because they are prior to and just after the severe Florida rainy and hurricane seasons.

Additional inspections should be ordered after severe hail and windstorms or after any installation of new mechanical equipment. If you haven't already assessed your property's vulnerability to wind loading, now is the time to do it.

Roofs rarely fail all at once and attention should be paid to each of the components. All good inspections should be performed with a checklist which prompts consideration of areas of concern. The checklist should allow you to rate the condition of the different components of the roof system. Every roof is different and special conditions always come into consideration.

Utilize preventive maintenance. This is the action taken as a result of the inspection process. It is very important that you select a contractor who specializes in this area. Preventive maintenance is a special part of the roofing trade, very different from conventional roofing contracting. Hiring a roof technician properly trained in all roof systems, who has served an apprenticeship of diagnosing the proper corrective procedures, is as important as taking your car to a mechanic that specializes in a specific make and model.

Providing the contractor with all historical information including the specific roof system, warranties, inspection reports and a list of previous problems and corrective action(s) taken will help ensure that the corrective process is performed properly. Warranties can be voided by manufacturers if dissimilar materials are used in an effort to correct a problem, or the wrong action is taken which only compounds the problem.

Do not rely on your warranty to keep your building dry or ensure total satisfaction with your roof system. It has been my experience that most roof warranties are used as marketing tools and are never even examined until a problem occurs.

Checklist before the hurricane hit

1. Perform a visual inspection of the roof.

2. Secure cables, wires and loose items on the roof.

3. Clear roof drains, gutters, scuppers and down spouts of any trash or debris.

4. Prune all tree branches that overhang the roof.

5. Look for loose or missing flashing.

6. Run water on the roof to check that the drains are flowing properly.

7. 2. Gently apply slight pressure to the gutters to make sure they are securely fastened.

8. Look for loose, curled or missing shingles or roof tiles. Pay attention to the edges of the roof. High winds get under these areas and work loose other shingles - a domino effect that can cause damage across the entire roof.

9. Check your attic or underside of the roof deck. Look for signs of leaks or deterioration. Look for points of light coming through the roof. The light means gaps in the roof that will allow water and wind in.