Welcome to Hurricane season, South Florida! We are officially about two months in to the aforementioned nerve-racking time of year (June 1 to November 30).
Forecasters say the Atlantic’s 2017 hurricane season will “likely be above normal, with 11 to 17 named storms, between five and nine hurricanes and two to four major hurricanes,” according to a recent article in the Miami Herald.
The daily afternoon rains and spurts of dreary weather are a nuisance in the summer, but bearable when compared to the alternative.
In preparation of a hurricane, tropical storm, or simply monsoon-like rains, it’s important to ensure your roof is up to the challenge.
This time of year is always a sharp reminder to obtain a 4-Point Insurance Inspection, a Wind Mitigation Report or a Roof Certification—all services offered by IMPACT Home Inspections. In addition to peace of mind, you can qualify for home owner’s insurance discounts.
As a recap:
The 4-Point is an insurance form used by underwriting to evaluate the property’s roofing, electrical, plumbing and heating/cooling system for homes more than 30 years of age. Essentially, insurers want to confirm these elements are up to date and suitable for living conditions.
The Wind Mitigation is a state form used by the insurance company to rate the protection attributes of the home. For example: verifying opening protection on doors and windows (metal shutters or impact glass), correct straps and nails in the roof (nails should be spaced a maximum of 6 inches in the field) as well as roof shape, etc. All these attributes help you qualify for significant discounts on your home owner’s insurance.
Eligible hurricane-mitigation improvements can result in the savings of thousands of dollars annually. Inquire with your insurance agent/company to find out how you can save.
As an example, in Miami-Dade County, the annual insurance premium on an older home insured for $150,000 runs between $3,000-$8,000—assuming no hurricane-mitigation improvements. With mitigation improvements, the same home would cost $1,000-$3,500 to insure, according to the National Associations of Realtors’ Houselogic.
The Roof Certification is a statement of opinion by a licensed home inspector or roofer who deems the roof has a life expectancy of up to three years and should be FHA-compliant. A roof inspection for South Florida involves examining the flashing surrounding it to determine the level of wear, assessing the gutters, downspouts, and other components attached to the roof.
Your roof takes the brunt of a hurricane, which can pack winds in excess of 155 mph. These winds exert an uplift effect that can tear off roof shingles, tiles, or even the underlying roof deck.
For our roof certifications, we look for curled, loose, or missing shingles or roof tiles. The edges of the roof are of particular importance. Nails, not staples, should be used to secure the roof deck to the rafters.
We also inspect the roof from the inside the attic—looking for points of light coming through the roof. This can reveal gaps susceptible to water intrusion and damage from severe winds. Existing leaks or evidence of past leaks are also documented. Protruding nail tips from the rafters and trusses indicate the plywood roof deck might not be properly secured.
In effort to help homeowners, residential and commercial state building codes require the use of impact-resistant windows, doors and other components for homes built in hurricane-prone areas after a certain year.
For example, the current Wind Mitigation Insurance form for Florida states a credit for: Florida Building Code (FBC 2001 or later) OR for homes located in the HVHZ (Miami-Dade or Broward counties), South Florida Building Code (SFBC-94).
HurricaneScience.org states new homes built in Florida within an area where 120 mph winds (or greater) must have exterior impact protection (e.g. impact-resistant windows, hurricane shutters, and reinforced doors). Other code changes for 120 mph wind zones include mandatory roof straps that connect the roof of a home through cables all the way to a basement or concrete slab.
This interactive tool from the Florida Division of Emergency Management can help with advice/guidance for building or retrofitting a hurricane-resistant home.
The current building code requirements can consult the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH)’s Blueprint for Safety Program™ or the Institute for Business and Home Safety’s (IBHS) Fortified for Safer Living Program™.