Tag: roof protection

  • How to Protect Your Roof during Hurricanes

    Hurricane season is among us.  While we typically are not directly affected in our area, we all can remember the damage that was caused by Hurricane Sandy a few years ago.  Although most of the damage was along the shore lines of New Jersey and New York, many of us in the Pennsylvania area experienced high wind damage, power outages and flooding.  High winds typically represent the largest amount of damage due to hurricanes.

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency outlines steps that you can make now to minimize the wind damage to your roof, whether on the coast or inland:

    “During a windstorm, the force of the wind pushes against the outside of your home. That force is passed along from your roof to the exterior walls and finally to the foundation. Homes can be damaged or destroyed when the energy from the wind is not properly transferred to the ground.

    The first thing you should do is determine what kind of roof you have. Homes with gabled roofs are more likely to suffer damage during a hurricane. A gabled roof looks like an A on the ends, with the outside wall going to the top of the roof. The end wall of a home with a gabled roof takes a beating during a hurricane, and those that are not properly braced can collapse, causing major damage to the roof.

    Gabled Roof

    In most homes, gabled roofs are built using manufactured trusses. Sheets of roof sheathing, often plywood, are fastened to the trusses with nails or staples, and roofing material is fastened to the sheathing. In many cases, the only thing holding the trusses in place is the plywood on top.

    This may not be enough to hold the roof in place during a hurricane. Installing additional truss bracing makes your roof’s truss system much stronger.

    To inspect your roof’s bracing, go into the attic. While working in your attic, you should wear clothing that covers your skin, work gloves, a hat, eye protection, and a dust mask. If your attic does not have a floor, be careful to walk only on the wood joists, or install boards wide enough to walk on as you work. Notice how the plywood is attached to the truss system. If most of the large nails or staples coming through the sheathing have missed the trusses, consider having the sheathing properly installed.

    Truss bracing

    In gabled roofs, truss bracing usually consists of 2´ 4s that run the length of the roof. If you do not have truss bracing, it should be installed. You can do this yourself or hire a professional. Install 2´ 4s the length of your roof, overlapping the ends of the 2´ 4s across two trusses. Braces should be installed 18 inches from the ridge, in the center span, and at the base, with 8 to 10 feet between the braces. Use two 3-inch, 14-gauge wood screws or two 16d (16 penny) galvanized common nails at each truss. Because space in attics is generally limited, screws may be easier to install.

    Gable end bracing

    Gable end bracing consists of 2´ 4s placed in an “X” pattern from the top center of the gable to the bottom center brace of the fourth truss, and from the bottom center of the gable to the top center brace of the fourth truss. Use two 3-inch, 14-gauge wood screws or two 16d galvanized common nails to attach the 2´ 4s to the gable and to each of the four trusses.

    Hurricane straps

    There are many types of roof design. Regardless of your type of roof, hurricane straps are designed to help hold your roof to the walls. While you are in the attic, inspect for hurricane straps of galvanized metal. Hurricane straps may be difficult for homeowners to install. You may need to call a professional to retrofit your home with hurricane straps. Check with your local government building officials to see if hurricane straps are required in your area.

    The recommendations provided are not intended to replace local building code requirements or to serve as the only options for protecting your home from hurricane wind damage. For more information on protecting your home from hurricane wind damage, contact your local building official or a building professional, such as an engineer, architect, or experienced contractor.

    Exterior Specialties of PA is here to help you with all of your roofing needs, from roof replacement to roof maintenance.  Call us at today at 215-453-9180 for your FREE estimate.