Hurricane Season Returns: How to Keep the Roof Over Your Head

Timely Tips for Homeowners from the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association

New York (June 5, 2007) – Hurricane season officially starts this month, and the National Weather Service is predicting a stormy 2007.  The forecast calls for potentially up to 17 named storms this year, and warns homeowners in storm-prone areas to be prepared. While this is reason for concern, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) says homeowners should not panic—there is still time to safeguard your home and prevent damage to your roof.

ARMA recommends the following precautions, especially to homeowners in coastal areas likely to experience the strongest winds and heaviest rainfall:

  • Do preventive maintenance now. Consult with a roofing contractor or certified home inspector to evaluate your roof, and make needed repairs to flashing, caulking and shingles before the first storm arrives. Most leaks occur where roofs meet sidewalls and around penetrations such as skylights, vent pipes and chimneys. Missing or broken shingles can be individually replaced, and loose shingle tabs can be re-adhered with an application of asphalt roofing cement.
  • Increase your home’s storm survival odds. If your home needs a new roof, don’t delay until after the storm season. The cost of replacing a roof is only a fraction of the potential loss that could result to a home’s interior, furnishings and possessions.
  • Choose roofing products rated for high wind protection. Asphalt shingles are now rated according to wind zone protection. Be sure to use a roofing product that meets or exceeds your area’s wind zone recommendations. Contact individual manufacturers for information on newly classified asphalt shingles.
  • Keep nature in check. Fallen tree branches or those that scrape against a roof can cause significant damage. Cut back large branches extending 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. Clogs can prevent water from draining properly.
  • Check for leaks before they happen. Even minor roof leaks that go unnoticed can become a big problem when a major storm hits. To detect leaks, look on interior walls and ceilings for old stains and water damage that indicate a leak occurred. Also, take a flashlight into the attic during the next rainstorm and check for active leaks on the underside of the roof deck and rafters.
  • Install hurricane straps and clips. 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.

“Just as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urges citizens in storm-prone areas to prepare disaster kits, we are advising them to also take steps to limit or avoid damage to the roof over their head,” says Reed Hitchcock, general manager of ARMA. “Even though asphalt shingles are proven to be durable and effective in extreme weather conditions, there is no assurance that any type of roof will outlast a severe hurricane event. By following ARMA’s recommendations, homeowners will know they have the best protection they can afford.” 

For more information about hurricanes and the performance of asphalt shingles visit ARMA’s website at www.asphaltroofing.org or contact Dan Fernandez at (212) 297-2121 to interview an ARMA roofing expert.

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