Windstorm Protection Tips for Your Roof

Gary Pelton on Jun 22, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Ciega CoveHigh velocity winds can damage your roof and property in a matter of minutes. After all, it's impossible to predict the timing, strength, and potential damage of any storm. However, there are a few preventive measures you can take to help lower the risk of damage to your property as well as save yourself money in repairs and lost productivity. Below, you will find a few tips regarding preventative measures geared to help you prepare your roofing system for the unexpected.

Proper Roofing Assembly

To make sure your company's roof is protected against wind damage you have to start at the beginning. Choosing the proper roof assembly is the first step toward protecting your roofing system.

System attachment is the most critical element of roof design and application. Improper attachment results in the increased probability of wind blow-offs and contributes to membrane strain created by differential movement of the system components. The design and application methods must address attachment of the total system and all of the components; substrate, roofing, flashing, metal coverings, and penetrations. The most prevalent element that proper attachment will deter is damage from wind force, particularly wind uplift damage.

Protect the Edges of Your Roof

In the single-ply, low-slope roofing world, the majority of roofing failures from extreme wind events are a result of peeling failures along the edge of the roof. Peel failures occur when the membrane separates from the surface beneath it, or when the surface beneath the membrane actually separates. Many contractors are not aware of the low cost options available to prevent this from happening, including installing a peel stop.

Peel stops come in several forms, including curbs and pipes. In plain terms, a peel stop is installed approximately 12 inches from the edge of the roof with the purpose of terminating any peeling that may occur. Although there are many different forms and installation techniques of peel stops, this simple addition to a roof can greatly reduce the odds of peeling. You should also keep the edge and/or perimeter of your roofing system solid and intact while restricting air infiltration into the roof envelope by sealing deck and wall interfaces. If not using a mechanically fastened roof system, at least incorporate a backup defense system into loose laid and adhered roofing systems using fasteners to anchor the roof cover to the structure. Using this basic principle will go a long way toward ensuring any roof system’s chances of survival during a very significant wind event.

Inspections are Key

One of the greatest sources of roof damage comes from HVAC service doors, metals, and debris that are loose or laying on the roof surface blowing across your roofing system and causing damage. Regular preventative maintenance will have a major impact on the long-term performance of your roofing system. If ignored, even minor damage to the roof membrane can lead to costly repairs, and possibly damage the building interior. To achieve maximum long-term performance, a thorough roof inspection should be performed each Spring and Fall, and after any significant weather events.

Include the following steps in your inspection:

  • Clear debris from the roof surface, and make sure drains and gutters are unclogged
  • Check for punctures or cuts in the roof membrane
  • Inspect caulking above wall flashings as wind driven rain can enter into cracks or joints above the roof line
  • Be observant of loose fasteners, both in the roof field as well as on walls and roof-edge details

Remember, if you can hold down the edges, you can hold down the roof.

What other tips do you have for protecting a commercial roofing system from wind damage? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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