Apart from the big screen TVs, lawn furniture, toys and other household goods
that littered the island after Hurricane Ivan, scattered roof shingles added
considerably to the collage.
Studies of house damage in Florida following hurricanes found, however, that
shingles do very well if they were attached correctly, especially the three–tab
self–sealing fiberglass asphalt. These shingles have a nearly nonexistent (flat)
profile that gives the wind no hold on them, and their leading edges are glued
to the shingles in the lower course, a plus in withstanding hurricanes, states a
GIS press release.
Local building contractor Lee Maragh agrees.
“We have found that properly installed shingles held up well against
He advises people to employ a certified contractor when repairing shingles as
there are many different brands that might require different ways of
Some brands of shingles have an adhesive strip that will give the shingles
extra staying power. The heat of the sun activates the adhesive, but it needs
time to cure, which is why some new roofs that were installed just before the
storm, sustained damage, Mr Maragh says.
“One big misconception is that one needs to remove the strip of cellophane
paper from the shingle before installing it. This strip of paper is only there
to keep the self–sealing cement along the edges from gluing the shingles
together in the shipping bundles.”
However, Public Works’ Chief Engineer Mr Colford Scott, emphasizes that
people should carefully read the manufacturer’s requirements as some shingle
brands may require the removal of these strips before installation. In those
cases, failure to do so will undermine the shingles’ ability to stick and make
them vulnerable to high winds.
Other advice: take down the old shingles when it is cooler – in the mornings
or early evenings – and install new shingles when the sun is out, as shingles
are more pliable when they are hot. A flat felt surface also makes installation
easier, adds Mr Maragh.
The US Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association recommends that asphalt
shingles should be glued to the drip edges with roofing cement along the eaves
and the gable ends. The exposure of shingles should also be reduced to four
inches and the shingles should be attached with six nails instead of the usual
As a result of Hurricane Andrew, Dade County no longer allows contractors to
use staples when installing shingles as there have been too many cases of
overdriven staples passing right through the shingles.
The association also recommends that all flashings should be cemented down
and nailed on four– inch centres.
With the proper overlapping and nailing down of shingles being a skill that
requires experience, it is always better to use a certified contractor to
install a new roof.
However those who choose to fix their own roofs can do so successfully if
they do enough research, says Contractor Dan Morisseau.
“Shingles usually come with the proper installation instructions. If not,
these instructions can be found on the company’s website. The biggest mistake
people can make is to rush into a project without researching the job
specifications and techniques required by the manufacturer.”
Mr Morrisseau advises people to pay special attention to the following when
• Proper nailing pattern of shingles
• Proper overlapping of shingles
• Type and composition of nails used to install shingles
• Spacing of nails when installing shingles
Although some shingles come with a guarantee of up to 20 years, people should
be mindful that all roofing material has a certain life cycle and when it
exceeds that, it will become vulnerable.