In 2020 alone, hurricanes and tropical storms caused a combined $37 billion in damage in the United States. One of the largest contributors to that figure is the damage done to just commercial roofing. Your roof is not only one of the most valuable components of your commercial property, but it’s also one of the most damage-prone during a tropical event.
When considering your emergency plan for hurricane season this year, it is vital that you include a review of your commercial roof. While your best option is always to call a licensed commercial roof specialist like Cotton GDS, our roofing experts have crafted this guide on best practices for getting your roof ready to face a major storm.
BEFORE THE STORM
The most important step in safeguarding your roof from any threat is to have a consistent, preventative maintenance plan in place that follows sound inspection protocols. This alone can be the difference between having a strong roof that perseveres through a major storm versus a roof that’s fallen into disrepair and cannot withstand even the lightest rains. If nothing else, consider performing a comprehensive inspection at the beginning of the hurricane season. You’ll also want to review your insurance policies and warranty coverage to determine if you are susceptible to unwanted liability.
Once a storm is identified, start by prioritizing the removal of any foreign objects that have fallen on your roof. These objects can damage your gutters and drainage in addition to becoming flying projectiles. Also be sure to clean your gutters and flashing so that you don’t risk pooling anywhere on your roof. This means trimming trees and bushes within 3ft of the building to minimize potential damage to the roof system.
Next you’ll want to make sure that all mechanical equipment such as AC units, HVAC, and electrical are secured. You may want to consider additional fasteners or straps to ensure they stay put. The same fastening should be done to any skylights or hatches to keep them squarely in place. You may even want to cover them with additional wood barriers if the storm is expected to be severe.
Lastly, you’ll want to prepare for the aftermath of the storm while you can. This means taking pictures of your roof from every angle to showcase it’s pre-storm condition, should you need to file an insurance claim after experiencing damage. It may also be worthwhile to preemptively set a post-storm inspection appointment so that you accelerate that process while you can.
AFTER THE STORM PASSES
Immediately after it becomes safe to exit your property, you’ll want to begin inspecting your roof for damage. Pay special attention to air vents, flashing, seams, joints, and any mechanical or electrical equipment. Inspect for roof leaks both inside and outside of the building to prevent them from worsening or damaging more of your property. If you do spot a leak, you’ll want to move as rapidly as possible to begin taking care of it.
Should you find any damage to your roof or your interior property as a result of a leak or break, before you do anything else, begin taking pictures of the damage to facilitate your insurance claim. Next, you’ll need to get in touch with your insurance company to begin the claims process as quickly as you can. Moving fast is absolutely critical here because you’ll be racing every other property owner who also experienced damage.
If your roof has sustained major damage, the last question is to determine whether to repair or replace. It is essential for you to find a trustworthy contractor to begin servicing your roof right away in order to minimize operational downtime and safety hazards. For this and all of your commercial roofing needs, consider a comprehensive, Carlisle ESP award-winning restoration and roofing contractor like Cotton GDS.