Batten Down The Hatches: Choosing Roofing For Buildings In High Wind Areas
It’s fair to say that Australia’s weather systems aren’t exactly forgiving, and various parts of the country are prone to cyclones, tropical storms and other sources of damaging high-speed winds. As such, the building situated in these areas must be constructed with wind resistance in mind from the ground up, and choosing the type of roofing to put on a building at high risk of wind damage is all-important. Unsuitable roofs can shed tiles and suffer structural damage that can be enormously expensive to repair, so keep the following factors in mind when choosing your roof:
What shape should the roof be?
A highly wind-resistant roof should present a low, sleek profile, to redirect wind around and over the building while avoiding generating too much wind resistance. Traditional two-sloped gable roofs are often unsuitable for these purposes, as wind hitting the flat sides of the roof is not redirected at all and can place great strain on overhangs and underpinnings.
Choosing a flat roof is obviously the most effective way of minimising wind resistance and is particularly useful when roofing commercial and industrial buildings. However, many residential home owners do not like the aesthetics of flat roofs, and planned communities may even block the building of a flat-roofed residential property. Consider choosing a hipped roof instead — these roofs slope downwards at all side of the building, to allow wind coming from any direction to pass smoothly over the roof.
What material should the roof be made from?
While traditional clay roof tiles look attractive and can stand up to some fairly robust winds, they are still vulnerable to wind damage. Moreover, tiles that are loosened by wind can come free, damaging other tiles in a cascade effect and even falling to the ground to endanger passersby. As such, a wind resistant roof should be made from slightly more exotic materials, such as:
- Metal — Metal roofing is considered by many to be the standard for wind-resistant roofing, and the interlocked sheets of a well-made metal roof can withstand very high winds without shedding or becoming damaged.
- Asphalt tiles — Heavy enough to resist high winds, and not prone to shattering like clay tiles.
- Slate tiles — Extremely heavy and secure, but they are still prone to cascading damage if a tile is loosened. A good choice for residential properties where metal roofing would look too stark.
What about other design considerations?
Besides these general concerns, there are also a few specific precautions you should take when choosing wind-resistant roofing:
- Avoid overhangs: Deep overhangs and other architectural embellishments can be very attractive, but they also dramatically increase the amount of uplift the roof experiences. Keep overhangs to a minimum, and avoid wide, flared guttering.
- Choose a tough underlay: The underlay you choose for your roof should have excellent tensile strength to avoid tearing and damage from broken tiles.
- Avoid staples: Stapling roof tiles or sheets down is quick and easy, but does not provide much in the way of strength. Nail your tiles in instead.