Time has come to consider hurricane resistant roofs !

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A typical Midwest home and a gold-level Fortified home are subjected to 100 mph winds at a testing facility operated by the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety.

Wanda Naylor

By Wanda Naylor, College of Business | East Carolina University

AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE FLORENCE – We all saw the footage of recent hurricane ravished areas. Did you wonder why some houses were left standing and others were not? Why was your roof damaged and not your neighbors? In light of the recent storms and catastrophic damage to many of the houses in eastern North Carolina, it may be time to take a look at how we can fortify our roofing structures. Once a roofing system fails in any storm, water will damage the structure below it and it only takes inches to become a catastrophic loss.

Insurance companies in many states are encouraging policy holders to replace their roofs with Hurricane Resistance Bronze standards roofing systems.

The Institute for Business and Home Safety has been studying and designing structures to withstand maximum hurricane force winds and rains. If this process is complied with, there are monetary grants from your insurance company and insurance credits on your annual policy to encourage these building standards.


This process is a multilevel, complicated process that strengthens the roofing deck, increases the water proofing or water resistance of the decking and secures the roofing material for wind resistance. Old roofing materials must be removed. Specific corrosion resistant fasteners must be used and applied in specific patterns to secure the decking to the attic timbers to strengthen the decking. Special waterproof membrane and taping materials are applied to the decking to make it waterproof in the event of the failure of the roofing materials.

The roofing material – whether shingles or metal – must be applied per the manufacturer’s instructions for high winds. If you already have a strong roof, you can apply for an evaluation and there are some financial incentives, including attic applications, that you can add to strengthen your roofing system.

To comply with these processes, you must apply with your insurance company and get assigned an evaluator. Although a specially trained roofer with certification is encouraged, other roofers can be utilized as long as the process is followed completely. The re-roofing process must be to strict standards and must be documented with photos, written compliance and inspections. It is more costly. Although Hurricane Resistance roofing is a lengthy and costly process especially under pressure (storm losses), consult disastersafety.org/fortified/fortified-home/ for more information and be informed.

Even if you are unable to comply and do all the measures due to time and costs, some of the steps are very doable. Even if you are only able to increase the strength of your roof in incremental measures, it may save you the heartache and hours of work in future storms. Do your research, be informed, talk to your insurance company and then make your decision.