Proactively Protecting Your Commercial Roof and Building in Hurricane-Prone Areas

Proactively Protecting Your Commercial Roof and Building in Hurricane-Prone Areas

By Heather Vogt / Published June 2023

An aerial view of the destruction from Hurricane Ian in Fort Myers, FL. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As a commercial property owner operating in a hurricane-prone area, it’s essential to prepare for the worst-case scenario by proactively protecting the roof and the entire building. A hurricane can cause massive damage to properties, including roofs, which could result in significant headaches and financial losses. With the right knowledge and preparation, however, you can take steps to keep your commercial building and roof in the best shape possible, minimizing damage and downtime after a hurricane hits. 

     Tom Larsen, associate vice president of hazard & risk management at CoreLogic, had this to say in a press release: “We were at a crossroads with Hurricane Ian in terms of adapting to today’s catastrophe risk environment. Infrastructure and building codes will evolve so that we can be more resilient ahead of what are bound to be more history-making storms in the near future. We cannot just rebuild; we need to restore for resilience.”

     [Source: CoreLogic press release & updated October press release]

On September 28, 2022, Hurricane Ian arrived at Cayo Costa, FL, emanating Category 4 hurricane strength with peak continuous gusts of 150 mph. (

     According to a National Institute of Building Sciences report, “for every $1 spent on disaster mitigation, an average of $6 is saved in future losses. There are upfront costs of potentially higher construction costs and enforcement costs to the local jurisdiction, but it provides benefits of greater life safety and property protection in natural disasters and, perhaps, lower long-term operating and maintenance costs.”

     [Full Report:]

     It’s crucial to implement effective strategies and adopt the right practices that can help mitigate the potential damage caused by strong winds and heavy rainfalls. By following these tips, commercial property owners operating in hurricane-prone areas can ensure their roofs and buildings are prepared.

Choose a High-Quality Roofing System

     Your first line of defense against hurricane damage is a high-quality roofing system that is designed to withstand high winds and heavy rain. Invest in a roof system that is rated for hurricane resistance, such as a modified bitumen roof or a standing seam metal roof. Roofing systems that are manufactured with hurricane-prone areas in mind are designed to meet more stringent wind and impact-resistance standards. They can withstand hurricane-force winds and airborne debris, reducing your risk of damage.

Broken trees are common from hurricane-force winds. It’s best to trim trees close to the property to avoid damage. (Photo by Shaunl/Getty Images)

Regular Roof Inspections and Maintenance

     The condition of your roof can significantly impact its ability to withstand hurricane-force winds and water. Regular roof inspections and maintenance can help ensure that your roof remains in top condition so that it can stand up to the challenges that come with hurricanes. Have your roof inspected regularly for signs of wear and tear, such as cracks, leaks, and damaged flashings. Address any issues immediately to avoid more significant problems down the line. This is not an area you want to shortcut.

Trim Trees and Branches

     Trees and branches can be dangerous during a hurricane, especially when they are situated near the roof of your commercial property. Overhanging branches can scratch and damage the roof or snap and fall onto it, causing significant damage. Therefore, it’s essential to remove dead, weak, or overhanging branches from trees surrounding the building to reduce the risk of damage.

Minimal damage with proper roof system after Hurricane Michael. (Photo by Paul David Herring/Getty Images)

Install Impact-Resistant Windows and Doors

     High winds can cause significant damage to doors and windows, leading to interior damage from water and debris infiltration. Install impact-resistant windows and doors that meet the local building code standards for hurricane resistance. The use of impact-resistant materials can dramatically reduce the risk of damage during a severe weather event, providing additional safety and security to your building.

Secure Loose Items

     Loose objects such as HVAC equipment or debris can fly off and cause significant damage during a hurricane. Therefore, it’s essential to secure or anchor these objects adequately before a hurricane hits. This will help prevent them from becoming projectiles that could damage the roof, windows, or other parts of the building.

Drone footage shows roof and property damage to a condominium on Daytona Beach Shores from Hurricane Nicole, November 2022. (Sky 6)

Have a Disaster Preparedness Plan in Place

     It’s essential to have an action plan in place before the hurricane season starts. The plan should outline evacuation routes, procedures for protecting the building, and essential contact information for emergency services. It’s also important to communicate the plan to all employees and stakeholders to ensure everyone is aware of the steps to take in case of an emergency.

     When a hurricane or natural disaster strikes, it can be difficult to find the right repair materials. To make sure you’re prepared for anything Mother Nature throws your way, store critical supplies like a tarp, roofing material/patch repair kit, caulk, and sealant in an easily accessible location—if not on hand they may just become unavailable at the time of need! Also don’t forget necessities such as gloves, which will come in handy both while prepping for storms  and digging out post-storm restorations. 

     In conclusion, protecting the roof of a commercial property during a hurricane requires a proactive approach and a combination of best practices. By implementing these tips, commercial property owners can safeguard their buildings and reduce the headache that often comes with extensive repairs after a hurricane.

McEnany Roofing, Inc.

     McEnany Roofing is one of Florida’s premier commercial roofing contractors, with a multitude of satisfied customers. We are approved applicators for most commercial roof covering types, have hundreds of roofs 20 to 30 years old still in place, and are held in high standing with manufacturers having a pre-approved contractor program. Having an ownership and management team with well over 100 years of experience in the industry gives our customers the security of knowing they are getting the quality they expect. For more information about McEnany Roofing, Inc., visit