It was Hurricane Hugo in 1989 and Hurricane Andrew in 1992 that changed the way the public and government regarded the risk of hurricane damage to homes and roofs became a major focal point.
When it comes to windblown damage, the roof of a home can be a major point of entry.
The updated Florida building code was designed to reduce the risk of roof intrusion.
“We spent a lot of time with the revised building code trying to figure out how to keep the roof structure on the building. We have tie downs we have tie beams so the idea is to try to make sure the roof doesn’t come off,” said Dr. Fred Bloetscher, a civil engineer with Florida Atlantic University.
Bloetscher said the roofing material is also a factor.
Both residential and commercial structures with asphalt shingle or clay tile roofs that were more than ten years old fared the worst.
“The shingles have a tendency to just rip once you get one they all start going,” he said.
While flat and barrel tile roofs are attractive and popular, Bloetscher said they are also susceptible to breakage.
“So you have flying objects, coconuts are probably the most famous but it could be anything that will go ahead and break the tiles and accelerates the damage there,” he said.
And what about the impact of solar panels?
Almost all of the new solar panel stock showed remarkable success, unless they were impacted by an object, like a downed tree.
“The solar panels themselves were designed to sit on roofs in Florida so they’re designed to deal exactly with the situation that we may be confronted with in a hurricane,” Bloetscher said.
The decisions you make now for your roof could make a big difference in the amount of damage you get during a hurricane.
And a final note, data shows the best performing roofs, regardless of age, were made of metal.
On Friday, Nov. 18, we wrap up our special series of reports with a look at how various aspects of infrastructure were impacted by Ian.