Florida homes and buildings are prone to wind damage, where the risks are heightened during certain periods of the year such as hurricane season. Wind mitigation is a strategy that can be implemented to lessen the impact of strong winds on your roofs, garage doors, and other vulnerable parts of your home. Following a period of powerful hurricanes in the Florida area, lawmakers agreed to implement laws requiring insurance companies to offer discounts on homeowners pursuing wind mitigation techniques to reinforce their homes.
What Does Wind Mitigation Include?
Wind mitigation aims to prevent windstorm damage as far as possible. This is done through strategic building layouts and plans. Homes carrying windstorm insurance are subjected to higher premiums because of how detrimental the effects can be. Wind mitigation lowers the threat for insurers because the risk of wind damage diminishes through reinforcing or removing vulnerable additions to the property. Wind mitigation inspections by a registered professional will consider different components of your property to determine how best to protect your home from wind damage. This will include:
- Dates: When was the roof installed and what year was the house constructed?
- Roof Decking: how is the roof deck attached to the walls of the house?
- Roof Geometry: What shape is the roof?
- Has secondary water resistance been installed?
- Are your windows and doors (including garage doors) protected?
This inspection is carried to determine the amount of protection you’ve placed on your home and the likelihood of it withstanding a hurricane. The State of Florida placed great importance on these components, encouraging insurance companies to offer discounted premiums on wind insurances as an incentive. Part of the benefit of having your home inspected for wind mitigation and complying, means you prevent a case of not being covered for the extent of damage should it exceed what you’re covered for.
The materials covering your roof, if you’re based in the Florida area, are most commonly shingles and tiles. It is essential that your contractor makes use the proper installation techniques and materials to fasten these coverings. The shape of your roof, also known as the geometry of the roof, plays a big role in the amount of damage that can be inflicted on a home. Improperly built roof shapes have been known to crumble in times of wind stress because of the direction at which the wind hits it.
The material between the structural components, such as trusses and the insulation layers are referred to as the components. Roof support structures such as the attachment to the framing in relation to the thickness of the deck play an important role in ensuring that the roof decking holds out. When this element fails, the value of homes begins to drop significantly. Roof decking types of material include plywood and OSB board (which is just another type of layered wood sheets). When having your roof decking installed, your roofer must use the correct sized nails and accurate spacing. You should also have the proper hurricane straps that secure the roof to the wall. If you have any windows or skylights, they should be protected too. A broken skylight causes a myriad of problems for your roof, aside from being an added point of vulnerability during a storm.
Secondary water resistance is beneficial in the case of your roof covering failing. If roof shingles or tiles are blown off this increase’s protection from water leakages. Roof joints are covered with approved materials to prevent water intrusion through adhesives, self-adhering polymers or asphalt saturated tape. Many homes do not consider this added security feature and its benefits are therefore underrated. In the name of a preventative measure, this is a simple way to create peace-of-mind for the homeowner.
Other wind mitigation techniques include door considerations. Doors include both access doors as well as garage doors. Garage doors are common vulnerable points in a home because of installation methods and materials that have been used. Weak metals will not withstand the strong winds in Florida, and mounting systems that do not consider the strength of incoming winds will lead to the garage area being destroyed and making the rest of your home susceptible to wind damage.
- Garage doors should not have windows
- Mounting should be continuous or brackets should range between 6 – 9 elements along the track
- Secure track brackets to the wall
- Reinforcement on all panels
Glass doors add a beautiful aesthetic to the home but it is important to make use of impact-resistant glass. Additionally, glass doors should be secured to the entire frame of the door to prevent them from loosening entirely. Glass doors, like sliding doors which act as an even larger target for debris, are easily affected by strong winds and once the opening has been created, wind pressure systems will affect your house and weaken the security of your roof.
Wind mitigation is in essence, a preventative measure that is easily carried out by a professional. Not only does it have the potential to save you money on your structural insurance but also alleviate any additional fears that your home will not withstand the force of a hurricane when the season rolls around. By hiring a professional residential roofer, you’re ensuring good quality work and security for your family and your home.