Are You Prepared for the Next Windstorm?
A year ago today, our Michigan corporate office staff came into work expecting a normal early March day. It was relatively sunny and warm, giving our employees a great reason to trade in winter coats for spring windbreakers. It was a little windy, but we weren’t expecting what developed. Gusts of more than 60 mph made March 8, 2017, the worst windstorm in the area since 1978.
Power outages, downed trees, and damaged roofs became commonplace. Our office staff fielded hundreds of phone calls from concerned homeowners. We dispatched all our Advisors and extended our hours. One Advisor reported standing with a homeowner watching as more and more of her shingles blew off.
One year later, we thought it would be a wonderful time to revisit how to prepare your roof for high winds. High winds don’t just come by in infrequent windstorms; they can come with thunderstorms, tornados, and hurricanes. Wherever you live, here are a few tips to make sure you’re ready the next time the wind starts howling.
- Inspect Your Roof Regularly: We recommend doing so at least once a year, though in Spring and in Fall would be ideal. Cupping, curling, loose, or missing shingles are likely to get caught by the wind and come off. You’ll also want to make sure the roof is free of debris. Debris can become a dangerous projectile in high wind, and cause damage to the roof as it is blown around.
- Trim or Remove Hazardous Trees: Trees are beautiful, but when they are too close to a home, wind events can be disastrous. A tree blowing over can cause much damage to the roof, siding, and even interior portions of your home depending on where it lands. A good rule of thumb is to make sure that any trees are as far away from your home as they are tall.
- Time for a New Roof? Windproof it by Design: If your roof is at the end of its life cycle, make sure to choose a roofing system designed to survive in gusty conditions. Architectural shingles perform better than 3-Tab. There are even some shingles specifically designed to resist high winds. Additionally, ensure that it is installed with the appropriate amount of nails for maximum wind resistance. This can vary by manufacturer, but typically it is 6 nails per shingle. Speaking of nails, make sure your shingles are installed with nails and not staples. Most building codes require this because of the superior holding power of nails.
- Talk to your Insurance Company: Make sure your homeowner’s insurance has your back. Ensure that in the case of wind damage, your policy would be able to restore your home to the condition it was in before the storm. When you take actions to prevent wind damage (such as installing a new roofing system able to withstand strong gusts of wind) make sure to let your insurer know. Sometimes this can reduce the cost of your policy.
If your roof is damaged by wind, call a professional. They can help you assess the extent of the damage and work with your insurance company during your home restoration process.
As they say, “an ounce of preparation is worth a pound of cure”. Be ready for the next time Mother Nature throws a curveball at your roof!