You’ve all heard the story of the Big Bad Wolf who huffs and puffs and blows the house down. It’s a cautionary tale about what happens when a home is constructed without consideration for how well it can withstand strong winds. While no one would even think about building a home out of straw (as the fairy tale goes), many families discover that what appears to be a rock-solid home is actually vulnerable to hurricane-level winds that cost U.S. homeowners billions of dollars in repairs annually.
The good news is that there are home improvements you can make to potentially limit damage from severe wind. The first step is to find a professional certified in performing Windstorm Mitigation Inspections—a beneficial checkup popular throughout Florida, Mississippi, Texas and other hurricane-prone states.
With a favorable inspection report in hand, homeowners may be able to reduce the cost of their insurance by showing proof that the structure has been built to lessen the effects of high winds. In Florida, state law mandates that insurance providers discount policies when certain wind mitigation techniques have been used on a home. This presents a huge incentive for homeowners to add these improvements since it is not uncommon for wind damage coverage to make up a large percentage of a policy’s total premium. Beyond the cost savings, homeowners can enjoy the peace of mind of knowing they have done everything possible to spare their home from the cost of devastating repairs.
In addition to reporting the age of the home and roof, your inspector will note the presence or absence of features known to curtail damage caused by powerful winds, as well as include suggestions on ways to bolster the house with these protections. Here are a few common issues inspectors, like those at A-Pro Home Inspection, may indicate in a windstorm mitigation report:
Roof Covering: The inspector will report on the type of roof covering material; defects in the covering, such as loose, missing, buckling, or deteriorating shingles; and whether preferred fasteners (e.g., nails over staples), have been properly used for installation.
Roof Geometry: This refers to the shape of a roof (e.g., flat, gable, side gable, crossed gable, hip, hip and valley). For example, the inspector will highlight if gable ends, which are configured in a manner that makes them subject to high pressure, have been properly built and braced. Too much overhang on a gable (peaked) roof can expose the system to uplift that may detach the structure from its walls. While generally more expensive to build, hip roofs, which slope on all four sides, have a profile that makes them less prone to severe pressure in a windstorm.
Attachment to the Roof Deck: When it comes to roof systems that are battered by hurricane winds, some of the greatest damage can result due to defects in the roof deck attachment. The inspector will report on use of hurricane clips/straps to prevent detachment, coverings that meet or fall short of state building code standards and use of sufficiently long fasteners in relation to the deck’s thickness. Roof-to-wall connections will also be visually examined.
Secondary Water Resistance: As any homeowner who has suffered through a hurricane will attest, severe roof damage is possible even when all precautions have been taken. In instances when the roof fails, a layer of protection between the roof covering and insulation can help block water from penetrating the home. The presence and type of layer will be indicated by the home inspector.
Other Wind Mitigation Checks: The home inspector will also highlight inadequacies in the mounting and bracketing of garage door tracks; if the garage has windows, which is not preferred; and glass in doors and windows which are vulnerable to dislodging from their frames during high winds. The use of beneficial high-impact glass will be noted.
A Windstorm Mitigation Inspection is just one of many specialized inspections performed by A-Pro. To schedule a home inspection, call 1-904-300-1340 or visit the link below.