Time and again, news reports detailing the aftermath of a hurricane have shown that roofs that remained intact were constructed to defend the home from severe storms. A durable roof is a home’s first line of defense against a storm. Loss of just a small section of shingles can result in severe interior damage to a home and its contents. Taking steps to help homeowners reduce risks to their roofs and home should be a top priority as hurricane season approaches.
When shingles are torn off by gale force winds, water can flood into a house. The losses can be many times greater than the cost of buying a high-rated, wind resistant shingle. Ceilings can collapse, walls become water soaked, and mold can grow in every crack and crevice.
If a roof is covered with a high-wind rated shingle and was installed properly, it is much more likely to survive severe weather. A quality roofing system with these Class IV shingles should be able to withstand winds up to 130 miles per hour (mph). A roof system made with shingles with a high wind rating will cost a little more than a basic asphalt shingle that may only be warranted up to 60 mph. However, it is like the classic television ad showing a mechanic stressing the importance of buying a new oil filter as opposed to a new engine. He hold’s up the filter and says, “You can pay me now,” then points to a car with a ruined engine, “or you can pay me later.” That could easily be a roofing contractor showing a wind-resistant shingle, or a home with ruined contents. “You can pay me now or you can pay me later.”
To understand why a high-wind rated roof system is worth the added cost, it helps to understand basics of the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. This rating system estimates potential property damage according to sustained wind speed.
40 - 60 mph: Small tree limbs may have fallen, but there is very little insured damage.
60 - 80 mph: Light structures without foundations, can experience damage at wind speeds in this range. Some roofs may have patches of missing shingles.
80 - 100 mph: Roofs on non-engineered buildings can be damaged and cladding destruction can be caused by blown debris. Trees with frail roots may fall.
100 - 120 mph: Structural damage to non-engineered buildings, such as wood frame and unreinforced masonry. Roof and cladding damage is likely to occur.
120 - 140 mph: Structural failure, possibly total, on non-engineered buildings will occur. A high wind-rated shingle, or one with the highest impact resistance, has the greatest probability of surviving these severe winds.
A roof that is built with quality construction materials and installed by a qualified roofing contractor will have the best chance of staying intact during severe weather. The selected roof system components, especially a Class IV shingle, can determine if a roof system will withstand the force of hurricane wind conditions and have a much greater chance surviving.