The best time to upgrade a roof is when it needs replacement. Use this opportunity to incorporate new storm-resistant materials, secure the roof decking, and strengthen the connections. All of these things offer additional protection from high winds. This is also a good time to add waterproof self-adhering membrane or “water shield” to the roof deck. Water shield membranes provides backup protection if shingles or other roofing materials are blown off by a storm. Wind-resistant shingles offer additional protection. The exterior roofing materials should always be replaced with in-kind materials unless there is a compelling reason to change them.
A roof that is nearing the end of its service life or that is not well maintained is more susceptible to damage from high winds. While replacing the roof may not be part of the plan, strengthening the connections between structural elements provides protection against wind uplift. Ensure that roofing and roof sheathing are well attached to the framing. Strengthening or replace roof vents. Making all necessary repairs to ensure the roof can resist high winds. Applying a construction adhesive along the roof deck and rafters connecting the pieces can strengthen the connections and does little to alter historic character.
For gabled roofs, gable ends are often the tallest walls on a house and are frequently improperly braced or connected to the building’s structure. These walls and roof edges are particularly susceptible to high winds. Adding gable end bracing prevents failure of the gable and securing the roof structure to the end wall prevents uplift. These retrofits can be easily and discretely accomplished from the attic space and should be a high priority.
Chimneys should be braced and securely attached to the building to reduce the risk of failure during a storm. High winds can topple a chimney, causing it to collapse onto the roof. Flooding can wash-out a chimney foundation. If a chimney falls, it could not only damage the building, but also surrounding buildings or landscape features. Chimneys must be braced if they are more than 2 1/2 times taller than they are wide. Metal strap bracing can be added to attach the chimney to structural elements such as ceiling or floor joists. If the mortar that holds the masonry together is weak or missing, it should be repointed to ensure stability.
Table of Contents