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The Impact of Rain, Wind, Hail, and High Winds on Commercial Roof Life-Cycles

31 Mar 2017 | Under Disaster Restoration, Roofing | Posted by | 0 Comments
R&A Contracting - High Wind Resistance Commercial Roofing

R&A Contracting - High Wind Resistance Commercial Roofing

“Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Of course, we all know St. Louis isn’t in Kansas, unlike that other city on the other end of the state. St. Louis has beautiful rolling hills, picturesque bluffs, and a far better baseball team. Unfortunately, we also have many of the same weather patterns as Kansas City, especially as the spring weather starts to turn into summer. April signals the beginning of baseball and spring weather in the form of rain, hail, and an occasional twister or two.

Not to be discouraged, we know how much impact severe weather can have on a commercial roof. Wind lift, hail dimples, and broken branches are just part of the whirlwind we call spring here in the Lou. Some storms are enough to make any building owner stare at the sky throughout the afternoon. If you’re a building owner, you probably have plenty of questions when it comes to your commercial roof and severe weather, such as:

  • How well do commercial roofs stand up against severe weather?
  • What’s the best impact-resistant commercial roof available today?
  • What’s the highest level of wind that a spray foam roof can withstand?
  • What are some ways to reduce wind lift on existing commercial roofs?

These are just a few of the questions that building owners want to answer. Well, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve gathered a variety of information to help you have the right mindset when the next storm hits our city. If any of these questions are still a concern after reading this article, the first step is contacting our R&A Contracting team. We’re happy to start a conversation with you, answer any questions you might have, and give you peace of mind about your commercial roof.

Ask our team a question.

For now though, let’s dive into these first few questions about commercial roofing and severe weather.

Protecting Your Commercial Roof During Severe Weather

There are few things in life that make you stop in your tracks than seeing your warehouse lose its lid. ASTM International does its best to factor in all the possible weather-caused scenario while testing new roofing material and practices. In fact, ASTM International has a litany of weather-specific tests it performs on commercial roofing. Follow the link to read more about ASTM International’s testing measures for commercial roofing materials.

One of the first steps in fixing your commercial roof is to limit the damage as much as possible. High winds can carry roof debris a significant distance and risk harm to people and property alike. If you’re experiencing severe weather, it’s always best to weather out the storm before attempting to survey the damage.

Take care of your safety first because your life is worth far more than any roof will ever be. This means if you think a live wire may be exposed in the storm debris, call your utility company as soon as possible. Again, be safe and be smart.

Once you’re sure your building condition is safe, it’s time to stop any leaks before they spread. Contact our R&A Contracting team to do a complimentary on-site roof inspection to determine the extent and nature of the damage. We can provide you with a detailed proposal to help you process your insurance claim at the first opportunity.

We highly recommend implementing a Commercial Roof Maintenance program every year. This will give you a clear picture of where your roof may be susceptible to severe weather damage. Download our free Commercial Roof Maintenance Checklist to put your program into place.

Download your Commercial Roof Maintenance Checklist

storm-damage

How Hail Impacts Commercial Roofs

Severe weather is the greatest test of commercial roofs in the United States. Hail damage is a leading insurance claim cause in the Midwest with Missouri being a top-ten state for insurance claims due to hail damage. (Property Casualty 360) Over $7B in insurance claim payouts was received from 2008-2014 just for vehicle damage. That number escalates for total hail damage, including commercial roofing, as insurance providers pay an average of almost $2B every year solely for hail damage. (SWD)

It’s important to note that hail damage to commercial buildings is not restricted to just the roof. Extensive hail damage to walls, support structures, outdoor-mounted equipment, and siding can compromise a building’s energy envelope. Hail can have a direct impact on your commercial roof by puncturing the roof, creating moisture build-up, and damaging crucial flashing and fasteners.

Many roofing contractors, business owners, and even insurance providers are initially skeptical of spray foam’s ability to resist hail damage. Missile damage is the damage incurred by hailstones, branches, and other storm debris to the depth of penetrating both the protective coating and the spray foam. Is spray foam strong enough to withstand significant impact of high winds and hail?

Spray foam roofing is one of the more impact-resistant commercial roofing solutions available today. A group of researchers at Arizona State University proved that acrylic-coated spray polyurethane foam roofing solutions are able to withstand significant hail impact. (NRCA) It’s naturally absorbent construct allows hail to deflect off the spray foam’s surface.

As impressive as spray foam’s resistance to hail damage may be, no standard commercial roofing material is impervious to hail damage. We recommend reviewing the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance’s Recommendations for Repair of SPF Roof Systems From Hail and Wind-Driven Damage. The graph on page six of the manual is an excellent guide for gauging how much damage was done during a hail storm.

Spray Foam Roofing and High-Wind Resistance

There’s no question high winds can sweep across St. Louis on any given day. That’s one of the downfalls of being in the Midwest: there are no mountains to break up high winds. The average wind speed in St. Louis during the month of April is 16.2 miles per hour, an average of five miles per hour faster than the month of September in St. Louis. This uptick in wind speeds often comes at the hand of severe weather moving across the Midwest into St. Louis. Commercial roofing systems need to be strong enough to prevent wind lift, which can cause significant damage to any building structure.

Spray polyurethane foam roof systems are installed in liquid format as a composite material. Two materials, polyol fiber and isocyanate, are delivered to the job site in large barrels. A two-barrel spray applicator is connected to the hoses and pressurized for application. When the two liquid materials connect during application, the chemicals cause an immediate expansive reaction. The material’s liquid state allows it to be easily applied to virtually any and all roofing substrates, including stone and brick.

As the material is sprayed into place, the rapid expansion process balloons as a foam (hence the name ‘spray foam’). Closed-cell spray foam captures gas molecules inside the foam, which causes the foam’s tensile strength to increase. What does this all mean for your commercial roof and wind resistance? It means that as the liquid expands, it adheres to any surface, such as the edge of your roofing structure. The expansion of foam means the spray foam is creating a seamless, monolithic membrane covering any part of your roof. Without any openings or cracks, spray foam presents one cohesive surface to deflect and prevent any wind from penetrating beneath the roofing surface. No roof penetration, no opportunity for wind lift.

This all sounds well and good, but what’s the highest level of wind that a spray foam roof can withstand? We’re glad you asked! Roofing contractors in the Gulf Coast and Florida regions have used spray foam for decades to protect against hurricane and gale-force winds.

After Hurricane Katrina moved through the New Orleans and South regions, the National Institute of Standards and Technology released their findings on SPF’s performance weathering the full force of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The NIST’s Performance of Physical Structures in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita: A Reconnaissance Report stated,

“A number of spray polyurethane foam (SPF) roofing systems were observed … Some of these roofs were estimated to be about 20 years old. With one minor exception, all were found to have sustained Hurricane Katrina extremely well without blow-off of the SPF or damage to flashings.” (NIST, “Performance of Physical Structures in Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita: A Reconnaissance Report”, June 2006)

If spray foam roofs can perform well above average in hurricane weather, we can confirm it performs even better against high winds and tornadoes in St. Louis.

R&A Contracting - Wind Damage Commercial Roof Repair St. Louis

Prepare Your Commercial Roof for Severe Weather by Trusting R&A Contracting

There’s no question: severe weather is bound to hit St. Louis sometime this year. We may not know when, but we do know we have the power and opportunity to help your commercial roof survive oncoming storms. Investing in a Commercial Roof Maintenance Program is an excellent first step towards protecting your roof. If you have any questions about protecting your roof from severe weather, we’re here to help you.

If your roof gets damaged during an upcoming storm, you may not know where to start. We provide complimentary on-site inspections to ensure your insurance claims adjuster sees an accurate picture of storm damage. We work with insurance providers in every sector. We know what it takes to get your insurance claim filed the right way to get your roof paid for as soon as possible.

R&A Contracting is St. Louis’ leader in helping businesses keep their roofs healthy and happy. We’ve worked with hundreds, if not thousands, of commercial roofs all over the Lou. Our team has seen more than our fair share of bad weather. We know what it takes to have your roof survive a strong storm. Start a conversation with our R&A Contracting team today and see how we put the proof in waterproof!

Click here to send us a message. We’ll contact you at the first opportunity.

I’d be an idiot if I did not take this opportunity to communicate to you how much we appreciate the way in which you conduct business and take care of our facility. In my experience you, and your team, are at the top of the list of all the roofing companies I’ve dealt with over the years. Thank you!

Jim Lowry - Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier

Eric and crew were really nice to have around. They were courteous, careful and caused little if any disruption. Their work looks good too! To be honest… a good experience with a product that I initially had misgivings about. I’m a convert because of Bubba, Sam and Eric. Thank you.

Jim Lowry - Bissinger's Handcrafted Chocolatier

“I want to thank the crew at R&A for a job well done on our very leaky roof at the shop. It is certainly nice to have the drips and rivers gone from the shop when it is raining. I also wanted you to know how much we appreciated that the guys were able to stay out of our way and allowed us to do business as usual without any problems or interruptions. The roof looks great and the clean-up after the job made it so we couldn’t even tell you’d been here. Thanks for doing what you do so well!”

Jay Moore, President of Safe Way Tire and Auto Center

“My wife and I were on vacation when water pipes burst in our house. We got a hold of Craig and the R&A crew was able to start evacuating the water immediately. The best part was that they were able to start work before we even returned home. It was a very fast turnaround considering the extensive amount of water damage.”

Will from Dardenne Prairie, MO

“Craig and Mike came out in a timely fashion when we needed the work done. They did a reliable and quality job.”

Jerry from SLR Properties

“Craig helped us out tremendously with the insurance process. Timely and very professional.”

Lindell from Greater Missouri Builders (GMB)

“We purchased a house and there was some damage to the roof. Very impressed with the thoroughness of Mike’s inspection. Very comfortable with their explanation of what needed to be fixed. Most impressive was the way they protected our landscaping. Really liked the way they treated me as a valued customer, even though it was only a small project.”

Ross from Troy, MO

“I use R&A Contracting when my commercial roofs receive storm damage. They work on our behalf through every step of the insurance claim process. They perform all of the work and complete the insurance process, making our roofs better than they were before the storm.”

Director of Facilities for a large Property Management Company

“The team at R & A Contracting responded immediately when notified of our water disaster. They removed water-damaged materials and property quickly and restored our home even before the final settlement from our insurance company. They minimized how long our family had to live in a hotel and got us back to normal as fast as possible.”

Will from O'Fallon, MO