This time of year in South Louisiana presents a dilemma for a number of home owners. Naturally, everyone is going through their hurricane preparedness checklist, but how many people look up at their roof as part of that checklist? What is literally the first line of defense against a storm is often the most overlooked. But, for those who do assess their roof, there are further questions to ask. The answers to these questions will lead you to the answer of the bigger question, should I get a new roof during hurricane season? While there are many factors that go into determining if you need a new roof, three in particular need specific attention during hurricane season.
Do you have any leaks? This is the most obvious question to answer, but it certainly needs to be addressed. If you have what appears to be even the smallest leak, remember that you are seeing what leaks as a result of a normal rainstorm. While the most violent non-tropical South Louisiana storms can produce quite the deluge, they don’t last as long as a hurricane does. When we see winter and spring storms whip through the area, they are over in a matter of hours. A hurricane will often last longer than that. So, if you notice some leakage from regular storms, think about what would happen if you double or triple the duration of that storm. Then, imagine what can happen when you add wind and debris that could easily exacerbate the leak.
Are you missing any shingles? Even if you’re only missing a few, missing shingles can be detrimental to your roof during hurricane season. The reason for this is not the rain that comes with a named storm, but the wind. While a missing shingle or two will still keep the rain out, it makes the overall roof more susceptible to the wind. There is more opportunity for wind to get underneath the shingles, which leads to further damage.
Is anything touching your roof? Overgrown tree branches are by far the most common example of something touching your roof. Trimming them back is important to prolong the life of your roof for two main reasons. First, a limb hanging over your roof is exponentially more likely to do damage in heavy winds. Even if it doesn’t break off and fall, it can hurt your roof by excessively beating it with each gust. The second reason to cut back trees that are touching your roof is that the actual contact between limbs and your house means a direct pathway for any creepy-crawlies that may want to move in. When most people treat their home for insects, the exterminator will spray around the perimeter of the house at ground level, and any visible openings. This treatment is all but wasted if they can come in from above. Termites, carpenter ants, and wood boring beetles can all do significant damage once they reach your home. Most exterminators will recommend trimming back trees for this same reason.
As you prepare for hurricane season, any one of these problems is not necessarily cause to get a new roof. In fact, some people can make these repairs on their own. But, if you aren’t comfortable with these tasks for any reason please call a professional. Ignoring any one of these problems opens the door to a hurricane doing much more damage than it should. If you find that you have a combination of these problems, or one problem is beyond repair, and you think it’s time to replace your current roof, please give us a call.