If your home is still habitable or can be made whole again, consider a few proactive upgrades while you make repairs. The Florida Building Code is updated every 3 years, but we also recommend some Best Practices which are above-code.
Consider these updates to your home after the damage is removed, temporary repairs are made, the water/mold is removed and drying complete, and you have taken photos and contacted your insurance company.
Remember that all new items need to be installed per today’s Florida Building Code. And many of these items are required to have Florida Product Approval (meaning they’ve passed the high wind testing) and be installed according to the FPA’s directions (which are usually much stricter than the regular instructions that come with the item). Make sure you or your installer are using the correction instructions.
Florida Product Approval cut sheets are available here: FloridaBuilding.org Categories include Roofing, Membranes, Soffits, Shingles, Roofing Tiles, Underlayments, Waterproofing, Siding, Shutters and Storm Panels, Skylights, Windows, Exterior Doors and Garage Doors, Hurricane Straps and Connectors.
Living in paradise means enjoying the best and suffering the worst of Mother Nature sometimes. Rebuild strong – literally – and enjoy the quietude this brings.
If you have shingles missing – before you add new shingles, consider the age of your roof. If the shingles were already starting to disintegrate (usually the sediment sits in your gutters), you may want to replace the roof, anyways. Today’s shingles are made for high-wind areas, and lighter-colored shingles will reflect the heat (some are EnergyStar rated).
Under the shingles, the roof felt or tar paper probably ripped away, too. Replace it with a self-adhesive membrane (stuck directly to the whole roof) that won’t blow off, and will seal around the nails when the shingles are installed. At a minimum, use 4″ roofing tape over all the joints before installing roof felt/tar paper.
Metal roofs and clay or concrete tile roofs are made to last longer than shingles. These can usually be repaired.
If the roof deck (sheathing – the plywood or OSB) was damaged, consider replacing those portions with thicker sheathing. 5/8 inch is now the minimum standard, replacing the thinner 1/2 inch sheathing. Replacement sections should not be smaller than 24-inches-by-24-inches or they may fail due to high winds.
If water got inside your attic, and damaged the insulation and ceilings, this could be the right time to install spray foam insulation. Open cell spray foam insulation is sprayed up against the underside of the roof deck. This turns your very hot attic into a semi-conditioned area, best for running ductwork through. Be aware this change also requires you to close up any ridge vents, gable vents, and soffits. Learn more here.
If your soffits were ripped off, the replacements must conform to the new Florida Building Code installation requirements. This may include adding some wood supports between the rafters, so the fasteners have more to hold onto.
With minimal damage and repairs, your home may soon look the same again! (Reminder to coordinate any roof repairs with your solar company.)
If the glass in your windows/doors broke, you are allowed to replace the glass to match what was there. But if you have jalousie windows or the original single-glass windows, it’s time for an upgrade. New windows are made to withstand higher winds overall, and impact glass is recommended. Similarly, if your doors were damaged, you might replace rather than repair. We recommend upgrading to Impact Rated for the garage doors as well as at least one entry door.
If your siding was stripped away, you might consider replacing vinyl or aluminum siding with fibercement. The tar paper or Tyvek/Typar underneath (the weather resistive barrier) was probably ripped away, too. First, use roofing tape over the joints of the plywood or OSB to keep rain out. Then install the new weather resistive barrier. We highly recommend using a rainscreen system, too, and there are several options or products with which this can be accomplished. This is simply to make sure the siding dries out completely between our daily summer storms and high humidity.
Without rebuilding your home, these updates done now or in the future should give your home more resiliency against wind and water. Some of the items may help with your energy bill or your insurance premiums, as well.
Finally, protect yourself by hiring a licensed Contractor. Check their credentials online at Florida’s DBPR (special webpage for post Hurricane Ian), and ask for proof of their current insurance. A good Contractor will be happy you are asking for these.