Evolving Weather Patterns, Innovation and Performance Roofing Systems
Roofing systems designed to weather the storm
They are stories we hear all too often these days:
“A hurricane destroyed my home, and my family has been displaced for months.”
“A tornado ripped through my community, and we’re trying to rebuild.”
“High winds and severe storms tore off my roof and ruined everything in my business.”
The evidence appears to be clear. Instances of extreme weather continue to rise—exponentially. Need more proof?
- In the 2010s, the U.S. experienced 119 events that each cost at least $1 billion in losses due to extreme weather disasters, compared to 59 events in the 2000s. That’s a 100 percent increase, after amending for inflation.
- The contiguous United States experienced the second wettest year on record in 2019. In fact, as of January 2020, “10 of the last 12-month periods set records for precipitation … with the top seven all-time wettest 12-month periods occurring during 2019.” 
- More than 1,500 tornadoes were reported in the contiguous United States in 2019. That’s one of the top-five worst years on record for tornadoes.
- Consider the two tornadoes that ravaged Nashville, Tenn. in March of this year—one EF-4 with 175 mph winds and one EF-3 with winds between 136 and 165 mph. These tornadoes occurred earlier in the year than the typical tornado season and destroyed homes, schools and businesses in their 50-mile wake.
When it comes to extreme weather, one of the most susceptible elements of your home to frequent damage is your roof, which puts everything under it at risk. No home can withstand a direct hit from the most extreme weather events, such as a tornado or high-category hurricane. However, improvements in building technology, and especially roofing products and the way they are installed, mean more homes may sustain less damage as we experience more foul weather in more places than ever before.
Think about it, shingle loss can also be the first step to heartbreaking destruction: If the roof deck leaks in a storm, attic insulation can be soaked, drywall could become saturated and fall, all creating a substantial amount of work for a potentially astronomical price. Or worse, precious, priceless items are ruined throughout your home. There simply is no room for corner cutting or compromise with any roofing components, and more specifically, how each component is installed.
Or, consider one of the $119 billion in disasters from the 2010s. In 2018, Category 5 Hurricane Michael tore through the southeastern United States, causing $25 billion in damage. In Mexico City Beach, Fla., in particular, it wiped out tens of thousands of homes.
Severe weather and the subsequent need for increased protection are having a major impact on building science and the roofing industry and have created a demand for the innovation of new products and installation techniques. Standards like the high-performing FORTIFIED Roof™ system have been credited as contributing to the survival of one of the few Mexico City Beach homes after Hurricane Michael’s destruction. These high-performing roof systems—through products like performance shingles and application systems—protect against blow-off, water infiltration and other damage due to extreme weather.
At the end of the day: To protect your roof is to protect your home and everything in it.
The ultimate system for maximum roof protection and performance
Today, when it comes time to help ensure that a homeowner’s roof (and everything it protects) will remain secure during extreme weather events, professional roofers can turn to a relatively new category of products referred to as “performance roofing components.”
In the past few years, some manufacturers, including IKO, began developing roof systems featuring superior levels of wind and impact resistance, strong nail-holding power and increased overall durability. The growing industry-wide consensus that performance shingles and accessories are crucial to providing a first line of defense against the elements is why at IKO, we say: Performance is going mainstream.
Roof design standards have risen in importance at the same pace as weather volatility has increasingly cost insurers more and more money every year. Integrated roofing systems—shingles and roofing accessories designed to work together as an engineered solution—can not only prevent leaks, but also help secure the integrity of the building envelope. Accessory roofing materials, such as eave protectors, synthetic underlayments, roof starters, tapes and ridge cap shingles contribute to a potentially more durable, longer lasting roof to help protect against blow off and water infiltration.
The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety® (IBHS) and its FORTIFIED Roof™ standards have been a driving force behind the building science of improved roofing installation. The program has a specific set of uniform roof design and construction standards, as well as rigorous quality-control methods, for new homes and roof replacements. Improved installation and high-performance products work together to protect the home from water intrusion and help limit roof repairs from storm damage.
The IBHS FORTIFIED Roof standards emphasize these key actions:
- Nail it down—Strengthen the roof deck with more aggressive nail patterns and longer ring-shank roofing nails.
- Seal it up—Seal deck seams, apply multi-layer leak protection and protect critical joints with proper flashing.
- Lock it in—Bond the drip edge on the rakes and eaves to the underlayment and shingle by installing fully adhered starter strips at the perimeter.
This year, IKO introduced two new products developed to meet the rigorous requirements of the IBHS FORTIFIED Roof standards. GoldSeam® is a multipurpose roof tape that seals roof deck seams as well as seals the gap between the fascia and roof deck to provide critical protection to prevent water infiltration. EdgeSeal® is a double-sided, self-sealing adhesive starter roll designed to bond shingles to the roof deck at the roof’s most vulnerable area—the perimeter—to help prevent blow-off from high winds. When used together with an IKO performance shingle, they work to help ensure superior roof installation and top-performance quality standards. (Not all homes built using IKO GoldSeam or EdgeSeal will qualify for a FORTIFIED Home™ designation. Homes require compliance with all FORTIFIED Home™ technical requirements and additional inspections. For more information, please visit www.fortifiedhome.org.)
Fortification against the elements means extreme performance
The reality is, extreme weather isn’t likely to slow down anytime soon. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to continue to see increases in frequency and severity for years to come. We must address our current and future reality by innovating for the future—to reduce insurance liability, create safer homes and improve the overall quality of life for millions of homeowners.
To learn more about IKO’s performance products and full suite of roofing product solutions, visit www.iko.com.
 IBHS does not provide any type of warranty or guarantee related to the FORTIFIED Roof designation. IBHS shall not be held responsible or liable for damage to any property, systems, components or contents in a FORTIFIED-designated home. IBHS assumes no responsibility or liability for any individual or firm as a result of the designation.