Hurricanes can quickly devastate your home and it’s the roof where most of the damage usually occurs. If you are left with big holes in your roof, it’s incredibly expensive to repair. But could changing your roof material make a difference?
Metal roofing has become more popular in recent years because it’s very strong and can easily deal with difficult weather conditions. This article will give you more information about the pros and cons of metal roofing, especially in hurricane areas. So, are metal roofs good for hurricanes?
Are Metal Roofs Hurricane Proof?
Hurricane proof implies that the roof is completely resistant to hurricanes and will be completely unscathed after a strong storm. Unfortunately, no roofing materials can guarantee this but a metal roof comes as close as you can get. Compared with other roof materials, metal will stand up to a lot of very strong winds and heavy rain without sustaining serious damage. Although there may be minor damage, you won’t be stuck with a huge repair bill after a hurricane.
Are Metal Roofs the Best Roof for a Hurricane?
Yes, when you weigh up all of the different factors, metal is the best roofing material if you live in a hurricane-prone area. It will withstand a lot more punishment than any other type of roof. If it does get damaged, it is relatively easy to remove and replace a single panel.
A shingle roof, on the other hand, will have lots of separate holes that all need to be individually repaired, which takes a lot longer. A full roof replacement is also a lot less likely with metal roofs as you can easily focus on repairing the damaged panels and the rest will be fine.
What’s the Best Type of Metal Roof for Hurricanes?
There are a number of different types of metal that can be used for roofing. They each have their own pros and cons, and some are better than others for hurricanes. Common types of metal roofing include:
- Stainless steel
Zinc is a popular roofing choice because it’s a very versatile metal that can easily be used for panels or tiles, but it doesn’t offer the same strength.
The best options for roofing in hurricane areas are stainless steel, copper, and aluminum as these are the most durable metal types. Stainless steel is resistant to rust too, so heavy rains will not affect it. It is also more affordable than copper or aluminum roofing.
Copper is more durable than stainless steel and, when looked after properly, can last up to 100 years or more. Many people also like the way that copper roofing looks, and it weathers to a green color over time. However, you will pay a lot more for copper than you will any other type of metal roof.
Aluminum is a good middle ground between stainless steel and copper where price is concerned. It’s very lightweight, making it easy to install, but it still offers good strength during a hurricane. The only problem is that it dents more easily than other types.
Overall, stainless steel is the best option because it’s very tough and it isn’t that expensive, but copper and aluminum are also excellent choices.
Is an Exposed Fastener System or Standing Seam Roofing System Stronger?
There are multiple ways to fix a metal roof to your home, and this can make a difference to the strength of the roof and how easy it is to replace panels. It’s important that you consider the fastening method if you are likely to get a lot of hurricanes because you need it to be as tough as possible. The two main options to look at are exposed fastener systems and standing seam roofing systems.
Exposed fasteners are the most straightforward way to fix the roof panels down. Bolts or screws are driven through the panel and into the material underneath, holding it in place. If you look at the roof, you can see rows of bolts or screws along the panels.
Standing seam roofing systems (concealed fasteners) do not use bolts or screws that go straight through the panel. Instead, small clips are fixed to the roof deck. These are then attached to the panels. So, the surface of the roof is completely flush and you don’t have any visible bolts or screws.
People often assume that this is just for aesthetic purposes, but it has other benefits. A standing seam roof is less likely to corrode as it doesn’t let water in through the gaps around the bolts.In general, you tend to have less problems with a standing seam roof because it’s a completely solid metal panel with no gaps, which means it holds up against the weather much better.
There is a catch, of course. It is more expensive to install your roof in this way and you’ll probably need a professional to do it for you. If you go for exposed fasteners, it’s a straightforward job because you just screw through the panels, so you can probably do it yourself if you are relatively experienced with DIY. That said, it is definitely worth paying the extra money for a standing seam system if you live in a hurricane-prone area.
How Much Wind Can a Metal Roof Withstand?
This varies depending on the type of metal used and the way that the roof is fixed. However, most metal roofs come with a warranty that guarantees protection against winds up to 140mph. In tests, a lot of metal roofs can take winds up to 180mph.
Hurricanes are split into 4 categories based on wind speeds:
- Category 1 – 74-95mph
- Category 2 – 96-110mph
- Category 3 – 111-129mph
- Category 4 – 130-156mph
- Category 5 – Greater than 156mph
A category 5 hurricane is the most severe hurricane possible and it is expected that serious damage will occur. Mobile homes will be completely destroyed and many standard homes will be significantly damaged. But even in a hurricane this strong, a metal roof should hold up. It will withstand any hurricane that is category 4 or below relatively easily.
What this means is that a metal roof won’t be pulled away from the house. It doesn’t guarantee that there will be no damage. It is likely in a strong hurricane that the roof will sustain some damage from flying debris and strong wind. However, a shingle roof would most likely have large holes in it after a hurricane of this magnitude.
If your roof is made up of metal tiles, it will not withstand quite as much wind. With more exposed edges for the wind to get up and under, it’s easier for smaller tiles to be ripped off. They’re still a lot tougher than traditional shingles, but large metal panels will take more wind than metal tiles.
What Does Metal Roof Wind Damage Look Like?
Spotting wind damage and fixing it right away will stop it from getting worse next time strong winds hit. If you fail to maintain the roof between storms, it will sustain more serious damage and you will ultimately spend more on repairs. There are a few things to look out for:
- Loose tiles/panel edges
- Missing or loose fasteners
- Dents and chips
- Inflated panels (blown up from the inside by the wind)
If you notice any of these signs after a big storm, replace panels right away, if necessary. Dents and chips should not cause too many issues, but missing fasteners and loose tiles or panels will.
Can Wind Blow Rain Up and Under a Metal Roof?
No, this is very unlikely. Once a metal roof has been fitted and fixed down properly, it is all one large seamless piece of material. There is overlap between the panels or tiles and they are fixed so that wind cannot get underneath. During testing, metal roofing is tested for uplift and it can withstand this in incredibly high winds.
So, the chances of wind blowing up and under the roof are very slim. In most cases, leaks in a metal roof are caused by loose fasteners creating small gaps where water can leak in.
Does Having a Metal Roof in a Hurricane Area Help with Insurance?
Yes, some providers will reduce your insurance in a hurricane area if you install a metal roof. A more durable roof means that they are less likely to pay out for expensive repairs, and your policy will reflect this. In some cases, it could save you as much as 25%. But bear in mind that not every insurance company is guaranteed to reduce your policy if you fit a metal roof.
Get in touch with them first and ask about their policy. You can always switch to a different insurer if your current provider is not willing to change the price once your metal roof is installed.
Why Proper Installation Matters When It Comes to Metal Roofing?
Metal roofing is only as strong as it is because it is impenetrable. The panels are fitted with an overlap, and if you use a standing seam fastener system, there is no seam between them. That means no gaps at all where wind and rain can get in and start pulling the roof panels away from the house, even in incredibly strong winds.
But that all depends on the installation. If there are any mistakes with the installation and you lose that completely seamless finish, the roof suddenly becomes very vulnerable to wind. If you have exposed fasteners that are not screwed or bolted in securely enough, they can easily come away in extreme weather too.
So, if you are going to have a metal roof fitted, make sure that you go to a reputable company with a lot of experience. Otherwise, next time a hurricane hits, you will be left with a lot of expensive repairs to do.
Metal roofing is absolutely the best choice for hurricane areas. When installed properly, it will hold its own against the strongest hurricanes and it is durable enough to last 50 years, at least. It might be more expensive than other roof materials, but metal is definitely worth spending the money on.
Jamie is the founder of The Backyard Pros. When he was 15 years old he started working at a garden centre helping people buy plants, gardening products, and lawn care products. He has real estate experience and he is a home owner. Jamie loves backyard projects, refinishing furniture, and enjoys sharing his knowledge online.