The Future is Certified Roof Inspections

The dawning of a new year puts everyone in the mindset of thinking ahead while reflecting on the past. We pause to realize how much has changed and wonder what lies before us in the year ahead. This isn’t just true when it comes to your personal life. It’s true in the roofing industry, specifically with the increased demand for quality roof inspections.


As your experts in roofing, we’ve seen clear trends emerging in recent years and months. Our decades in the industry give us insight into trends that will be shifting the industry in the coming year. To help you stay ahead, our specialists are sharing our top predictions for roof inspections and our tips for making 2022 a year of growth for your business.



Our Predictions for the Future of Roof Inspections


The techniques, trends, and professional landscape of roof inspections are always changing, and keeping up with those shifts will help you to stay competitive and deliver the highest-quality service to your clients. Here’s a peek into what we expect to see in 2022.


Expansion of High Consumer Expectations


California is a cornerstone of many industries, and it’s a uniquely important player in the nationwide roof inspection market, too. Homeowners and real estate professionals in California expect and require high quality from their roofing contractors as well as their roof inspectors, and this has made it a competitive market where only the best can win. However, we’re seeing more and more Californians leaving the state and moving elsewhere.


As homeowners leave California, they will take their expectations to their new locations throughout the country. As a result, inspectors and contractors across the US should use this opportunity to get accredited through the NRCIA or you will be playing catch up.


Spread of Regulations


Speaking of the Golden State, California has long been a trendsetter in legislation and regulations. Oftentimes, California will make a new policy change or institute a new regulation first. Other states will watch how it goes, learn from any growing pains that appeared, and then implement a similar change with potential tweaks.


We expect this to continue to happen throughout 2022 and beyond. Roof inspectors nationwide should keep an eye on California’s regulations and start planning ways to adjust to those same regulations if and when their own states follow suit. If you do this, you’re less likely to find yourself scrambling to implement the changes when the law does take effect in your state.


Demand for Certification


When it comes to inspections, some markets are more informal than others. In a small rural town, it might be perfectly normal to have the local handyman inspect roofs because he happens to know a lot about construction.


This is likely to change, though. California homeowners, real estate professionals, and insurance professionals demand professional roof inspectors who are certified by the NRCIA. As current and former Californians continue to move throughout the country, the demand for official, specialized, certified roof inspectors will grow nationwide, so certification will become even more vital for your business. Due to the growing demand, certain municipalities are now requiring a roof to be certified during the real estate transaction



How to Keep Up with Rising Consumer Expectations as a Roof Inspector


Our predictions for the years ahead in roof inspections generally carry one theme: increased expectations and demands for higher-quality roof inspectors. To make sure that this works for you instead of against you, follow these top tips.


Continuously Update Your Knowledge


No one is all-knowing in the roof inspections industry. There are always new techniques and improvements that arise, tricks and tools that appear on the scene, and so on. To provide your clients with the best information about their roofs, you need to continually update your knowledge.


There are plenty of ways to do this. NRCIA alone offers online training courses, ride-along opportunities, and more. There are also other online courses, blogs, and seminars you can participate in to hear new ideas and refine your strategies.


Consider Expanding Your Specialization


If you want to grow your business in a competitive market, one option is to expand your expertise and become certified in forensic roof inspection. Not only will the certification open the door for many new opportunities but while you study for your certification, you’re likely to learn more about roof systems. This can make you a better choice even for clients who only need a standard roof inspection.


Get Involved in the Industry Community


No matter how long you’ve been in the business, you have plenty to learn from your fellow roof inspectors. That’s why it is so important to get involved in the roof inspection community and maintain connections with colleagues.


You can network with other inspectors online, attend industry events, interact in online discussion groups, and more. This will help you predict the trends and shifts in the industry much as we’ve done in this article. It’s also a strong business practice because your connections with other professionals often lead to new opportunities and referrals.



Making 2022 Your Best Year in Roof Inspections


The constant changes in our world can make everything feel like moving targets, but there are positives to this state of constant change. We are constantly finding new ways to help clients and deliver more information and higher-quality details in roof inspections, and if you’re keeping up, you can stay at the top of your game and your local market.


To learn more, check out our guide to becoming an NRCIA.



Why is Roof Maintenance Important?

A roof is one of the most important parts of the home. It is the first line of defense against the elements. Roof systems need to be properly maintained to remain fully functional over their lifespan. There are a lot of things that go into managing a roof properly and it all depends on what stage the roof is in. 


Some homeowners choose to save money by skipping roof maintenance, but homeowners should not forget the level of stress and anxiety that comes from having a roof in disarray. The damage that a leaking roof can cause to the structure and safety of a home is immense. Moisture damage is one of the biggest fears of any homeowner as it weakens the home and can spur the growth of dangerous mold and bacteria.


There has also been an increase in roof repairs due to poor craftsmanship and roofing scams, which has led to an increased demand for roof warranties and certifications. That’s why it is important now more than ever for roof contractors and inspectors to be properly trained and certified. A certification backed by the NRCIA brings confidence to homeowners who request the services of these certified contractors. 


The integrity and credibility of the roofing industry are at the heart of the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association’s mission. Roofing services can be complex enough, even when done properly and the NRCIA is there to ensure that there’s a high level of professionalism and standardization within the roofing industry.



What Homeowners Need to Know


A homeowner needs to understand all components of their home. Homeowners need to understand the age of their roof and the maintenance schedule it follows. This is the best measure they can take to keep a roof system healthy and functional. Preventative maintenance is always cheaper than reactive repairs.



Homeowners need to ensure that they partner up with the right roofing contractor. Preferably, a contractor that follows a standardized procedure to help clients maximize their roof system’s lifespan.


Maximizing a Roof’s Lifespan


A roof’s lifespan depends on the roofing material used. Composite, asphalt or wood shingles/shake can last between 12 to 25 years with the proper maintenance, with asphalt shingles able to last up to 30 years. Copper or Slate roofs can last upwards of 50 years if properly maintained, meaning all the homeowner should be concerned about is keeping it waterproof and free of leaks. There are additional factors that determine a roof’s lifespan: the product used, the quality of the installation, and maintaining a proper maintenance schedule. That’s why it’s critical to work with a roofing contractor certified by NRCIA who can provide the LeakFREE® guarantee. 


Additionally, more insurance companies are requesting these types of certifications and warranties before offering policies. Some insurance companies will even give homeowners a discount on their insurance premium if the homeowner’s roof has a LeakFREE® Roof Certification. Without certifications or warranties, loans and policies can be considered riskier which translates to higher premiums or higher mortgage rates.  


The NRCIA Guarantee


NRCIA wants to help take out the guesswork of choosing a good roofing inspector and/or contractor. Instead of going with a recommendation from a  friend or neighbor, trust a recommendation from the NRCIA whose sole purpose is to bring exceptional confidence and credibility to the roofing industry.


Homeowners can rest assured when they see the NRCIA Certified badge on their inspector’s shirt or business card. They will be working with roofing inspectors who know exactly what to look for when assessing the structure’s roof system.



Are you interested in becoming an NRCIA Inspector?

Do you need to find an NRCIA Inspector?




Becoming an NRCIA Authorized Company



A roofing company that wants to expand its business, or even potentially add a new revenue stream can earn accreditation with the NRCIA. Whether the roofing company is considering one inspector or a full team, we can accommodate any type of company.


NRCIA Membership


There are several membership levels open, each with more ways to gain new business. Members beyond the affiliate level will receive our LeakFREE training to understand the NRCIA’s process and procedures. 


Inspectors receive training on NRCIA’s 5-zone inspection process and how to provide their clients with a photo-centric inspection report using proprietary inspection software. NRCIA’s reporting process refines the consultation process enabling roofers to review and offer guaranteed and warrantied services for their customers. 


Any roofing contractor that selects to join NRCIA also joins our growing network of roofing contractors and receives unqualified leads when property owners contact the NRCIA. Learn more about the benefits and ROI of being an NRCIA member by reviewing our success guides.


NRCIA Authorized Company


Becoming an NRCIA’s Authorized Contractor allows the contractor to sign up their entire roofing team. This is a great opportunity for continuing education in the contractor’s field and industry, so the contractor can work to expand on offering services to grow their revenue streams. 


This team-based membership allows company administrators to manage multiple inspectors. Small and medium-sized companies can multiply their income, especially in highly-dense residential areas with this membership.

Case Study


Paid inspection appointments create qualified leads. By producing thorough NRCIA inspection reports, their conversions from appointments into jobs and certifications increased.

Additionally, the sale of NRCIA’s LeakFREE® roof certifications turned into a source of recurring revenue, as annual maintenance inspections are required as a condition of certification.


Interested in joining, but want to talk with someone first? Schedule a demo today!




What is a LeakFREE® Guarantee?

NRCIA Certified Inspectors specialize in providing high-quality roof inspections and certifications for residential and commercial properties. NRCIA’s LeakFREE® roof inspections provide actionable insight into a roof system and the LeakFREE® roof certification guarantees the integrity of the roof system. 


LeakFREE® roof inspections


The NRCIA maximizes roof life by using its proprietary inspection process to inspect the roof. Following the NRCIA roof inspection protocols, a trained NRCIA Certified® roof inspector begins the five-zone LeakFREE® roof inspection by examining the interior, accessible attic, and attached garage to examine any visual evidence of a roof leak.



Evidence found in the first three zones informs the roof inspector of what to inspect when they reach the rooftop. At the fourth zone, the inspector examines the building’s perimeter to look for further evidence of leaks or damage, such as water stains and dry rot. After these observations are complete, the inspector moves to the roof and performs a visual, non-destructive examination. Each roof type and material has different critical areas, and the specialist is trained to pay special attention to these potential trouble spots.



LeakFREE® roof certification


NRCIA’s LeakFREE® Roof Certification is more than a workmanship warranty. With the LeakFREE® Roof Certification, you can have total assurance that your entire roof — not just the repair site — will remain leak-free for the duration of your certification period. If a LeakFREE® roof experiences problems during a certification period, your NRCIA inspector will fix the problem. 


The inspectors or contractors need to be certified through the NRCIA to file this type of service. If issues arise or claims need to be filed; there is a simple process for the homeowner to follow to get their roof system in peak condition again.


The LeakFREE® Roof Certification guarantee is never prorated and will last up to ten years before another inspection and recertification need to be done on the roof in question. Some warranties and inspections will pro-rate the timeline. The LeakFREE® roof certification and warranty are valid up to ten years from the date the repairs and maintenance were completed. 



The Guarantee


Residential and commercial owners are guaranteed quality, detailed work from NRCIA professionals that will leave owners assured of the health and safety of their roof system. LeakFREE services can only be offered by active & credentialed NRCIA members. 



Are you interested in becoming an NRCIA Inspector?

Do you need to find an NRCIA Inspector?



5 Zone Roof Inspection with Paul

Paul and our members at Cert-A-Roof have teamed up to provide another deep dive into the inspection process. NRCIA’s inspection standards and procedures are the most thorough and transparent in the roofing industry. Our members aim to provide you with accurate and actionable insight into your roof’s health.

Follow along as Paul (NRCIA Member #001011) takes you through an NRCIA LeakFREE® Roof Inspection. He will guide you through the 5-zone roof inspection and provide in-depth commentary on what NRCIA inspectors will be looking for during their inspection.

Learn how the NRCIA and our Certified Roof Inspectors provide a world-class inspection on every roof!


Interested in becoming an inspector? 

Interested in having your roof inspected by an NRCIA member?




Why Are NRCIA Inspectors & Inspections Different?

The NRCIA provides confidence for homeowners and property managers through our standards. NRCIA builds the integrity of the inspection industry by standardizing a roof inspection process that is both thorough and transparent.

Our name stands for excellence in property care by improving and standardizing roof inspections, maintenance, and certifications so that there is no unexpected loss of property due to normal wear and tear. 

NRCIA Inspectors

Our Inspectors provide world-class inspections and certifications on every roof. Each NRCIA Certified® Roof Inspector completes our thorough training regime to acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding of our inspection process.

Additionally, Certified® Roof Inspectors are held to NRCIA’s standards and values. They must serve their clients with honesty, transparency, and reliability. 

All of this is evident in each inspection and certification report you receive from an NRCIA Inspector. These reports are thorough, photo-centric, and transparent. Our Roof Inspectors aim to be educational consultants who help you find the best solution for your roofing needs.

NRCIA Inspections 

The NRCIA maximizes a roof’s serviceable life by using its proprietary five-zone inspection process to examine roof systems. Following the NRCIA roof inspection protocols, a trained NRCIA Certified® Roof Inspector begins the five-zone LeakFREE® roof inspection by examining the interior, accessible attic, and attached garage to find any visual evidence of a roof leak. Any evidence found in the first three zones informs the roof inspector of where to look more closely when they inspect the perimeter and rooftop.

In the fourth zone, the inspector examines the building’s perimeter to look for further evidence of leaks or damage, such as water stains and dry rot. After these observations are complete, the inspector moves to the roof and performs a visual, non-destructive examination. Each roof type and material has its common critical areas, and NRCIA roof specialists train to pay special attention to these potential trouble spots.

NRCIA Roof Inspection with Paul

Your roof’s health is important. A roof inspection is a great way to extend the lifespan of your roof system. However, it can be hard to understand exactly what inspectors are looking for during roof inspections or what their proposals mean for you after they complete the inspection.


Many roof inspectors provide either vague details or go overboard with technical jargon. The NRCIA provides homeowners’ peace of mind by providing a comprehensive, actionable, and understandable diagnosis of their roof’s health.


Follow along as Paul (NRCIA Member #001011) takes you through an NRCIA LeakFREE® Roof Inspection. He will guide you through the 5-zone roof inspection and provide in-depth commentary on what NRCIA inspectors will be looking for during their inspection.


Learn how the NRCIA and our Certified Roof Inspectors provide a world-class inspection on every roof!


Interested in becoming an inspector? 

Interested in having your roof inspected by an NRCIA member?



How To Know If Your Roof Needs Replacement or Repair

The roof system is the primary line of defense for a property. Without the integrity of a solid roof system, a structure is prone to health and safety concerns. It can sustain damages from storm-related loss, normal wear and tear, and other third-party-related issues. Just like a vehicle, your roof system requires continual maintenance and will require larger repairs as it gets older. So a question asked often is, how to know when a roof needs replacement or repair? 


The simple answer is to refer to an association like the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA) to schedule a visit with a certified roof inspector. They will perform a detailed inspection of the roof system, complete with a photo-centric report. In some cases, such as a storm-related loss, make sure the inspector is qualified for forensic inspections. 


In the meantime, here are some helpful tips to spot potential red flags in your roof system. These red flags will help indicate if the roof needs to be replaced or repaired.


Interior: moisture stains on ceilings or walls



Before, during, and after a rainstorm, perform a visual inspection of the ceilings and walls. Look inside closets and rooms that may not be visited often. It is helpful to identify if the material used is drywall or plaster because any damage will look different on each type of material. Moisture damage on drywall looks like yellow staining or delamination of the texture. Moisture damage on plaster is more difficult to see as staining is not typically the predominant clue. With plaster, moisture intrusion will cause cracks or efflorescence (white salt deposits). 


Various factors might produce discoloration or moisture damage on walls or ceilings, but it is usually a good indicator that there is a serious roof issue. An immediate inspection and repair job will help stop more damage from occurring.


Attic: water stains and presence of light


Most structures will have an attic space where the electrical, gas, water lines, and insulation are present. There typically is only one light in the attic, so a bright flashlight is needed. Start your inspection in the areas directly above any moisture stains you observed on the interior. You may see dark water stains that pronounce the grains in the wood. Those stains are a sign that there is possibly an active leak. 


Take a moment to turn off your flashlight, and you may even notice daylight coming through the roofing material. Any daylight is a red flag because there is a high likelihood of moisture intrusion and indicating the roof needs repairs as soon as possible.


Exterior: moisture damage 


Inspecting the perimeter of the structure helps identify moisture intrusion that is not visible inside the structure. The type of siding that the structure has will determine what to pay attention to. Discoloration of the siding material is a red flag that there is a roofing issue. Make sure to take a good look at the eaves for water streaks either on the shiplap or the backside of the fascia board. Keep in mind, being proactive is more cost-effective than being reactive when it comes to moisture intrusion.


If there are exterior signs of roof leaks, be sure to contact a certified roof inspector to provide a proper evaluation of the roof system. Providing proper maintenance to the roof system will prevent further moisture damage and increase its serviceable life. 


Damaged or missing roofing material


Any previous issues observed should be “up traced” to the location on top of the roof system. Only trained professionals should mount a roof. On top of the roof, there are obvious signs of defects like cracked shingles, broken tiles, or missing roofing material altogether. 


Another frequent red flag is any exposed mechanical fasteners such as staples or nails securing the roofing material. All mechanical fasteners should be covered and or sealed to prevent moisture intrusion. Widespread damage such as thermal cracking or granular loss indicates that the roofing material is at the end of its serviceable life. 


NRCIA inspectors can also perform a VisualROOF® inspection of the roof system after a large storm to inspect for damage. 


Damaged Flashings


One of the predominant maintenance issues that owners forget to perform is inspecting and repairing the flashing on the roof system. Flashings are present at roof penetration like skylights, exhaust vents, plumbing vents, chimneys, etc. Roof penetrations are highly susceptible to debris build-up and have a higher chance of allowing moisture intrusion. Proper roof maintenance includes regularly cleaning debris off the roof. This will help promote proper drainage. 


If debris remains present, it will act as a dam, impeding the proper water flow causing the rainwater to go in unnatural directions. The flashing (typically lead, galvanized, aluminum, etc…) protects the protruding components by directing water away from the penetration. The NRCIA recommends that all roof penetrations be re-sealed every two years as proactive maintenance will prolong the serviceable life of the roof system. The joint between the flashing and the roof penetration needs to be regularly sealed to ensure a LeakFREE® roof system. 


Unwanted Organic Growth

As the roof system ages, organic growth starts to develop on the roofing material. In the Northern Hemisphere, organic growth has a difficult time growing on south facets because it gets burned by the sun. A roof is most likely to grow algae on the northern facets of the building. Organic growth can cover the entire roof if the structure is surrounded by shade trees. Algae that grow in between the roofing material indicate a growing roof issue. 


Like debris, the presence of organic growth can impede proper drainage, which will result in moisture intrusion and potentially dry rot. In most cases, organic growth is an indication of old age but may have underlying causes too. 


Deteriorating Roofing material


Ultimately at some point, your roof system will age beyond cost-effective repair, and a complete roof replacement is needed. At this point, performing reactive repairs due to a leak is not cost-effective, because the roof has reached the end of its life expectancy. Homeowners may try to repair a roof that needs replacement. However, aged roof systems may not be in a repairable condition, and any attempt to repair them may cause more harm than help.


As a rule of thumb, a roof should be replaced every 25 years. Most roof systems will need to be either completely replaced or have a major overhaul performed. Knowing when your roof needs to be replaced also heavily depends on the roofing material used. For example, it is easy to observe deteriorated shingles. However, when it comes to a tile or metal roof, the moisture barrier is hidden and can only be assessed by a thorough evaluation of the overall roof system. 


A roof is a critical component of any structure. Rest easy and schedule an inspection with NRCIA, the industry leader in training and performing LeakFREE® Roof Inspections. Contact the NRCIA today


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What is the Average Tile Roof Replacement Cost?

Tile roofing is expected to last an entire lifetime, but you may find yourself in need of a tile roof replacement or repair due to leaks caused by damaged flashing, sagging tiles, cracks, worn-out underlayment, or slipping. Repairing the issues as soon as you notice them is one way to avoid a full roof replacement, but this may be necessary in some cases. The damage will get worse and worse if you don’t address it, and this can drive your costs up very quickly too. You can help justify the cost of your tile roof replacement because it’s very durable and it offers excellent weather protection in almost every climate.


It has a very classic style to it that looks good with most homes, and there are different materials you can pick with different style effects that will impact your costs. If you want to have a tile roof replacement, you’ll want to know exactly what you’re getting into with this project before you start because it can quickly become very, very expensive. It’s also not a project you can do on your own, so you’ll have to factor in labor costs for a professional too.


The average tile roof replacement cost ranges from $8,000 to $23,000. If you’re going to repair an area instead, you’ll pay between $900 and $2,500. This works out to between $8.00 and $25.00 a square foot. You’ll pay an average of $2.00 to $10.00 a square foot for materials and $5.00 to $18.00 a square foot for labor. It’s also important that you factor in the costs to haul the old materials away, which types of tile you want to bring in, the roof style, and more.


If you’re considering a tile roof replacement, this is for you. We’re going to break down the cost factors associated with this project, and you can take them and see which ones are relevant to your situation. Once you get the square footage of your roof, you can get a healthy cost estimate for this project. Then, you can call local contractors and see which ones line up well with your budget. You’ll get a new tile roof that can withstand years of abuse without cracking, leaking, or having a lot of maintenance.


Costs for Different Tile Styles


One of the first things you’ll notice is that there are various tile styles available. Each style has a different cost, texture, and appearance to it that can make your tile roof replacement project more complicated. The style impacts how expensive it is with simple and flat styles costing less while Roman tiles cost more. The most popular styles are:




French tiles are also called Profile tiles, and they have indents instead of humps in the design that helps water runoff into your collection system. These tiles date back to 1850, and several French brothers created them. They’re extremely popular in Europe and France.


These are very tightly fitted tiles that are very durable, and you’ll need special roof caps and edge pieces to install them. You could run into problems with corrosion, underlayment issues, and cracked tiles down the road. A tile roof replacement using French-style tiles will cost between $9.00 to $11.00 per square foot.




These tiles connect via side joints that connect each tile on the roof. Interlocking tiles can be granular or smooth, and your contractor will lay them in a single lap to help enhance how strong your roof is. The interlocking design makes a tile roof replacement relatively easy and straightforward, and you get a very classic look. You can also find them in stone-coated metal.


It can be challenging to find this style in all materials, especially concrete. However, it’s easy to replace or repair these tiles if needed once you get them installed. You can use a mortar to disconnect them from the surrounding tiles and slide the new tiles back in before screwing them down. Your costs will range from $9.00 to $11.00 a square foot for interlocking tiles.




Mission tiles are also called Double Roman tiles, and they have a very obvious and distinct pattern to them. You’ll find these tiles widely used in the Mediterranean, and they give you a smaller water course look. You can use them as a ridge cap due to their size and shape. However, they are slightly more difficult to install, and this can increase your tile roof replacement costs.


You can use mortar or concrete to repair the damage when you see it, or you can use a crowbar to lift up any tiles that are too damaged to be fixed and replace it with new ones. Your prices will start at $8.50 per square foot and go up to $11.00 per square foot to replace them.




This is an S-shaped, single-lap, roof tile that gets made out of fired clay, and it looks like terracotta pots you use in container gardening. Single-lap designs have a bottom edge that will only overlap the row directly below it. In turn, you’ll get a rippling look, and it’s slightly lighter than other tile options. They come in many patterns and different styles to fit your home’s design aesthetic, but they have higher profiles that are more prone to damage because they’re fragile.


You use lime and mortar to fix any tiles, but don’t use cement as it has a negative effect since the tile is softer. You want to make sure your entire roof uses the same shape, color, and dimensions to allow them to link properly on your roof to create a seal. The tile roof replacement cost will range from $8.00 to $10.00 a square foot.




A plain or flat tiled roof is one of the most common styles installed in residential homes throughout the world. It has versatility coupled with a traditional look that makes it easy to install on different pitches and property styles. They also won’t trap rainwater since they have a flat design, and they’re also cost-effective and easy to install in a variety of patterns.


However, this type of tile isn’t as decorative as other picks on the list, but it’s a solid choice if you want to budget for your tile roof replacement project. You can easily use a crowbar to lift any heavily damaged tile and replace it too, and this can help with maintenance costs. You can expect to pay between $8.00 and $9.00 a square foot for plain tile.




Riviera has a very similar look to the mission tile design, but it’s extremely intricate with a rigid feel and a semi-flat look. It’s a nice choice if you want to have a repeating design with a very dramatic pattern. It’ll create a symmetrical roof with deep shadows and classic lines, but it can be harder to find. Cracking and slipping are also common, so you’ll have more maintenance costs. The tile roof replacement cost per square foot for this option ranges from $9.00 to $11.00.




This tile will give you a very classic design that mimics Rome’s monumental buildings. They have flat pans and round caps, and you can have single or double curves that look like the Spanish S-shaped tile. There are different heights and curve styles available, but they’re fragile if you use a higher profile with them.


Once you get the tile in place, you can repair them as they crack using mortar or concrete. For a full tile roof replacement using this style, you’ll save on labor costs because it’s quick and easy. You can remove each tile using a crowbar and interlocking the new tile into place. There are also pre-drilled alignment marks on each tile, and you’ll pay between $9.00 and $12.00 a square foot.




These tiles come with a scalloped shape, but it curves downward rather than upwards. This lends a very European appearance to it, and you can find them in use throughout Europe. The unique design is a big draw for a lot of people. They do have a higher cost and they’re more difficult to source, and this is why the average tile roof replacement using Scandanavian-style tiles ranges from $12.00 to $14.00 a square foot.




This is a natural stone tile that has a beautiful and unique appearance to it. They have a very long lifespan, they’re environmentally-friendly, and they have fire-resistance. However, they are fragile and do weigh more than other types of tile, and installation can be challenging. It can be hard to source a contractor to install these tiles. However, they have low maintenance needs.


You will have trouble fixing these tiles if they break after your tile roof replacement. You’ll have to use a ripper to cut through the nails before replacing them. If you include the material, you’ll pay between $12.00 and $14.00 a square foot for this option.




Mediterranean or Spanish tiles are very popular on homes in warmer climates, and you’ll get an S-shape with them. They give you a waved look, and it’s ideal for any planting zone that routinely gets heavy rainfalls. One tile will act like the lower and upper portion, and this can save you both labor and time when it comes to your tile roof replacement. They are more fragile because they come made out of clay.


If you notice any small cracks, you can use a membrane patch to fix them. You can also apply mortar to any cracked or broken areas when you notice them to seal it. You can replace them one at a time using a roof membrane to attach them. You’ll pay between $8.50 and $11.00 a square foot with this style.



Tile Roof Replacement Price by Material


The tile roof replacement cost will get heavily influenced by the material you pick out. The roofing material cost will vary according to your roof type. Some roof types need more materials and labor, especially if you have a steep pitch. The most budget-friendly option is concrete tiles, and composite or clay tiles fall in the middle of the price spectrum. The following outlines popular materials used in tile roof replacement projects and their associated costs per square feet.


Clay Tiles


You can get clay tiles in a large range of patterns, shapes, and colors, and the contractor will usually install them in an S-pattern that overlaps. You’ll often see these tiles in historic buildings because they have a wealth of color, longevity, and they look good for years. Since you can’t re-mount the tiles in the same way, the process can be more labor-intensive when it comes to tile roof replacement with clay. If you include labor and materials, you’ll pay between $9.00 to $21.00 a square foot.


Composite Tiles


Any composite tile is a mixture of several materials like asphalt, plastic, laminate, and wood. This combination gives you a long-lasting roof that will stay whole for 30 to 50 years. Even though they offer a higher level of durability, it is possible to damage them. Extreme weather can peel the tiles back or cause chips or cracking that can lead to leaks if you don’t fix them quickly. It’ll eventually lead to a full tile roof replacement if you’re not careful.


The contractor will have to use a crowbar and hammer to lift any shingles before removing them from the adhesive. If it’s just a minor crack, you can apply a layer of roofing sealant under the crack to seal it. You may need a caulking gun to apply a sealant to the corner of your shingles to prevent curling. Your tile roof replacement cost with composite tiles ranges from $10.00 to $21.00 a square foot. This includes both materials and labor.


Concrete Tiles


Concrete is a very cost-effective and popular choice when it comes to your tile roof replacement project. It also requires very little maintenance and offers good fire protection along with having a lifespan of 50 years. This is why it’s also a popular driveway material. They’re also lightweight, and this can help prevent structural issues.


Concrete tiles can slide out, crack, or show signs of general wear and tear after years though, so there is some maintenance required to keep your roof looking good. You’ll have to keep an eye out for any damage and fill any small holes or cracks with roofing cement. If you need to replace tiles, you can lift them with a crowbar and gently slide an undamaged tile in place. Your tile roof replacement project cost will range from $8.00 to $20.00 a square foot, including labor.


Metal Sheets


Metal offers you very little maintenance, high durability, energy-efficiency, easy installation, and longer warranties. However, repairs are more difficult in the event of damage since most metal roofs are sheets of metal that you have to replace all in one go. If you only have small holes, you can patch them relatively quickly to keep your labor costs low.


Metal is also a very stylish option that comes in several colors, and this is why it’s popular throughout the United States. It can handle a host of weather conditions without a problem, and your roof replacement cost will range from $9.00 to $23.00 a square foot. This is slightly higher, but it can also last much longer than other options.


Terracotta Tiles


The Greeks and Romans used terracotta tiles for thousands of years, and they use a natural clay material that they fire at a very high temperature until it fuses to form shingles. Terracotta tiles come with a very low maintenance need, and they can easily last up to 100 years or more. They’re fireproof, durable, environmentally-friendly, and they offer an attractive look to help boost your home’s curb appeal.


You will need to hire a professional when it comes to using terracotta tiles on your tile roof replacement project because they can be very difficult to install. Improper installation can cause damage due to freezing, rain, or severe weather. They use a vertical or horizontal overlap to stop water from leaking inside. The cost for this type of tile ranges from $11.00 to $23.00 a square foot, so it’s not the most budget-friendly option on the list.


Cost to Replace the Underlayment


When you perform a tile roof replacement, you’ll want to replace the underlayment at the same time. This is a waterproof and water-resistant barrier that the contractors will lay underneath the tiles to help seal the roof. This protects it from more severe weather. It’s a common practice to replace the old underlayment when you’re installing a new roof, especially if the roof itself is much older. This is very important because it can protect the house if the roof sustains damage from things like leaking or mold.


You can pick your underlayment from a few different options. Most contractors will include the cost of the underlayment in your tile roof replacement cost estimate. However, you do want to double-check. The most common types of underlayment include:


Felt Underlayment


Roofing felt is better known as asphalt-saturated felt. This is one of the first types of underlayment used, and it’s been used for decades. It works and looks just like traditional tar paper, but it has a combination of asphalt, bitumen, cellulose, and polyester that gets soaked in a waterproofing agent. You can choose from 15 or 30-pounds for the thicknesses. The thicker option is a good choice because it better resists damage from any outside elements.


This underlayment is a low-budget choice that is relatively easy to install with basic tools. It also gives you a very nice seepage barrier, and it’s flexible and easy to fix. It does have a slightly shorter lifespan to it when you compare it to other options, and the repairs may not look as aesthetically-pleasing. Including labor and materials, replacing this type of underlayment will add between $0.50 and $0.70 a square foot to your tile roof replacement cost.


Synthetic Underlayment


Many contractors use synthetic underlayment as their go-to product during tile roof replacement projects. It uses hard-wearing plastics in the makeup like polyethylene or polypropylene, and they saturate it in asphalt to make it even more durable. It will resist fungi and mold, and it has a high elasticity, durability, waterproofing rating to help safeguard your home. Additionally, it also holds up against UV damage and light without breaking down. It rarely tears around the fasteners, and it’ll stay smooth once you install it.


You will need caps and cap nails during the installation process instead of using common tools like roofing nails and staples. It may also not meet some building requirements since it’s not standardized and different manufacturers can make it however they like. This can impact your roofing warranty and leave some issues uncovered. To replace this type of underlayment, your tile roof replacement project will increase by $0.75 to $1.00 a square foot for labor and materials.


Labor Costs


You will want to hire a professional roofer to take on this project. On average, they’ll charge anywhere from $45.00 to $75.00 an hour for their work, and this will depend on your location. Your labor costs will go up if you have a slope on your roof that is steeper than average or if you have an unusual roof style because it’s more dangerous to work.


The roofer will have to perform a visual inspection of the roof to determine how much damage is around and whether or not you need a full tile roof replacement or just a partial one. They’ll discuss their findings with you and set up a plan. How large your roof is and the shape will directly influence your labor costs, and even the smallest project can take several days to finish.


The cost for a tile roof replacement varies, but you can expect to spend between $8,000 and $23,000. The labor will account for around 60% of the total costs, and the material will account for the final 40% of the project’s total. The costs work out to between $12.00 and $35.00 a square foot, and it includes removing your current roof, getting rid of it, and getting new underlayment and tile and installing it.


Maintaining Your Tile Roof

Your tile roof comes designed to last for  years, and it can withstand harsh weather conditions without a problem. However, you do want to work and maintain it. Make a point to occasionally inspect your tile roof following any major storms. Remove any debris you find during your inspection and check on the tile condition, sealant, and fasteners. If you see any damage, take steps to fix it as quickly as possible to reduce the chances of the problem getting worse.


If you notice mold, stains, or mildew forming, you should clean the tiles. You want to do this using a wire brush and a hand trowel. If you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself, there are companies who will do it for you. Never pressure wash your tile roof because this can cause a lot of damage. You can take other steps to maintain your roof once you clean it like priming, buffing, painting, or resealing it.


Frequently Asked Questions 


1. How long does a tile roof last on average?

Depending on the type of tile you get, your roof can have a long lifespan. Some tiles will only last between 20 and 30 years, but other types of tile can last upwards of 70 to 100 years with proper maintenance.


2. How long does underlayment last?

If you get a high-quality underlayment and have it professionally installed, it can easily last for 25 years. However, each manufacturer has different standards for their underlayment, so some can last longer than others.


3. Is maintenance necessary for tile roofs?

Generally speaking, tile roofs need very little maintenance. However, performing routine maintenance can help your roof last years longer. You’ll want to inspect the roof after storms, remove debris, and fix any damage you see to the sealant, fasteners, and tiles as soon as you notice them. Also, make a point to remove any mildew, mold, or stains you see.


Bottom Line 


Your tile roof replacement cost will vary depending on a wide range of factors, and it’s very easy for this project to get expensive. We’ve outlined the biggest things you want to consider for this project, and you can take this quick guide to get a rough estimate before you call any local companies to get your tile roof replacement.


Originally posted at:

Preparing for High Winds: How to Protect a Home from Damage

High Winds During Hurricane

Wind can come in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, microbursts or downdrafts. There are high winds and gusts in some instances that last just a few minutes, and there are sustaining winds that may last for days. While wind can be a powerful asset, it can also pose a significant danger at times. On an individual basis, it can be valuable to understand the impact of high winds and how we can best protect our homes and personal property from wind damage. There are many ways to reinforce a home against wind damage — some are simple enough to DIY while others may require professional assistance.

In this guide, we hope to help increase understanding of how wind can put stress on a home. It is our goal to help improve the appreciation of this powerful force and provide advice in best protecting a property on almost every level to help minimize damage from large storms.



When considering the role doors play in protecting homes from high winds, it is natural to think about our exterior doors first. They are the doors that provide the first line of defense from high winds and blowing debris. While certainly wind-resistant doors and break-resistant glass play a significant part in fighting winds, interior doors are important as well. In hurricane winds or when a tornado may be imminent, all doors and windows, including every interior door should be closed. This can prevent pressure build up inside of a home which can lead to losing a room. Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize damage from wind or rain should there a breach in the exterior of a home.


Benefits of Impact Resistant Doors

Many areas of the country have been designated Wind-Borne Debris Regions (WBDR) and High-Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ). These are mainly located in coastal areas that frequently experience high winds. Stricter building codes exist in many of these areas requiring new structures to be constructed using impact resistant doors. These doors are not only constructed using materials with greater strength and impact resistant glass, but are also installed using techniques to withstand higher winds, rain, and debris.

While it wasn’t that long ago impact-resistant doors were unsightly, design and material improvements have made them more aesthetically appealing and virtually indistinguishable from standard doors. They have become so appealing in fact, even owners of older homes are choosing them when it comes time to replace current doors.

There are multiple benefits to these impact-resistant doors. They provide better security for a home, even when high winds aren’t present. They offer better sound and temperature insulation than standard products. Impact-resistant doors will help prevent a doorway breach in high winds, keeping occupants and personal possessions safer.

Another benefit of impact-resistant doors is that they could lead to a discount to homeowners insurance premiums, especially for those who live in high wind-prone areas. Many of these homeowners are making proactive improvements to better safeguard their properties including the installation of impact-resistant doors.


How to Reinforce Doors


Boarding up Door

There are ways in which standard doors can be reinforced to better resist damage from high winds. Most are simple, do-it-yourself projects.

  • Inspect doors of any cracks or missing or damaged hardware. Make sure there are no air leaks around the door.
  • Replace standard hinge screws with longer, stronger screws that will reach into the wall frame.
  • Make sure the threshold seals the door bottom and is screwed deeply into the floor.
  • Add a deadbolt to exterior doors that extend a minium of one-inch.
  • If you have French-style double doors, make sure they are refitted with bolts that extend at least an inch into the floor.

It is a common practice to reinforce doors (and windows) with sheets of plywood when a hurricane approaches. This can be cost-effective and should be planned in advance. When covering doors with plywood, use at least ½ inch thick plywood sheets that extend beyond the door frame and secured with heavy-duty screws or expansion bolts. Pre-drilling holes and marking the location for each sheet of plywood can help save valuable time in an approaching storm. Keep in mind that plywood quickly becomes in high demand as a hurricane approaches, so being prepared ahead of time will ensure you have the materials needed and on hand.

Other than covering traditional, standard sliding glass doors with shutters or plywood the only way to defend against glass breakage is by replacing the doors with those using impact-resistant glass. Even with impact-resistant glass, many homeowners appreciate the added protection a layer of plywood can provide.



A quick look around any yard will reveal a number of items that can quickly turn into projectiles during high winds. There are natural materials like sticks, limbs, dirt and stones. Then there are man-made items like lawn furniture, trampolines, grills, umbrellas, yard tools, and toys. These items make a home’s windows particularly vulnerable during high winds, especially when standard glass is used. They can also damage siding, scrape roofing and damage neighboring property.

Even a small branch or piece of flying debris can start a landslide of damage once a window is cracked. That crack can weaken a window, eventually turning into a break. As winds continue to put force on the broken window, the break can become larger and even cause the complete failure of the window. This can result in dangerous shards of glass being splintered through a room. Winds and rain now have even greater access to the home’s interior, likely creating further damage. Once winds enter a space, the entire structure, including the roof, is at greater risk.

A home’s security during high winds is only as strong as its weakest link and, in most cases, that is a window. There are two main options when it comes to providing better window protection. One is to cover or reinforce windows and the other is to upgrade windows to high impact glass.


Benefits of High Impact Glass

High impact glass is manufactured to resist the impact from wind-borne materials during strong winds. Not only is the glass generally thicker, it is reinforced with a clear film to help maintain its integrity. Impact resistant glass is more flexible in high winds and even if cracked, will not shatter into dangerous sharp pieces of flying glass.

Beyond improving the safety of a home in a wind event, there are multiple other benefits to high impact glass that even homeowners in non-coastal areas can benefit from.

  • Sound Insulation: High impact glass has sound insulating qualities that can create a quieter environment in a home. This can be very beneficial in a noisy city environment or even in the suburbs where weekend lawn mowing and trimming may take place earlier than appreciated. It will also help insulate a home from the sounds of neighboring barking dogs, traffic noise and construction.
  • Security: Not only can high impact glass protect from flying debris but it can also discourage intruders. While high impact glass is not impenetrable, it will certainly slow down someone intending to break into a home through windows. This just may be enough to discourage them.
  • Reduction of UV Rays: High impact glass uses laminate material that reduces up to 99% of UV rays from entering a home. These rays can cause long-term damage and fading of curtains, upholstery and other furnishings.
  • Lower Energy Costs: Choosing impact glass has the built-in benefit of reducing energy cost. How much will depend on the type of windows chosen. This is particularly valuable in coastal areas that frequently experience high temperatures like Florida, the Southeast Coast, and Gulf Coast states.
  • Lower Insurance Costs: Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who improve their homes using wind resistant upgrades like windows. These discounts along with energy savings can contribute to paying for high impact windows.
  • Increased Value: High impact windows add to the value of a home. They can also be a significant selling point when putting a home up for sale in a high wind-prone region.

Like any replacement window, high impact windows are available in three common framing materials including wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Modern high impact glass windows are every bit as attractive, and in many cases more so, than traditional window options.


How to Reinforce Windows

When upgrading to high impact glass is not the only option, there are less expensive, and even do-it-yourself alternatives.

  • Plywood: Plywood is an inexpensive and effective way to protect your windows in a high wind event. The key is to be prepared and pre-measure and drill plywood sheets to cover windows ahead of time. Use plywood that is at least 1/2″ thick with sheets cut to extend 6-8″ beyond the window opening. Mark and pre-drill holes where heavy duty screws will anchor the plywood sheets in place. Mark the location of each plywood sheet using a marker, for example, “Kitchen window-Upper Right”. This will help you more quickly mount your plywood in an approaching storm.
  • Hurricane Film: Hurricane film is a clear laminate that can be applied directly to the glass in a window. It is popular because it is relatively inexpensive, easy to apply and can help prevent UV rays for entering a home. Hurricane film is designed to keep the glass from shattering into tiny, sharp projectiles upon an impact. If windows are older or frames are weak, however, it could cause the entire window to fail in high winds or in a significant impact.
  • Shutters: Shutters are still a popular choice for window protection especially along the coasts and for condominium owners. There are plenty of design and material options in modern shutters including roll-up and accordion style. These are pre-installed and ready for deployment during a wind event. Materials include aluminum, fiberglass and reinforced fabric. There are even opaque materials that will let more light into a home. Remote controlled powered shutters add even more convenience.

It is important to note that taping windows/placing a giant “X” using tape on a window is virtually useless in either adding strength or in keeping a window from shattering. The other methods in this section will be much more helpful.



The roof is one of the largest parts of a home. Rather than thinking of it as a single element, however, it is helpful to think of it as a combination of materials that protect your home from rain, snow, animals and helps keep warmth and cool air in. A roof consists of the outside layer (most frequently – but not always – asphalt shingles), a tarpaper moisture barrier, underlayment, and trusses. It also includes materials like flashing, eaves, soffits and more.

Although large, the roof is susceptible to damage in high winds for a variety of reasons. As a roof ages, shingles can become brittle and lose adhesion to the structure. Older roofs aren’t reinforced as well as more modern structures and are more easily damaged. While a roof is both large and heavy, it can be no match for high winds as elements get peeled away or the entire roof structure may even be lifted away.

Of course, once the roof has been compromised, wind and water can enter the interior of the home and the entire building will be at risk.

The lifespan of roofs will depend primarily on the roofing materials used. Standard vinyl shingles may last from 15-25 years, while steel or tile roofing can last 60-80 years or more. These materials, of course, will vary widely in costs.

Like most elements of a home, the lifespan of a roof can be extended through regular inspections and maintenance.


Regularly Inspect the Roof

Roof inspections should be conducted at least once a year. While many roof issues can be detected with the naked eye, a closer look may reveal more hidden problems. Here is a list of some areas of focus when conducting an annual roof inspection.

  • Missing or partial shingles.
  • Shingles that are cracking or buckling.
  • Worn or cracked rubber boots around roof pipes and vents.
  • Rust on metal flashing
  • Cracking or chipping caulk on flashing
  • Damaged or missing chimney capabilities
  • Shingles that are scraped or otherwise damaged from limbs that may have fallen.
  • Any moss that is growing on the shingles.

Furthermore, homeowners should check the area around their roof and keep any tree limbs trimmed back and away from the roof. These limbs can serve as traffic lanes for insects and varmints who can do roof damage. In addition, you’ll want to make sure your gutter system is clean, clear and draining properly. Backed up water or frozen water can cause significant problems to a roof’s structure. Particular attention should be paid to the edges of a roof where weakened material can be more easily lifted by high winds.


Optimal Roof Design


Metal Roof Protection

Housing design has a major impact on the amount of wind damage that may be done to a home. A low profile roof, for example, is much less likely to experience damage than a high profile one. This means that a roof on a single story home is less likely to incur damage that the roof of a two-story house.

A hip roof is less likely to be damaged than a gable roof. The more roof penetrations there are, the more likely it is that damage occurs. Wider overhangs are also prone to more damage. Roof integrity in high winds is frequently determined during construction and in the design and materials used.

For example, in construction, nails should be used as opposed to staples. Plywood is a more durable, wind resistant choice than particle board for underlayment. While certainly more expensive, metal roofing has proven to withstand high winds far better than asphalt shingles. Metal roofing has far fewer seams than asphalt shingles and fewer areas where the wind can get underneath. Metal roof sections lock together creating a better bond and overall stronger structure. Roofs designed with smaller overhangs also have less opportunity for uplift.

While a homeowner may feel there is little they can do about an existing roof, there are actually a number of roofing upgrades, aftermarket products, and steps that can be taken to upgrade a current roofing system to make it more wind resistant.


Securing Roof/Shingles

Even if you are just replacing a current aging roof, there are steps one can take to make a roofing system more wind resistant. Start by using plywood as the underlayment instead of composite wood. Metal roofs are extremely wind resistant as are clay, slate, and concrete tiles. Heavier clay or slate materials may require additional strengthening of your underlying roof system. There are asphalt shingles that are rated higher for wind resistance and they should be installed using nails as opposed to staples. You can also request six nails be used in attaching each shingle instead of the normal four. These steps alone will help provide a more substantial, wind resistant roof. There is more however, that can be done.

In excessive winds, pressure is applied to various sides of a home and potentially can lift the entire roof system off of a house. When this occurs, there is no lateral stability to hold the walls up. This results in the walls generally falling outward, making it appear the home has exploded. There are several steps than can be taken to mitigate this problem including better securing the roofing system to the load-bearing walls and foundation. There are braces which can be added to a roof system including trusses to maintain its integrity. Hurricane straps and can be installed to secure the roof to load bearing sidewalls.

These systems will likely need to be upgraded/installed by a licensed contractor familiar with roofing codes in your particular area.


Garage Door

A garage door is typically the largest moving part of an entire home. This creates some unique challenges in high wind situations. Generally speaking, garage doors are designed to move upward and downward, providing security and shelter for vehicles and other items stored in the area. Like most materials used in construction, under daily stress, garage doors may perform admirably and even enhance the appearance of a home. Under the stress of high winds, however, they can and do fail. This can cause a chain reaction of destruction and damage to a home, once wind and moisture are introduced to the area.

When a detached garage is involved, a garage door plays a major role in keeping the wind from getting into the garage and lifting off the roof. In an attached garage, it could lead to damage to the roof structure of the entire home.


Inspecting the Condition of the Garage Door

Ensuring a garage door is ready for high winds starts with a visual inspection. Unless a garage door contains windows, there should be little if any daylight seen around the panels when the door is closed. Wheels should fit securely in the roller tracks and there should be minimal “wiggle-room” when the door is in place. The garage door should be able to manually lock into both the right and left sides of the track.

When replacing a garage door, consider a “storm ready” reinforced door. These doors are constructed of heavier materials and reinforced both horizontally and vertically. Impact resistant hurricane-ready garage doors also include heavier hardware and more durable wheel and track systems. Securing this type of door simply involves closing it and locking it into place.

Best Garage Doors Materials


Strong Garage Door Material

Steel is a popular impact resistant material that can be used for a garage door. Many impact resistant doors will include at least one layer of steel and may include layers containing wood, polycarbonate materials, insulation or aluminum. The strongest wind and impact resistant doors use several layers in their construction.

Keep in mind, a garage door must not only withstand the strength of 100+ mph winds but must also be able to absorb the punishment that flying debris may inflict on the door. Thin aluminum or aging wood may not stand a chance of survival in such winds and swirling debris. Most have seen images of a 2×4 piercing a tree, car window or other material as a result of high winds. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to visualize the damage that could do to a standard garage door.


How to Reinforce a Garage Door

There are two main forms of aftermarket options to reinforce garage doors to increase wind resistance. The first is a bracing system that must be manually put into place as high winds approach, and be manually removed following the storm. These bracing systems installed inside of the garage door help to provide additional support. Long metal posts are placed into the floor and into ceiling beams. Some bracing systems also include horizontal braces.

There are also hurricane panels available, most frequently made of steel, aluminum or polycarbonate materials. Like storm shutters or plywood that can be used to protect doors and windows, these panels install on the outside of the garage door, provide additional protection from wind and debris. These also need to be manually removed when the wind threat has passed.

Reinforcing garage doors with these aftermarket systems can offer better protection for a home, but they will not generally qualify homeowners for discounts on their insurance policy.


Home Siding/Exterior

Another area of a home that should be of concern in high winds is the siding. Like the roof, windows, and doors, keeping a home’s siding inspected and properly maintained will go a long way in maintaining its integrity in a windstorm. Like those other areas, the key is preventing the wind from getting a foothold behind the siding, giving it an opportunity to tear it off of the structure.


Siding Condition Inspection


Checking Siding Condition

A large factor in the integrity of your siding in high winds is its age, condition, and the materials of which it is made. Like other aspects of your home, the place to start is with a thorough inspection of your siding.

You are looking for cracks and openings and where the siding may have deteriorated. While much of this inspection can be visual, be prepared to apply pressure on the siding to test its strength and to verify it is firmly attached. If wood siding appears to be soft, those pieces should be replaced. Where it is loose, it should be reinforced. Make sure to check corner pieces as well.

Other areas of concern should be around doors and windows. If siding has pulled away from window or door frames it should be resealed. The same is true for any areas where the siding has been breached for a dryer vent, exterior faucets, the main water line, and natural gas entry points and any HVAC vents or pipes. You’ll also want to inspect areas where the cable company may have created an entry point. Wind-driven moisture into these areas can cause long-term damage from rotting wood and even mold.

An annual thorough siding inspection can help you spot trouble before it magnifies and will help ensure your siding is better prepared for any unexpected wind event.


Sealing Gaps

One of the easiest and best ways to prevent winds from getting behind siding is to make sure the siding is sealed properly. Over the course of years, siding is heated and cooled, potentially creating gaps, cracks and even pulling away from the foundation. Wood siding can be compromised by moisture or insects. Older vinyl siding can bow and crack.

These gaps can be eliminated in a variety of ways including caulk, spray foam insulation. If the damage is significant enough, replacement of some of the siding may be prudent. Keep in mind, during gale force winds, it is not just the weakened siding that is in jeopardy.


Proper Siding Installation for High Winds

Special steps need to be taken when installing new or replacing siding in wind prone areas. Of course, attention needs to be paid to any local building codes and manufacturer’s instructions for the materials used. Prior to installation, a moisture barrier or house wrap should be put in place to serve as an additional defense against wind-driven moisture. Pay close attention that the materials purchased are suitable for the location of your home. For example, if a home is located close to a coastline, stainless steel fasteners may be suggested or even required. It is typically advised to never use dissimilar metals together.

When siding is being installed, very careful attention must be paid to the proper installation of the lowest deck of materials. If this layer is improperly or carelessly installed it can have a negative effect on the entire project. This is due, in part, because damage to siding frequently occurs from the bottom up.

Other installation tips will depend on the type of material used.


Installing Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is resilient in high winds as long as it is properly rated and is installed correctly. The International Building Code says vinyl siding should be rated up to 110 mph up to 30 feet high. This is sufficient for one and two story homes. For taller structures, or for those who wish to achieve higher than a 110 mph rating, more structurally sound siding and installation methods should be used.

It is important to remember that higher wind ratings are achieved through a combination of the materials and the installation methods so manufacturer instructions for installation should be strictly adhered to.

Vinyl siding rated for higher winds will generally be made of thicker, stiffer vinyl and include an enhanced nailing hem. Nails should be placed in the center of the nail slot and should not be hammered fully into place. Leave enough room for the siding to be able to slightly expand and contract in temperature swings. This will prevent the siding from buckling. Do not caulk or seal vinyl siding pieces together to allow for this slight movement.

Only use the manufacturer’s suggested starter strip when installing siding. This will help ensure a solid start to the project. Make sure each section is properly locked with previously installed sections and has an appropriate overlap. Special care should be taken around window and door frames to maintain the integrity of the vinyl siding.


Installing Wood Siding


Properly Installed Wood Siding

Wood siding is both attractive and functional in areas where high winds occur. Here are some tips to keep in mind when installing wood siding in these wind prone areas.

  • Be sure to use a water barrier or house wrap under the wood siding, but make sure to include a rain screen. A rain screen is a small gap between the back of the wood siding and the water barrier that allows moisture to escape or “rain” down the barrier. This can be accomplished by using vertical furring strips to allow for the spacing. Check manufacturer recommendations, however, to suit your specific materials.
  • Choose decay-resistant wood. Redwood, cedar, or cypress are good choices.
  • Prime the wood siding before installation for best coverage.
  • Follow specific manufacturer instructions for attaching wood siding, especially when attempting to achieve high wind ratings.
  • Blind nailing should be done at least ¾ of an inch below the top edge. Surface nailing, however, may provide better adhesion in high winds. Check with both local building codes and the manufacturer’s instructions before making a final decision.
  • Be sure to trim off the bottom of the first course, not allowing for an extension of siding beyond the underlying material. This can minimize wind grab.

Wood siding can require more maintenance than some other choices, but it can pay dividends in beauty and in the versatility to paint it to change colors.


Installing Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is durable, versatile and extremely wind resistant when properly installed. While installation is similar to that of wood siding, fiber cement siding will require special precautions and tools outside of your typical homeowner toolset, especially when cutting material on-site. Eye protection and breathing filters are strongly encouraged.

The following suggestions should be kept in mind when installing fiber cement siding.

  • Field-cut ends should be sealed based on manufacturer instructions.
  • All intersections should be properly gapped and sealed.
  • Pay strict attention for local codes and manufacturer instructions when choosing appropriate fasteners for the wind ratings you desire to achieve.
  • Blind nails should be at least 3/4″ from the top edge. To achieve 100 mph+ wind ratings, face nailing is recommended.
  • Make sure the first course is trimmed and doesn’t extend beyond the underlying material.

Fiber cement siding provides exceptional protection from wind, and although it may be outside of the realm of a DIY project for many, it may be worth exploring as a high wind resistant option.


Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs)

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) are an increasingly popular choice in new construction for those living in areas prone to natural disasters, including hurricanes and tornados.

ICF’s are concrete walls that are cast in place on-site, between two layers of insulation. The insulating material is bound together by steel rods. Not only does this type of construction provide exceptional soundproofing and insulation benefits, it can withstand winds up to 250 mph. That should get the attention of anyone considering building a home in a tornado or hurricane prone area.

While ICF construction is said to add about 5-10% to a home’s build price, that cost can be made up in energy savings and potential savings on homeowner’s insurance. Some project actual energy savings of from 30-70% with an ICF constructed home. An ICF constructed home is said to allow less allergens into a home and is more fire resistant than other construction materials. It also can provide peace of mind in even the most severe weather and wind conditions.


Landscaping and Outbuildings

An important component of protecting a home and property in high winds is minimizing the potential projectiles that can become airborne in a tornado or hurricane. These projectiles can result from trees and limbs and from an assortment of yard furniture and outdoor tools and toys we may use on a daily basis. Depending on how much warning you have prior to a wind event, items can be safely secured in a garage or outbuilding (which should also be secured and/or reinforced). Items like empty trash containers can even be filled with water to keep them in place. Larger items like a backyard trampoline should be disassembled, stored, or at the very least turned upside down and secured to the ground.

Homeowners should consider every item not secured in their outdoor living spaces as a potential projectile including potted outdoor plants, decorative items, and umbrellas. Even piles of brush can scatter and cause damage to property in severe winds.

It can pay to make an inspection of your property and secure loose items before an approaching storm.




Pruning Trees Safety

Very few news stories about wind damage don’t include images of large downed trees. Trees serve as a sail in the wind and, in spite of deep or extensive root systems, will topple in high winds. The potential increases when storms occur during or after heavy rains when the ground has become saturated. The saturated ground provides less resistance to the wind pummeling a tree. Eventually, a tree may simply become knocked over, large root ball and all. In other cases, large sections of a tree may split in the wind or large limbs taken down. This is more frequently seen in an area that hasn’t seen a heavy wind storm in several years. In this case, trees that have become overgrown or aged are “pruned” by Mother Nature. Interesting enough, in areas that see more frequent windstorms, significant tree damage is less likely as nature keeps up with the pruning process. Whatever the scenario, homeowners should keep an eye on trees around their homes to better protect their homes from potential damage.


Inspecting and Pruning Tree Branches

Proper tree maintenance on a property starts with regularly inspecting trees. While you may not feel comfortable in your knowledge of trees, there are some simple things to look for in a tree inspection.

You should be able to “see” through the leaves of a tree. This better allows air flow through its branches and minimizes the drag high winds put on the leaves. If the tree is small enough, you may be able to remove or prune some of these interior branches to allow for winds to better pass through.

Generally speaking, small growth branches that extend upward should be left to grown. Downward-growing branches or those that are beginning to grow across others can cause potential issues. Those can and should be trimmed.

Branches that touch a house or overhang a house should also be trimmed. Winds can cause a limb that is touching a structure to scratch rub against siding or roofing causing damage. It also provides an opportunity for window breakage. Of course, limbs that hang above a property are always cause for concern. If tree trimming is done immediately prior to an anticipated hurricane, be sure trimmed limbs are properly disposed of and not left in a pile in the yard.


Tree Removal

If wind damage is your top priority, no tree should be closer to your home that its height, and should be removed. However, in most instances, this is neither practical nor desired. Trees provide shade and add beauty to homes. The reality is, however, an old tree that is showing its age may need to be removed. This will require the services of a professional, usually, with fees based on the size of the tree and how challenging a position it is located in to be safely removed.

Removing an heirloom tree can be a difficult decision. They are often replaced by planting a new tree that will offer less maintenance and potential danger.

Make sure any tree removal service used is bonded and insured. Inquire if stump removal is included in the price and if all limbs and material will be removed from the property. When a home has a fireplace, the homeowner may decide to keep many larger pieces of the removed tree for future firewood. Some trees may also have wood that is valuable. The wood can be sold either to the tree removal service or another individual.

It is important any limbs and debris be removed from a yard prior to any high wind event. This is a reason a homeowner shouldn’t wait for an impending wind storm to perform needed tree removal.


Outbuildings and Other Potential Projectiles


Secured Storage Shed

Many homes make use of outbuildings and storage sheds to store items ranging from lawn equipment to tools and bicycles. If the outbuilding is not secured to a cement pad or otherwise properly anchored, it can cause problems on several levels. First, smaller, lighter wood or plastic buildings (or tiny homes that are not built on a foundation) can easily be moved or toppled in high winds. They can break apart and sail into the wind. This also can create the secondary problem of turning the contents of the outbuilding into projectiles. Watching this take place from the interior of a home while the winds are raging can be frustrating, frightening and concerning. There will be little that can be done after the fact. Outbuildings need to be prepared for high winds ahead of time.

Securing any such outbuildings or sheds is critical in areas that experience high winds. Anchor systems are available that can be attached to the base of a shed-like structure and be secured to the ground. There are also strapping systems that extend from one side of a small building over to the other side — both sides are anchored into the ground. The number of straps required will depend on the length of the building.

If outdoor items like barbecue grills or furniture can’t be stored inside of a secured area, make sure they are anchored with a metal cable or chain to a solid structure like a deck or post that is cemented into the ground.

If you are considering purchasing a storage shed or DIY outbuilding and live in an area that experiences high wind storms, be sure to ask about options that may be available for that particular structure to secure it properly.


Taking Shelter Indoors

Taking shelter indoors may be your only option in fast-moving storms like tornadoes. In hurricanes, where residents generally at least have a few days of warning, departing to a safer area may be the best option. In either case, the safest place in the home during a high wind event is generally the same; an interior room on the lowest level of a structure, away from windows and exterior doors. In some cases, this may be a basement or a first-floor interior closet or bathroom.

Be sure to take a battery operated radio or weather radio with you along with a flashlight. Blankets may offer additional protection and in severe cases, mattresses can be used to provide cover. If an interior bathroom is used, the tub can provide additional protection.


Understanding When It’s Best to Evacuate

Pacific hurricane season is from May 15 through the end of November while the Atlantic Hurricane season spans from June 1 through November 30th. Coastal areas suffer the highest impact, but hurricane force winds can still occur a hundred or more miles inland.

Residents who may be impacted by a hurricane generally have days or more to get ready. This is when plans and preparations should be made to secure your property, notify family and friends as to your intentions, and secure gasoline, cash, and needed foodstuff to make it through the storm and for at least three days beyond. If you are not in the immediate impact area for the most damaging winds, you may decide to “ride it out”. But when should you decide to evacuate?

Simply put, if you are told to leave or are in a mandatory evacuation zone you should leave. You should become familiar with planned evacuation routes for your area and depart within at least a day prior to the storms impact. Keep in mind hotel rooms will likely be at a premium, so leaving earlier will allow you to travel further from the storm’s impact area and may offer more options for accommodations.

Before leaving, do what you can to prevent damage to your home. Install shutters or plywood over windows and doors. Secure loose items in your yard. Make plans for the care of pets. Perhaps most importantly, let loved ones know of your plans and destination.

Leaving a property behind can be a difficult decision. But staying behind may be a frightening, life-threatening situation you should avoid.


Creating a Safe Room

People have varying definitions of a “Safe Room.” Some view it as a place to go in your home when there is an emergency. Others view it as something that should be constructed in the interior a home to serve as a refuge in a variety of calamities. For the purposes of this guide, we are assuming there is a specific area in your home that can serve as the safest place to be in a hurricane or tornado. This will likely be in an interior room on the lowest level of a home, away from windows.

Once you have determined where this space is, there are some preparations you can take to improve the safety of the space.

Ideally, the space should be at least as large as a walk-in closet. It should have a locking door that can be secured with a deadbolt and perhaps, reinforced with longer hinge screws. The room should have a battery operated flashlight or attached LED lighting, a battery operated weather radio, bottled water, and blankets. For our purposes, the safe room need only help you survive the peak winds of an approaching.

There is a newer product on the market that can also help you create a more impenetrable safe room. It is concrete cloth.


Concrete “Cloth”

Concrete cloth is a material that has already been proven effective in lining construction ditches to protect workers, as an easy to deploy fabric in building quick shelters for the military and in fortifying existing construction. Concrete cloth is fabric that is impregnated with cement. When wet, the material can be manipulated into a variety of shapes for up to two hours. It will completely harden in 24 hours, even if it is over-hydrated.

For purposes of a safe room, sheets of the concrete cloth could be attached to the wood studs of walls or the ceiling to be reinforced using common nails or screws. Once it begins to dry in just two hours, you have a concrete reinforced wall. Even a single layer of concrete cloth is said to be able to withstand winds in excess of 130 mph. At about $6 per square foot, concrete cloth would cost about $600 to cover a 10’x10′ walk-in closet.

Finding a Contractor

While some projects to make your home more wind and impact resistant can be handled on a do-it-yourself basis, there are some projects where you will need to secure the services of a professional. What should you consider when choosing a contactor? Here are some tips.

  • Make sure any contractor you use is licensed, bonded and insured. This protects you if the contractor damages your property or otherwise fails in his obligations.
  • Ask family and friends for referrals. This is particularly important if they have used the services of a contractor.
  • Get payment terms upfront, understand all details of what is included in the bid and never pay 100% of a contractor’s fee before work is completed.
  • Get a firm completion date from your contractor. There should be ramifications if that date is not met unless it is due to unforeseen circumstances like bad weather or a material supply issue.
  • Review online rating services. A quick internet search may reveal both negative and positive aspects of a contractor.
  • Ask for references from the contractor for similar projects he has completed.
  • Simply ask the contractor why you should choose his or her services.
  • Ask about any warranties and guarantees, including labor.

In some instances, manufacturer’s may recommend certain contractors as “certified” to install their products. Ask specifically what that means for the product and service you are looking for. Perform due diligence before securing a contractor and minimize problems after you’ve selected one.


Why Prepare

Why should you prepare for high winds, hurricanes, and tornados? The simple reason is to better protect you and your household and the investment you have made in your home.

This perhaps can best be driven home by statistics.

  • All but one of the ten costliest hurricanes have occurred since 2004.
  • 2012’s Hurricane Sandy severely impacted 16 different states.
  • Since the mid-1800s, 34 states have been impacted directly by a tropical storm or hurricane.
  • The United States records over 1,000 tornadoes each year.
  • Altogether, the costs of the 16 separate weather events in the U.S. in 2017 that exceeded $1 billion each added up to over $306 billion.
  • Hurricane force winds can impact an area for 12 to 18 hours but a slow-moving storm could leave hurricane force winds in place for 24 hours or more.
  • Hurricanes are ranked on the Saffir-Simpson Scale which places them in five categories. Category 1 is from 74-95 mph, Category 2 from 96-110 mph, Category 3 from 111-120 and Category 4 from 130-156. The most devastating Category 5 hurricanes range from 157 mph and above.
  • Tornadoes are rated on the Fajita Scale which determines an EF0 tornado to be “light” at 65 to 85 mph. An EF1 tornado is designated as one with winds from 86 mph to 110 and is “moderate”. A “considerable” tornado is an EF2 with winds ranging from 111 mp to 135 mph. An EF3 spans from 136 mph to 165 mph and is considered “severe”. At 166 mph to 200 mph an EF4 is referred to as “devastating” and an EF5 at 201 mph+ is determined to be “incredible”.

Tornadoes and hurricanes are a reality that should be accounted for. There are steps, however, that we can take to mitigate damage.

In many areas, the odds are pretty high that – at some point – a home will be subject to high winds. The winds may be from a hurricane, tornado or even a straight line or mountain wind. Some areas experience blizzard scale winds. Protecting a home starts with inspecting weak points and areas subject to damage like roofs, windows, doors and garage doors. Inspect siding more frequently and take care of our trees, trimming them when needed and removing them as necessary. Make sure your home is safe and have plans in place for severe weather events.


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