FORTIFIED Roof, wind-rated garage doors are best ways to reduce structural damage; DIY projects further build resilience
Mary Anne Byrd
Public Relations Manager
Richburg, SC, Feb. 13, 2024 – Last year Americans saw that storms don’t need to make national headlines to wreak havoc on homes and businesses, as more than 20 states were impacted by 19 severe convective storm events, each causing over $1 billion in damage. With most billion-dollar storms occurring between March and June, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) urges property owners to act now using its research-based Thunderstorm Ready guides to help prevent damage before this year’s severe spring weather strikes.
“Property owners should never underestimate the damage a single severe thunderstorm can cause,” says Dr. Ian Giammanco, lead research meteorologist at IBHS. “In 2023 alone, thunderstorms caused over $50 billion dollars in losses. Yet, there are steps you can take now, some more substantial and others that are do-it-yourself, to prevent costly damage and disruption in the future.”
The two most significant ways a home or business owner can retrofit to reduce property damage from severe thunderstorms are re-roofing to the FORTIFIED Roof™ standard and upgrading to a garage or commercial roller door rated for wind speeds above 130 mph.
Based on decades of IBHS science, FORTIFIED is a voluntary beyond-code construction and re-roofing method designed to protect property against severe weather. If you live in an area that frequently sees hail, you can add hail protection through impact-resistant asphalt shingles rated Good or Excellent, or Class 4 rated metal, tile, or composite roofs. Added wind protection is achieved through stronger roof deck attachments, a sealed roof deck and locked edges to keep a roof on and the wind and rain out of a building.
Garage doors are one of the most vulnerable parts of a structure in high winds, which can push a garage door inward, allowing wind forces to enter the building and push up on the roof and outward on the surrounding walls causing a cascade of damage. An IBHS study of tornado damage found less than 10% of homes had roof structural damage when the garage door remained intact.
- Seal gaps and cracks on your home’s exterior to prevent water and wind from entering.
- Trim trees with branches overhanging the roof or near windows to avoid damage from high winds.
- Cover HVAC units with protective screens to reduce hail damage.
- Install a home lightning surge protector to protect against power surges.
- Upgrade vinyl and aluminum gutters and downspouts to more durable steel options to better withstand hail.
- Make space in your garage for vehicles for easy storage when hail is in the forecast and to temporarily place items like patio furniture and grills during high winds.
“We should learn lessons from last year’s severe storms, where we had more than 1,750 reports of two-inch or larger hail – nearly double the average we’ve experienced over the past 10 years,” adds Giammanco. “There are roofing products on the market now that testing has found can better withstand up to two-inch hail. If you’re ready for a new roof, now is the perfect time to get that scheduled.”
For more ways to prepare your property to prevent damage from severe storms, IBHS’s full residential and commercial Thunderstorm Ready guides, along with easy-to-follow downloadable checklists, are available on IBHS.org.
About the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS)
The IBHS mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Learn more at IBHS.org.
Based on decades of research by IBHS, FORTIFIED is a voluntary construction and re-roofing program designed to strengthen structures against severe weather, including high winds, hurricanes and tornadoes. Visit fortifiedhome.org to learn more about the program, including the designation process.