Would Your Roof Make it Through a Natural Disaster?

Posted by — September 5, 2005

Mother Nature hasn’t been too kind to homeowners or insurance companies during the past year, most recently to Hurricane Katrina victims along the Gulf Coast.

Six hurricanes made landfall in the United States last year, four of them causing more than $42 billion dollars in damage in Florida; over Memorial Day Weekend 2004, tornadoes, high winds and heavy thunderstorms caused hundreds of millions of dollars in damage from Louisiana to the Great Lakes; and just this past March, a hail storm caused $100 million dollars in damage in Central Texas in a matter of minutes.

Michael Mayfield, who lives in Austin, Texas, remembers the day the storm hit like it was yesterday. “I was sitting in my living room looking out the window as hail stones the size of golf balls pounded the roof and bounced in the yard. I thought to myself, oh no, here we go again,” he says.

About 12 years earlier, a similar storm had pounded his roof so hard, the cedar shakes split in two. “The damage was so bad, the entire roof had to be replaced, and I wasn’t the only one with roof damage,” he says. “Nearly every roof in the neighborhood suffered the same fate.”

This time around, his house is one of the few in the neighborhood that came through the storm unscathed. He credits luck, the orientation of his home and his new roof. “When the hail came down, it fortunately blew into the side of my house that’s all brick, so no windows were exposed; and when it hit the roof, each hail stone bounced off as if it were a ping pong ball. Not a mark left on it.”

When he replaced his roof 12 years ago, Mayfield didn’t go with cedar shakes, ceramic tiles or asphalt, but a material guaranteed to stand up to hail -- a Gerard roof made of steel tiles coated with stone and acrylic resin. “I saw one of their roofs go up on a house a few blocks from my own and liked the way it looked so I started asking questions. When I found out it came with both a written guarantee against hail and a transferable warranty, I decided it was the roof for me,” he says.

Gerard’s stone-coated roofs are available in different profiles to aesthetically achieve the look of wood shingles, concrete or clay tile, or asphalt. “When people drive up to my house, they often comment on how nice my ‘tile’ roof looks in a neighborhood with mostly cedar shingle and asphalt roofs,” says Mayfield. “Unless I tell them, they have no idea it’s really a metal one.”

"As far as cost, one of these roofs will run you about the same as a concrete tile or wood shingle roof, but customers tell us the added benefit of protection from the elements makes it priceless,” says Russ Earnhart, Gerard Roofing Technologies’s Central Regional Manager.

People affected by this past year’s natural disasters aren't just putting on roofs better able to stand up to fierce winds and battering storms; they are also installing skylight guards, replacing vulnerable windows with shatterproof ones and outfitting glass doors that lead outside with rolling shutters.


For information about donating to LuxuryRealEstate.com's Katrina Relief Fund, click here.



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