Southwest Florida is no stranger to hurricanes. We’ve had direct hits by Irma, Charlie and Gabrielle since 2000, and numerous near-misses that have brought heavy rain, strong winds and even tornadoes. In fact, Southwest Florida is tied with South Florida as the second most hurricane-prone area in the state.
Your roof is your primary line of defense against a hurricane, but it’s also one of the most vulnerable parts of your house during a storm. That said, you should know how to prepare your roof and ensure it’s in good condition before the winds pick up and rain starts falling.
Wondering where to start with hurricane roof preparation? Read on to learn five ways to help your roof survive a hurricane. But first, learn how a hurricane can damage your roof.
How Can a Hurricane Damage Your Roof?
Your roof can be subject to high winds, flying debris and torrential rain during a hurricane. All of this can lead to severe damage, such as:
- Broken or missing shingles
- Cracked shingles or tiles
This damage can leave your home vulnerable to further damage from the storm and put your family at risk. That’s why you should take the time to hurricane-proof your roof before the storm hits.
How Can You Prepare Your Roof for a Hurricane?
If you love your home, you won’t hesitate to protect your roof from the potentially devastating effects of a hurricane. Here are five ways to get your roof ready for hurricane season:
1. Get Your Roof Inspected Before the Storm
The best way to ensure your roof is hurricane-ready is to schedule a professional roof inspection.
You might think that you can inspect your roof on your own to save on the inspection cost. However, there is some damage you can’t spot if you have no training in roofing.
A trusted, licensed roofing contractor will identify any areas of weakness or damage and make repairs as needed. The professionals will identify loose tiles or shingles and fix them. Plus, the roofing inspector will also check for any other damage, such as leaks, and provide you with options for repairs before a hurricane threatens the area. They can also let you know if your home requires a roof replacement.
Don’t wait until the weatherperson is telling you a hurricane is coming to get your roof inspected. Schedule an inspection at least once a year, preferably in the spring. This will give you plenty of time to make necessary repairs or replacements before hurricane season hits.
2. Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
Your gutters and downspouts play an important role in protecting your roof during a hurricane as they redirect water away from your roof and prevent pooling. If your gutters and downspouts are full of debris, they won’t do their job properly. Water will pool on your roof, leading to leaks and other moisture damage.
To avoid this, clean your gutters and downspouts regularly. You should also inspect them for any damage, such as cracks or holes. You need to repair any issues before the hurricane season to prevent water from seeping into your home.
3. Trim Trees and Shrubs
Here in Southwest Florida, trees and shrubs provide much-needed shade and privacy. However, they can also be a source of danger during a hurricane. Winds can overpower even the strongest trees near your house during a storm.
If tree branches hang over your roof, they can be torn off by high winds and destroy both roofing shingles and tiles. Alternately, branches can also rub against your roofing materials, causing them to break or tear. This can leave your roof vulnerable to leaks and other damage.
To protect your roof, trim any trees or shrubs that hang over it. You should also remove any dead branches or dying trees. These could fall and cause damage to your roof during a hurricane.
4. Bring in All Lawn Furniture and Patio Decorations
One way to prepare for a hurricane is to bring any lawn furniture or patio decorations inside before the storm season begins. Decorations include potted plants, birdbaths, exterior lighting systems, fountains, statues and wind chimes.
Put the items in a storage shed or garage to keep them away from high winds that can turn them into dangerous projectiles during a hurricane. Unsecured, these items can cause severe damage to your roof or windows. Even worse, they could fly to your neighbor’s house and cause damage that you may be responsible for.
It’ll be especially vital to secure large items like grills and patio furniture. These objects could cause serious damage if they become flying debris.
5. Ensure Your Insurance Is Up To Date
Before hurricane season, you should check your homeowners’ insurance policy to ensure it’s up to date. Your policy should cover the cost of repairing or replacing your roof if a hurricane damages it.
If your policy has lapsed, you’ll need to renew it before a hurricane starts tracking toward our area. Otherwise, you’ll have to pay for the repairs or replacement out of pocket.
You should also check with your insurance company to see if they have any specific requirements for hurricane-proofing your home. Some companies may require you to take specific steps to ensure your home is protected. If you don’t comply with their requirements, your policy may not cover the cost of repairs.
Ensure you completely understand your insurance policy and what it covers before hurricane season begins.
Make Plans to Prepare Your Roof for a Hurricane
Hurricane season can be a stressful time for homeowners in Southwest Florida. But if you take the time to prepare your roof, you can minimize the damage a hurricane causes. Follow these hurricane-proofing tips to help your roof withstand a hurricane.
Don’t wait for the hurricane season to start to prepare your roof. Start by scheduling a roofing inspection with Roof Rx, the most trusted local roofing contractor in Southwest Florida. Our professionals will tell you whether you need roof repairs or replacement to ensure that your roof is in the best possible condition to weather a hurricane.
Contact us today to get started on preparing your roof.