As hurricane season approaches, you need to take steps to protect your home, possessions, and above all, your family. In addition to general preparations such as ensuring you have enough emergency supplies on hand, there are a few specific things that you can do to prepare your roof for hurricanes.

Complete Necessary Repairs
Ideally, your roof doesn’t have any damaged or missing shingles. However, if it does and you have been putting off making these repairs, do so before hurricane season arrives. Any missing or damaged shingles can pose a serious risk of rain leaking into your home. Since they are already damaged, they are also open to damage from hail, rain, or wind and will no longer protect the roof surfaces underneath or next to them.

Whether or not you have a shingle roof, other repairs that should be completed before storms arrive include loose gable end vents or eaves, rusted flashing, or issues with soffits. If there are rusted spots on metal roofing or the flashing of other roofing types, replace these as well. Other specific issues to watch out for with metal roofing include loose screws and flaking paint, as this can expose the underlying metal to rust and the elements.

Have Your Roof Inspected
The simplest way to ensure that you take care of all the necessary repairs on your roof before the first storm hits is to hire a professional to inspect it. A roofing contractor will be able to check your roof for weaknesses that can put you or your home at risk. Regardless of whether your roof is made of metal, tile, slate, shingles, or another material, they will know exactly what steps you need to take before the hurricane season arrives.

Invest in Hurricane Straps
Hurricane straps or truss tie-downs for the roof can make a huge difference when a hurricane hits. These straps provide extra bracing for the roof during severe storms with very high winds. They can prevent you from losing entire portions of the roof to sustained or large wind gusts.

No Shingles? You May Not Need Hurricane Straps
Some roofs won’t need hurricane straps, including many shingle-free roofs like those made from tile or slate. Your roofing contractor can tell you whether your roof will benefit from straps. Metal roofs, for example, shouldn’t need the straps, as their interlocking panels can resist winds of 140 mph depending on the chosen product. Slate also tends to resist wind damage well, but your contractor may suggest other protective measures anyway. If you don’t need hurricane straps, consider reinforcing the roof by overlapping some sturdy materials on it – your roofing expert can suggest some options.

Trim Your Trees
Trimming your trees before hurricanes hit may seem like a step for general preparation and not roof-specific, but consider what tree branches could do to your roof. Any tree branches that hang over your roof should be trimmed back so they don’t fall during the storm and damage your roofing, creating a hole in your home. Remember that tree branches are heavy enough to even damage metal roofing, so this is crucial for all roof types.

Secure Yard Furniture
Just like overgrown trees, any yard furniture or other items on your lawn that aren’t secured can pose a serious threat to your roof, the rest of your building, and anyone in the area. Either tie down decorations and furniture or move them inside so they won’t fly into the roof and cause damage. You don’t want furniture to break a tile on the roof.

Clean the Gutters
If you haven’t cleaned your gutters or drainage system recently, do so before hurricane season arrives. Clear the debris and anything else so water can flow through like it is supposed to. This way, you won’t have excess water pooling on areas of the roof, causing damage and increasing your risk of leaks.