Hurricane Season Looms: How Homeowners Can Help Shield Their House

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association Offers Storm Preparedness Tips to Protect Your Investment

WASHINGTON, D.C. (July 15, 2013) – Hurricane season is officially underway, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center is anticipating “an active or extremely active” hurricane season for 2013. The forecast foresees a 70-percent chance of 13-20 named storms this year, which could spell serious trouble for many coastal areas just now fully recovering from last year’s super storms. The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) says homeowners should take immediate action to safeguard their homes and prevent damage to their property.

A roof is a home’s first line of defense against the elements, and asphalt shingles have been proven to provide superior cover due to their durability, reliability and high performance. However, homeowners must ensure that their roof is secure and in good condition in order to face the worst of nature’s fury. ARMA recommends homeowners take the following precautionary steps before hurricane season is in full swing:

·         Know the wind-resistance rating of your roof covering. Asphalt shingles are rated according to wind-zone protection. Be sure to use an asphalt roofing product that meets or exceeds your area’s wind zone recommendations; check with your local building department for specific requirements. Asphalt shingles have been qualified for use in the highest wind regions in the U.S. through testing to ASTM standards. Homeowners are encouraged to contact individual manufacturers for information on asphalt shingle rating clarifications.

·         Make those small fixes and repairs. Work with a roofing contractor or a certified home inspector to evaluate your roof, and make needed repairs to flashing, caulking and shingles as soon as possible. Many leaks occur where roofs meet sidewalls and around penetrations such as skylights, vent pipes and chimneys. Missing or broken shingles need to be individually replaced, and loose shingle tabs should be re-adhered.

·         Check what’s above your roof. Dangling tree branches or those that scrape against a roof can cause significant damage. Cut back large branches which extend over roofs, and have a professional inspect your yard for trees that should be removed altogether. Also, clean out gutters and roof valleys clogged with leaves, branches or litter, which will help water drain properly.

·         Inspect for leaks. Even minor roof leaks can become a serious problem when a major hurricane arrives. To check for leaks, inspect interior walls and ceilings for old stains and water damage. Also, shine a flashlight into the attic during the next rainstorm and look for any active leaks on the underside of the roof deck.

·         Hurricane straps and clips – use them. These metal connectors secure a roof to a home’s frame structure. While they are required on new construction, older homes may not be reinforced. Look in your attic for metal bands or plates connecting rafters or roof trusses to the tops of the walls. If none are visible, consult a professional roofing contractor to ensure proper retrofit installation.

Note:  Always take precaution when inspecting the conditions of your roofing system and consult a roofing professional if necessary.

“Asphalt roofing shingles have a long history of reliability and performance in the face of the worst that Mother Nature has to offer,” said Reed Hitchcock, executive vice-president of ARMA. “Major storms and hurricanes are unpredictable by nature, so it is impossible to foresee what kind of damage they may inflict on a home. However, by following these recommendations and taking proactive measures, homeowners can make the small fixes now that will prevent them from having to make the big and costly fixes later on.”

For more information on asphalt roofing and storm preparedness, visit ARMA’s website at www.asphaltroofing.org. Homeowners should also stay informed of weather conditions, and familiarize themselves with other hurricane safety steps and measures recommended by governmental authorities, public utilities and emergency services providers.

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About ARMA

The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is the North American trade association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of bituminous-based residential and commercial fiberglass roofing products, roll roofing, built-up (BUR) roofing systems and modified bitumen roofing systems. For more information, please visit www.asphaltroofing.org.