It's the peak of hurricane season on the East Coast, and strong storms often bring heavy rain and wind. While homeowners in the Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia area don't have the same concerns with storms making landfall as our neighbors to the south in Florida and the Carolinas, hurricanes can still pack a punch, impacting houses and especially roofs.
Hurricane weather in the Mid-Atlantic area isn't uncommon; more than 118 storms have impacted Maryland since 1950. Even though most storms brush by the coast instead of making landfall, it's important to make sure your house can withstand the onslaught of heavy wind and rain.
What do you need to do to ensure your roof can stand up to the stresses of a hurricane or tropical storm? Here's what to do to prepare your property.
Perform regular visual inspections of your roof
Check over your roof to make sure all your shingles or tiles look secure and flashing is properly fastened around skylights, chimneys and vents. Look for curled shingles and pay special attention to the shingles and tiles right at the edge of your roof, as these are often the first to show signs of wear.
Loose shingles should be tacked down and flashing should be adhered to the roof. If there's a missing shingle -- or several -- a professional can install new shingles to protect your home. Schedule a quick visit with your roofer to get the necessary maintenance work completed.
It's always a good idea to check your roof from the inside, as well. Go into your attic with a good light source and look for signs of leaks. Turn the light off and scan for any points of light that might indicate a gap that will let in rain and wind. Let your roofing company know about any potential holes you spot so they can seal the area.
Keep your yard and gutters clean to benefit your roof
You'll want to check for and remove any branches that come within 6 feet of your roof. These branches will whip in gusting winds, pummeling your roof and potentially causing holes. A landscaper can help you take down these branches if you're not comfortable on a ladder; your roofing company may also offer this service if they'll be inspecting your roof and performing other work.
Your gutters should also be clean, in good repair and able to accept an influx of rain water. Clogged gutters allow water to spill over and pool on your roof's surface, weakening its structural integrity. After even a day or two of being soaked in water, shingles can begin to break down, allowing that water to come in through your roof. But if your gutters work as expected, they can route a tremendous amount of water down to your yard, reducing the stress to your roof's surface.
Schedule yearly professional roof inspections
Especially if your roof is more than 5 years old, it can be a huge benefit to have a professional check for problems. This can lengthen the life of your roof, because you'll be catching small concerns before they escalate into big -- and expensive -- issues. Annual maintenance checks are relatively inexpensive and can bring you peace of mind that your roof is ready for any type of weather.
A pro can also make sure that there are no parts of the roof at risk during a storm, and that shingles can withstand heavy wind gusts. Ask about metal "hurricane" clips that are used inside to help connect the roof to the interior walls. These clips may not work for installation in an already existing home, but in some cases they can be retrofitted to help keep your roof from coming loose in high winds.
To schedule an inspection, give us a call at (301) 469-4880 or contact us via our website. If a storm does cause damage, get in touch with us for emergency repairs. We have the experience and the resources to make necessary roof repairs quickly and properly.