The Biggest Threats to Your Building’s Roof from a Hurricane

During a hurricane, rain is the main cause of damage to buildings. It can enter through windows, doors and openings in the roof. Homes designed for hurricane-prone areas must be able to resist the full force of the wind. It is best accomplished when a complete building envelope of exterior walls, roofs and exterior opening closures remain intact.

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Wind Damage

During severe storms, wind damage is a major concern for everyone affected. Building collapse becomes a risk and significant property loss if the winds reach high speeds. When hurricanes and tornadoes occur, the risk is even higher because these storms generally bring along additional dangerous elements like flying debris. When winds reach hurricane level, the differential pressures they create will impact the structure of buildings in various ways, including tearing, ripping and uprooting. The main focus of the wind damage will be around windows, doors and walls. When doors and windows break, the walls will not have lateral support, resulting in a wall collapse. In addition, airborne missiles from trees, signposts, and other objects can penetrate walls as they are blown away.

Roofing shingles ripped off, curled, or missing are typical wind damage symptoms. When shingles lose adhesion to the roof, they may twist or split, exposing the felt layer underneath. It is a clear indication that a roof should be replaced. A home or business owner should take cover in an interior room on the lowest floor of their structure during the wind event if the damage to both walls and roofing is significant. The greatest method to safeguard yourself and your loved ones from substantial harm and death is to seek sanctuary. Financial difficulties will likely follow when issues like this occur, and you’ll require services for commercial roofing in New Orleans to handle the consequences.


A hurricane’s winds can fling debris long distances and penetrate almost any part of a structure. Breaches caused by wind-borne projectiles can allow rainwater into the building and increase internal pressures that push the roof upward and walls outward. This increase in internal forces can collapse a roof, even though the building’s structural system is still intact. Debris can damage or destroy garage doors, exterior windows and wall sidings. Unprotected glass in external doors and windows is especially vulnerable to hurricane-force winds.

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If a hurricane creates a large amount of marine debris, it can interfere with navigation and cause harm to wildlife. Marine debris from disasters, such as overturned vessels and shipping containers, can simultaneously enter waterways and the ocean, causing immense damage.

Residents should separate their rubbish for proper collection to prepare for hurricane debris collectors’ arrival. Follow the procedure outlined on your county’s website. Debris should be sorted into piles for separate collection: household garbage, yard waste, construction and demolition (C&D) and appliances. Do not place trash, discarded electronics or other hazardous waste on a debris pile. Keeping it separated can help prevent fires and injuries caused by hidden electrical hazards. Also, do not place debris in the roadway or next to mailboxes, fences, power lines equipment, poles or transformers, water meters or fire hydrants. It is dangerous for everyone, including debris removal crews.

Water Damage

A hurricane’s wind and rain can cause water damage to a building. The torrential rain bands associated with these storms are often associated with significant flooding and structural and electrical damage. The occurrence of rainfall can be particularly devastating when it enters a home through normally rain-tight openings such as doors and windows. The penetration of a roof structure by hurricane winds and accompanying debris can also dramatically increase internal pressures in the building. These increased pressures can cause the structural components of a roof to crack and separate, allowing internal forces to push the house’s walls outward. This type of penetration was a primary cause of many catastrophic building failures during Andrew.

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Category 4 hurricane produces high-velocity wind, causing severe damage to nearly all older mobile homes and well-built framed structures. This storm will uproot most trees and down power poles, isolate residential areas and destroy much of the utility infrastructure, including water and electricity lines. Power outages will likely last weeks, and long-term water shortages are possible. This hurricane category is the most destructive to structures and creates a tremendous flood threat in coastal areas.


Even buildings that withstand high winds can be affected by flooding caused by storm surges or water sloshing around foundations. This floodwater can contain dangerous pathogens, waste and animals and may be electrically charged. It can contaminate drinking water and make it unsafe to wade into. Flooding also destroys roads and bridges, leaving isolated areas without access to food or supplies, and disrupts power lines. Homes built with concrete block walls or wood-frame construction are most at risk of being inundated by rising sea levels during a hurricane, but this is also true for older mobile home frames and structures. Buildings on the coast or flood zones should be elevated to avoid this hazard. Inland flooding, caused by wave action and rainwater accumulation, can also be a major problem during a hurricane. It is especially likely where there are low topography or rivers nearby.

In addition to reducing roof damage, some steps that can be taken to reduce flood damage include using systems that minimize wind stress at the lower edge of a roof and placing windows and doors in a building to prevent water intrusion. The design of buildings should be symmetrical so that the forces exerted on each part of a structure are balanced. Openings should be moderate in size to avoid long-span lintels, and wall bracing should be used where possible.

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