Protect Your Commercial Property’s Roof From Wind Damage

Strong winds can pose a significant threat to the integrity of your building’s roof. Dealing with roof damage is not only disruptive but also costly. Property damage resulting from high winds can happen in any geographical area, even if it’s not a frequent occurrence.

Roof maintenance plays a crucial role in ensuring the stability and resilience of your building against high winds. However, even with proper maintenance, there is always a chance of roof damage during a storm.

Commercial insurance plays a crucial role in mitigating the financial risks associated with roof damage from high winds. In the unpredictable realm of weather-related disasters, having the right insurance coverage can make a significant difference in a business’s ability to recover swiftly. When strong winds threaten a commercial property and result in roof damage, insurance policies designed for businesses can help cover the costs of repairs or even full roof replacements.

With the commercial insurance policy and following the tips below, you can help safeguard your commercial property and mitigate financial losses from a damaged roof.

Understanding Wind Damage

To prevent roof damage effectively, it’s essential to understand how high winds can affect roofs. When strong winds pass over a roof, they create a lower pressure on the roof’s surface compared to the atmospheric pressure below it.

This pressure difference, combined with air currents entering the building, can create an upward thrust of air, leading to a suction effect that lifts and potentially blows off the roof. This phenomenon is based on Bernoulli’s principle.

Choose the Right Roof Design and Construction

Selecting an appropriate roof design and construction tailored to your building’s operations is paramount for stability, durability, and damage resistance, especially in high-wind areas. The type of roof design you choose can significantly impact its ability to withstand strong winds. Here are some common roof designs:

  • Flat Roofs – These have a pitch of 1 to 10 degrees and are commonly used in commercial buildings, residential apartments, and office buildings.
  • Low-Slope Roofs – Typically have a pitch of 11 to 17 degrees and are common in warehouses, big box stores, and shopping centers.
  • Steep-Slope Roofs – These have a pitch of 18 degrees or more and are mostly seen in residential homes.

Several roof construction methods are available, each with its own advantages and suitability for different applications. The most common ones include:

  • Built-Up Roofing (BUR) Membrane – Composed of layers of roofing asphalt and asphalt felts, BUR roofs form a robust roofing membrane.
  • Metal Roofing – Utilizes metal pieces or tiles, offering a variety of materials such as steel, aluminum, copper, and tin.
  • Modified Bitumen (MB) Roofing – Similar to BUR, MB roofing is asphalt-based and designed for flat or low-slope roofs, with added flexibility and waterproofing.
  • Thermoset Roofing Membrane (EPDM) – Made of durable synthetic rubber, EPDM roofing is widely used in low-slope buildings.
  • Thermoplastic Roof Membrane (TPO and PVC) – Single-ply roofing membranes made of synthetic materials and reinforcing scrim, suitable for flat roofs.
  • Green Roofing – A versatile option involving vegetation planted over a waterproofing system on a flat or slightly sloped roof.

Preventing Roof Damage

To safeguard your roof from wind damage, consider the following prevention measures:

  • Adhere to Building Codes – Ensure your roof is installed according to current building codes, even for older roofs, which may have been constructed under different standards.
  • Seal the Roof – Seal the roof’s edges with roofing cement to prevent wind from penetrating underneath, and ensure the roof decking is sealed.
  • Windproof Sheathing – When installing a new roof, choose windproof sheathing to enhance wind resistance.
  • Regular Maintenance – Inspect the roof regularly for signs of wear, such as cracked, worn, curled, or missing coverings, as well as water damage on the underside. Replace aging roofing materials.
  • Frame Inspection – Regularly check the roof’s supporting frame for any signs of damage or deterioration.
  • Avoid Opening Windows or Doors – During major windstorms, refrain from opening windows or doors, as this exposes the building to more wind and rain damage.
  • Install Roof/Hurricane Clips – These galvanized steel clips can be used to secure the roof to the building’s structure, providing added protection against strong winds.
  • Roof Anchoring – For smaller commercial low-rise buildings, anchor the roof in place using ropes attached to concrete blocks during predicted windstorms.

What to Do After a Storm or High Winds

Following a severe weather event, accurately assessing the extent of damage to your roof can be challenging, particularly when conducting inspections from ground level. To begin, perform a thorough visual examination and document any observable issues from a safe distance. These issues may include minor abrasions, loose components, areas where asphalt is missing, or detached cladding and other roofing materials.

Additionally, be mindful that fallen objects or debris from trees and power lines may have inflicted damage on your roof. For a comprehensive evaluation, it’s advisable to hire the services of a licensed and professional roofer, especially one equipped to inspect from an elevated angle, possibly utilizing tools such as drones for a safer and more comprehensive survey.

Promptly identifying problem areas is essential to prevent potential roof collapses in the future. Once it’s safe to do so, initiate debris cleanup from both your roof and yard. Lastly, inspect the interior of your building for signs of leaks, wall discoloration, and other damages, as protecting the building’s exterior is integral to ensuring the safety of everyone inside.

Protect Your Building With Commercial Insurance

In the unpredictable world of weather-related disasters and unforeseen accidents, commercial insurance provides a safety net for your business, offering financial resilience when the unexpected strikes, be it severe storms, fire, vandalism, or other perils.

Commercial insurance goes beyond mere coverage, providing you with peace of mind and the assurance that your investment is safeguarded. Contact us now and let us help you build a resilient future for your business.

Blog posts from Alpine Insurance are for general information only. The content should not be considered insurance advice. If you are in need of professional insurance advice, please reach out to our team.

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