Replacing your roof after Irma? Think Metal
If you are in the market for a new roof because of Hurricane Irma, you may want to consider a metal roof. From my observation as a public adjuster handling a wide variety of insurance claims, metal roofs are becoming more popular all over the country. I’d like to share this article about hurricane resistant metal sheeting roofs published by an engineering firm in the Caribbean that may be of interest to you or your clients. I have seen these roofs hold up very well, if installed as detailed in this article. In the case of St. Maarten which had sustained winds of 183 mph with gusts over 200 mph, the metal roof stayed on, where other types such as asphalt shingles and/or clay/cement tiles for the most part blew off in part or total.
Two things to consider when using metal is that the panels may be hit by flying debris which may result in some panel replacements, but even with flying debris the roofs still stayed on. Some other points in the installation process as pointed out in the article that should be noted and considered: 1. Screw types (stainless steel) is best 2. Length of the screws 3. Verhang exposure to try and avoid uplift, and 4. Thickness of the zinc sheets to be applied.
On a recent business trip to the Cayman Islands, I observed property owners replacing old cement tiles with standing seam metal roofs. Using this method, the flat edge of the sheet of zinc or aluminum was put in place flat on the roof deck and stainless-steel screws were screwed in the full length of the metal sheet and then the next sheet edge was placed in line and the edge of the second sheet was folded over and crimped to the screwed in sheet. In effect, this method covers the screws and also ensures a tight and secure bond between the two sheets as they were being installed. This went on across the whole roof slope and in my opinion, was a superior method to install a metal roof plus there were no metal screws visible when looking at the complete roof system.
Remember there is different thickness to the sheets of zinc with the 22 gauge being standard. And then you have aluminum which is much more expensive. Untreated galvanized or steel sheets should be avoided due to a short life span as a result of oxidation.
From my personal experience and based on observations to one of my properties as well as seeing the after effects of 180 to 200 plus mph winds, metal roofs should be high on your list to consider if roofing is necessary as a result of damages from the recent hurricane season.
Finally, concrete roofs are also becoming more common in the Caribbean but are not likely an option for replacement for current constructed homes. And remember that concrete will be much heavier, cost more and may result in costly repairs due to rusting rebars embedded in the concrete for support.