Hurricanes and other windstorms often cause damage to your roof tiles that may not immediately manifest themselves into apparent or visible damage. This could occur do to uplift pressures on the roof systems compromising the structural integrity of the system while staying invisible to the untrained eye.
This phenomenon is well described by Florida Engineer, Alfredo Brizuela, P.E. findings, which state the following:
Wind passing over and around a structure with a roof (Fig. 4) exerts positive pressure on the windward wall, negative pressure (suction) on the leeward wall and the walls parallel to the flow direction, and suction over most of the roof area. The suction generated at any particular roof location depends on the wind speed, wind direction, turbulence intensity or gusts, building topography, building geometry and architectural features, and varies with time. Wind flowing over a roof creates lift similar to that on an airplane wing; however, lifting forces are not uniform. The lifting forces are always greatest at the windward edges, corners, eaves and rakes. Wind force is defined as strength of the wind. So, as wind speed increases, so does the wind force, but not in a direct one-to-one correlation. If the wind speed doubles, the associated wind force quadruples. Thus, as the winds vary from the sustained wind speed to the highest gusts, the wind force quadruples in comparison to the increase of speed.
In many cases, the pulling forces of wind are more critical than the push as evident by the loss of roof coverings in many heavy wind and/or rain events. These pulling forces are often referred as wind uplift. As wind crosses over the ridge of a roof, or the perimeter of a roof, the wind tries to maintain its prior speed and direction, yet the wind abruptly pulls away from the building. This creates a vacuum or suction effect on the roof coverings. This constant “suction” will cause the tiles and roofing membranes to uplift.
Moisture travel that starts inside the attic cavity or interstitial wall cavity of load bearing walls from a failed roofing system will become visible only after the surrounding building material has exhausted its ability to continue to absorb water. As a result, homeowners usually are not aware of the extent of damage until discoloration of the gypsum board and other material finishes is observed inside the property.
Roof tiles often suffer chips and dents from flying debris during windstorms. It is important to document these kinds of damages as soon as possible after a hurricane, tornado, or other heavy windstorm. Fair Claims Law does not recommend that you, unless trained or otherwise experienced in climbing onto or walking on roofs, gather this evidence yourself. Thus, hiring a licensed roofer, public adjuster, engineer, or attorney is advisable.
Breaks, chips or other damages to your residential roof tiles that occur as a result of a peril insured against may require the insurance company to replace all of the roof tiles in the event there are no longer roof tiles of like, kind, and quality existing in the market. This requirement is created by what is commonly known as “Florida’s Matching Statute.” Please see the following for ease of reference:
§626.9744 Claim settlement practices relating to property insurance.—Unless otherwise provided by the policy, when a homeowner’s insurance policy provides for the adjustment and settlement of first-party losses based on repair or replacement cost, the following requirements apply:
(1) When a loss requires repair or replacement of an item or part, any physical damage incurred in making such repair or replacement which is covered and not otherwise excluded by the policy shall be included in the loss to the extent of any applicable limits. The insured may not be required to pay for betterment required by ordinance or code except for the applicable deductible, unless specifically excluded or limited by the policy.
(2) When a loss requires replacement of items and the replaced items do not match in quality, color, or size, the insurer shall make reasonable repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas. In determining the extent of the repairs or replacement of items in adjoining areas, the insurer may consider the cost of repairing or replacing the undamaged portions of the property, the degree of uniformity that can be achieved without such cost, the remaining useful life of the undamaged portion, and other relevant factors.
(3) This section shall not be construed to make the insurer a warrantor of the repairs made pursuant to this section.
(4) Nothing in this section shall be construed to authorize or preclude enforcement of policy provisions relating to settlement disputes.
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