High Winds and Roofs: How to Stay Safe

Throughout the year, home and business owners should remain vigilant about the integrity of their roofs in the presence of strong winds. This is especially true for those of us in the Chicago area, as well as those living in hurricane zones.

Certain factors in relation to your roof’s construction can lead to higher risks, and it’s important to be aware of them, as well as to be sure you work with a knowledgeable roofing contractor to ensure proper securement and make sure all local codes/regulations are met.

Key factors to consider are your location, winds speeds in your area, the height of your roof, and whether there are parapet walls around your roof. Problems that can occur include:

  • Roof blowoffs: This is when the roofing has pulled away from the edge along the perimeter of the roof. This may expose the thermal insulation under the membrane or directly expose the roof deck, leading to potential for significant water intrusion into the building.
  • Loose-laid roofs: If there is insufficient ballast (too little river rock or too few pavers, for example), the wind can begin to lift the membrane and move the ballast away from the perimeter. This increases the likelihood of a potential blowoff or continuing winds to pull the flashings away from the structure.

It’s not all bad news, though. The right roofing contractor can take measures to prevent and repair these problems. This may include enhancing perimeter gravel stops, which are secured to make sure the gravel stays in place, or adding ballast (river rock), to keep the roof system in place. Additional measures may include adding pavers and/or installment bars to maintain the integrity of the roof. A knowledgeable professional can determine the guidelines to be met for preventing roof blow off.

A good roofing contractor will also be aware of the relevant codes and standards, which vary by region. In Florida, for example, requirements are more stringent due to higher winds and hurricanes. A knowledgeable professional will also be aware of these important guidelines and classifications, as seen here.

You’re not expected to know everything about the risks associated with high winds and the measures to take. You simply need to know there are risks to your building associated with high winds. Find a trusted professional to take the necessary preventative measures for you, keeping you and your roof safe and secure.

 

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