Wisconsin is getting soaked. As this season of thunderstorms and tornado sirens looms over us—and as we brace for the inevitable summer hailstorm to come—the time is ripe to storm-proof your home’s exterior. Some of these investments can save you thousands in repair and maintenance costs:
- Make the switch to metal siding or fiber-cement siding. Steel siding fears not the storms that rains sideways, blows down trees, and dents parked cars. It’s made of heavy-gauge steel and finished with a super-tough, long-lasting PVC vinyl coating, making it more durable then vinyl, aluminum, or wood. Ours has a lifetime warranty and 50-year hail protection. Fiber-cement siding is also excellent for weathering serious storms. Our James Hardie line of fiber-cement siding is five times thicker than vinyl siding, so it’s warrantied against hail damage and can withstand winds up to 150 mph.
- Shield your home with a metal or slate roof. With about triple the longevity of asphalt shingles, metal roofs have the highest impact-resistance and hail rating a roofing material can have and are able to withstand hurricane-force winds. And when they do sustain storm damage, it’s typically just cosmetic and not structural, so the interior of your home stays protected. Slate is even more durable. In fact, some slate roofs have been around for centuries and are still going strong (which partly explains their traditionally steep price tag). Now that a game-changer called TruSlate™ is on the market, consumers can get a gorgeous slate roof at a much lower cost—often comparable to the cost of cheap imitations.
- Incorporate rain screen technology in new construction. Rain screens create a gap between a home’s exterior sheathing and cladding so that air can drain or dry out rather than soak into the guts of your exterior walls. Any cladding assembly is susceptible to water, but a quality rain screen system ensures that if rain makes it past the cladding, the water won’t wreak havoc. With a rain screen system, you don’t have to worry about moisture—or its resulting mold—biting you in the rear with a giant price tag for remediation and repairs.
- Get iron-clad protection with quality gutters. Storms can quickly choke out gutters with twigs and leaves. Outdated gutter systems don’t hold a candle to the newer ones. For example, the seamless Absolute Gutter™ system has a slightly higher back than front to create an emergency escape route for backed-up water—over the front of the gutter where it can’t submerge your fascia board and soffit. Plus, it’s built to hold 40 percent more water than your standard gutter. If you don’t have a gutter-protection system for a physical barrier to solid materials, get one. If you do have one, make sure it’s working. Our favored product is the LEAFPROOF™ gutter-protection system, the only one that fits existing gutters, slides under the first row of shingles, and isn’t nailed to your roof. Using larger outlets on your gutters will further protect you from clogging. That’s why we also recommend Big Mouth gutter outlets, which provide a 500 percent increase in flow capacity.
Remember as you think about protecting your home’s exterior that old rumors die hard: If you’ve heard that metal roofs are noisy and attract lightning, wrong. If you’ve heard that slate roofs are unaffordable unless you’re in the top one percent, wrong. Check out the facts as you protect your biggest investment, or better yet, give us a call to discuss them any time!