If you’re a business owner in a hurricane-prone area, you may already know the risks of storm damage for a commercial building. Roofs are expensive to replace, and a damaged roof often means damage to goods or machinery inside the building.

On the east coast of the U.S., hurricane season starts in June and can last through November. The warmest months of late fall — August and September — are peak season for storms to form and crash against the coast. Prepare your roof before then with this guide to hurricane prep, which can help you minimize hurricane damage to your commercial building.

Understanding the Effects of Hurricanes on Roofs

Hurricanes form as hot air rises off the ocean. As the heat rises, it starts a swirling storm system that speeds up and continues to grow. When this system reaches land, it creates high winds, major rainstorms, flooding and tornadoes.

Extremely high wind speeds during hurricanes can damage or even rip the roof off of buildings. Water damage is also common, either from existing leaks in the roof or damage caused by wind. Protecting your commercial building from damage during a hurricane is challenging, but you can prepare for the storm in several ways.

Hurricane Season Prep for Commercial Buildings

Inspecting your roof before a storm ensures you know what damage was actually caused by a hurricane. If you notice any damage, you can repair it and ensure your roof is watertight before a storm hits. It may also be helpful to take photos before a storm so you have records to show your insurance company.

Not every hurricane grows to the same size or hits the coast with the same amount of force. If your area is prone to major hurricanes, consider taking more extreme measures to protect your property. Even completing one or two of these steps can make a difference when a severe storm system strikes.

Here are five steps that can help you prevent severe damage to your commercial building’s roof from hurricanes:

1. Check for Weaknesses

Regularly inspect your roof for any damage. Creating a maintenance schedule can help you follow through on this step. If you catch issues with your roof early on, you can significantly reduce the amount of damage and the cost of repairs.

Check for WeaknessesA few things to check for when inspecting your roof include:

  • Cracks
  • Holes
  • Rust
  • Pooled water
  • Loose components

If you see any issues with your roof, get them taken care of before inclement weather strikes. A roof that already has weaknesses won’t hold up well in severe weather. The more you can do to strengthen your roofing system before a storm, the better.

Inspecting your roof should be a normal part of business ownership and responsibilities. Don’t wait until just before a hurricane to complete an inspection — you’ll be much better prepared if you check over your roof and repair any signs of damage regularly.

2. Manage Loose Debris

Debris can cause havoc in a storm. If caught by the wind, it can rip across your roof and cause massive damage that leads to leaks and expensive repairs once the storm has passed. Here are a few items that can turn into missiles during a storm:

  • Tree branches
  • HVAC equipment
  • Loose roof tiles

Before a storm comes, trim all the trees on your property and remove dead branches. Ideally, there shouldn’t be trees near enough to the building to cause damage during a storm. Also, put additional straps on HVAC equipment to ensure it doesn’t come loose.

Fix any loose tiles before storms. Hurricanes can rip loose tiles off the roof, exposing your building to rain and additional damage. The edges of your roof are particularly vulnerable — wind caught underneath could potentially rip off entire sections.

3. Shore up Your Defenses

If you’re concerned about water damage, consider waterproofing your roof with a bitumen-based membrane. You can apply bitumen-based membranes or other waterproofing options with adhesives or a blow torch. Some even roll on like paint.

To shore up your roof against wind damage, ensure the gutter system and edges of your roof are securely connected. Once the wind gets underneath something, it can quickly pull it off the roof — or pull the roof itself off.

If your building doesn’t have hurricane straps, consider adding them for extra connectivity between the roof trusses and wall plates. In some areas with seasonal storms, building codes require hurricane straps.

4. Schedule a Professional Inspection

Having a professional look over your roof can make a significant difference in how your roof weathers a storm. Professional roof technicians can ensure there’s no major damage to your roof before the storm, and they can repair any issues before bad weather makes a problem worse.

Even if you don’t expect hurricanes this year, a regular roof inspection for commercial buildings is a good idea. Roof maintenance is the primary way to avoid expensive repairs or leaks that damage the merchandise or machines stored inside your commercial building.

Have your roof inspected annually. If your building survives a hurricane, you should have it inspected again afterward to ensure there’s no severe damage. A roof technician may also have suggestions for additional measures you can take to protect against hurricane damage.

5. Upgrade to a Hurricane-Resistant Roof

If your roof is reaching the end of its life, it might be time to replace it. Some styles and roof materials are more hurricane-resistant than others, and roof contractors are continuing to innovate and design roofs to resist storms with less damage.

Sturdy roofing materials tend to handle wind better. For example, metal roofing materials are highly rated for hurricane resistance. By contrast, asphalt shingles come off easily in the wind, but they are also more straightforward and affordable to replace.

The shape of your roof can also impact its risk for storm damage. Gables on a roof make it easier for the wind to catch underneath them and exert force upwards. Hip roofs and flat roofs tend to have the best resistance, especially if they don’t have overhanging eaves.

Ready Your Roof for Hurricane Season With DDP Roofing

Ready Your Roof for Hurricane Season With DDP RoofingConcerned your roof isn’t ready for hurricane season? Contact DDP Roofing today to partner with a professional roofing company that can help protect your commercial building in the mid-Atlantic and New England areas.

We’ve been in business since 1989, and the NRCA recognized us as ranking in the top 1% of American commercial roofing contractors. We offer maintenance, inspection, repair and replacement services for commercial roofs to keep your building in great shape. We’re dedicated to taking excellent care of our customers and show our commitment every time.

Contact us today to speak with a representative!