Hurricane Resistant Homes – Part 4 THE ROOF
How about the roof itself? Fiberglass shingles, cement tiles, clay tiles and ‘metal’ are the most common options. First, you must understand that these are all roof coverings which protect the roof membrane (waterproof aspect) below it. Everyone, including myself, has an opinion on what roof is best based upon what they have, what they’ve seen, and perhaps what they sell. On my house I have a Timberline composite shingle. This was one of the first products to be Dade County approved and I have found it to be a good value. I heard a commentator on the radio today praising metal roofs and how well they held up in the keys. I am generally cautious of putting too much emphasis on any one event or opinion.
So with that in mind, here’s my opinion. I did hurricane reconstruction in St. Croix and I saw one metal roof come through with little or no damage while just a few houses away the entire roof pealed off and everything in between. I have read through the analysis which the Citizens Insurance ratings are based upon and they did NOT differentiate between various roof coverings. Why? Because the roof like many components are a performance based design and very rarely does one design or test a product for much more than what is required. All roofs installed post 2002 must prove that they meet a specific performance criteria. Thus, stating that one roof is better than the other is similar to stating that accordion shutters are better than panels. They may be easier to install BUT the both take the same impact loading. Metal roof tend to be more expensive, the installer tends to take more time and care in installing them because they are being well paid for the product. They also tend to be a recent trend and thus they are newer in age.
When comparing roofs, in my opinion, the date of install is paramount. Your insurance does not care what roof covering you have and believe me if it mattered they would. In fact this is covered in the study which the Citizens policy ratings are based upon. Personally, I like composite shingles as they are cost effective, time tested, and tend not to fail in mass. You may loose a few shingle but they are easy and cheap to replace. And, installing them is not rocket science.
Also, look for a ‘secondary water proofing’. This is usually self adhered tape (think water and ice shield) over the joints in the plywood. Or, it can be in rolls over the whole roof. THIS IS IMPORTANT. If you loose a few shingles then you may have a tear in the underlayment and this will keep most of the rain out until the roof can be covered again. Interesting in that this is one of the lesser credits given by the insurance companies.
Bottom line-Go for the more recent roof installed under a permit issued after 2002 and look for the secondary waterproofing membrane.