If you want to prevent damage to your home during a hurricane, keep a lid on it. Your roof takes the brunt of a hurricane, which can pack winds in excess of 155 mph. These winds exert an uplift effect that can pull off roof shingles, tiles, or even the underlying roof deck. A well-maintained roof is better able to fend off high hurricane winds.
Get up close and personal with your roof
Set aside one day a year to inspect your roof. Begin by checking the roofing, either on the roof itself or from the ground with binoculars. If heights aren’t your thing, you can hire a professional roof inspector for about $175.
Look for curled, loose, or missing shingles or roof tiles. Pay particular attention to the edges of the roof. These weak spots allow high winds to work loose other shingles—a domino effect that could really wreak havoc.
Check your attic
If you have access to your attic, inspect the roof from the inside as well.
- Look for points of light coming through the roof. That light means gaps that can let in wind and water.
- Examine the rafters or trusses for protruding nail tips, which indicate that the plywood roof deck might not be properly secured against damage from hurricane winds.
Toughen up your roofing
There are some relatively simple and inexpensive ways you can make your roof less susceptible to hurricane damage:
- Apply roofing cement under shingle tabs, using a caulking gun.
- Run a bead of construction adhesive along the seam between the rafter and deck to provide added strength.
- Apply roofing cement to the edges of the roofing where sides of shingles are exposed.
Strengthen your roof structure
A roofing contractor may be able install metal “hurricane” clips or straps that connect your roof to your home’s walls. This added structural support makes it less likely that your roof will be ripped off by the high winds of a hurricane. Clips are inexpensive but difficult to retrofit in an existing home because space to work is usually limited.
Check for discounts on home owner’s insurance
To encourage you to take steps to minimize damage, your insurer may offer discounts for hurricane-mitigation improvements, especially hurricane clips and straps.
In Florida’s Miami-Dade County, for example, the annual insurance premium on an older home insured for $150,000 runs between $3,000 and $8,000, assuming no hurricane-mitigation improvements. With improvements, the same home would cost between $1,000 and $3,500 to insure.