New Test Protocol Provides Deeper Insight Into Performance of IR Shingles Against Hail

Hail impact testing takes place at the IBHS Research Center in Richburg, South Carolina. Manufactured hailstones are launched using a hail cannon designed to create an impact with the same kinetic energy as naturally occurring hail. Photos: Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety

Consumers deserve to have confidence that shingles labeled as impact resistant live up to their resilient expectations. The Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has dedicated years to collecting data and identifying unprecedented insights into the performance of impact resistant-labeled shingles.

IBHS is a non-profit, scientific research organization funded by the property insurance industry as a tangible demonstration of its commitment to resilience. Charged with advancing building science, influencing residential and commercial construction and creating more resilient communities, IBHS recreates real-world severe weather conditions to test buildings and building components, including asphalt shingles.

Background

Hail poses a threat to roofs across the country. It routinely causes more than $10 billion in insured losses each year according to a 2017 WillisRe study, and those losses have been growing. Yet, hail is not well accounted for in typical construction processes because hail-resistant products are not typically required by building codes.

There are three impact modes possible when hailstones hit shingles. Hailstones can bounce off the shingle cleanly, shatter into many pieces, or turn to slush leaving a residue behind on the shingle.

Impact-resistant (IR) asphalt shingles are marketed to consumers to perform better in hailstorms. Currently, those products are tested according to Underwriter’s Lab UL 2218 test or FM Approvals FM 4473 test, which use steel balls and pure water ice balls, respectively. They are based on diameter to kinetic energy relationships from the 1930s, and both tests launch projectiles at the roofing products and assume the damage severity is directly tied to the kinetic energy of the projectile. These tests evaluate products on a pass or fail basis using human evaluation to judge whether a crack has occurred, and in the case of the UL test, the damage is viewed from the backside — the side of a shingle a homeowner, roofer or insurance adjuster can’t see. Neither test, however, accurately replicates both the type and severity of damage found on rooftops after hailstorms.

Missing in the development of these test standards was an understanding of the material properties of natural hail. Historical studies had quantitative data on mass, diameter, and density, but qualitatively described the strength or hardness of hailstones. There were no quantitative hailstone strength data from which to base a laboratory test.

Filling a Knowledge Gap

IBHS began laying the foundation for what would become the IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles by collecting quantitative data on hailstone properties to expand understanding of the phenomenon itself in 2012. Researchers in the field have followed severe thunderstorms and collected hailstones to measure their mass, diameters, and strength. These data provided a deeper understanding of the kinetic energy with which hailstones fall, their mass to diameter relationship, and the strength of the hail itself.

IBHS partnered with Accudyne Inc to design the hail machine to manufacture hailstones in the laboratory to mimic the properties of natural hailstones.

After collecting thousands of data points, IBHS was able to fill the gap in the fundamental properties of hail that would affect damage. The data revealed that natural hail is slightly stronger than pure ice and current test methods overestimate the mass, fall speed and impact energy of hail. This was a significant breakthrough in hail science.

Recreating Hail in the Lab

Armed with these new insights, IBHS researchers could begin to replicate the properties of natural hail and achieve the right impact energies in the laboratory to develop a new test for impact resistance that would produce damage representative of natural hailstorms. Seltzer water was initially used to create the density observed in natural hail. Later, IBHS and Accudyne Systems Inc. developed and patented a hail machine to mass-produce manufactured hailstones for testing. The hail machine allows researchers to configure the density and strength of hailstones to mimic the variety that occurs in natural hail.

Figure 1. Hail causes three distinct types of damage to shingles. Hail can deform a shingle with dents, dislodge the protective granules on the surface of the shingle, and cause cracks or tears that breach the material.

Variations in strength and density led to the identification of three impact modes, or types of impacts, that occur when manufactured hailstones are launched at asphalt shingles. The hailstones may result in a “hard bounce” off the shingle remaining nearly intact, a “hard shatter” with the hailstone fracturing into numerous small pieces leaving no ice residue behind, or a “soft” impact where the hailstone turns to “slush” on the surface of the shingle.

The hard impacts typically caused granule loss and deformed the shingles, leaving dents and creating breaches. The soft, slushy impacts produced a larger area of granule loss, but left less noticeable deformations. These damages are reflective of damages observed on real roofs after hailstorms and may diminish a shingle’s water-shedding capabilities. Deformations to shingles can allow water to penetrate and get into the roof, which may damage the interior of a home. Loss of granules on shingles exposes the asphalt to UV radiation, which can cause them to become more brittle and prone to further damage and shorten the service life of the roof.

The Test Protocol

The IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles uses a hail cannon to launch 1.5- and 2-inch manufactured hailstones at roofing test panels. Unlike existing test methods, IBHS requires the shingles be purchased from distribution channels as a roofer or contractor would purchase the product.

Figure 2. An example of the Roof Shingle Hail Impact Ratings chart found ibhs.org. Each product recieves an overall rating in addition to a rating by damage type ranging from excellent to poor performance.

The test panel follows the UL 2218 method with a 3-foot by 3-foot frame with a middle structural member to simulate the presence of a roof truss. The panel has a plywood roof deck and underlayment. Shingles are installed according to each manufacturer’s instructions. Impacts are focused on the main portion of the shingles avoiding edges, joints, corners, the outer frame and the middle structural member.

When testing three-tab shingles, 20 impacts per hailstone size are required. When testing architectural shingles, 40 impacts per size are required — 20 on the single layer portion of the product and 20 on the multiple layer portion of the product. For each hailstone size, an equal number of hard and soft impacts are required. However, some variation is allowed between hard shatter and hard bounce.

Damage Assessment and Ratings

As part of the new test protocol, IBHS needed an objective tool to assess damages and improve upon the human judged pass/fail ratings of the existing test methods. IBHS partnered with Nemesis Inc. to create a cloud computing tool to measure the volume of deformations and the area of granule loss. The application runs on a computer or mobile device and uses at least 13 photos to generate gridded 3D data of the impacts. The 3D mesh allows the application to precisely measure deformations, including both the depth of dents and the height of the ridge surrounding each dent, as well as granule loss individually and in patches. The quantitative data allows for the severity of the damage to be evaluated, rather than treating all damage as equal. The third mode of damage, breach, is assessed by expert judgement to visually determine the severity level.

The damage severities for each of the 20 impacts for three-tab shingles or 40 impacts for architectural shingles are used to calculate the overall performance evaluation rating of a product for a given test size. IBHS publicly released results of the initial testing in June 2019. The published ratings provide the overall performance evaluation rating in addition to performance ratings by damage category.

The initial release included eight of the most widely-sold IR shingle products on the market. As part of the release, IBHS committed to retest the products every two years and to test new products introduced to the marketplace within six months of release. In October 2019, IBHS issued an update to the performance evaluation ratings, adding three newly released products to the list.

Summary

The IBHS Test Protocol differentiates the performance of widely-sold IR shingles currently on the market by replicating the properties of natural hailstones and providing a quantitative evaluation of performance. Moving beyond pass/fail testing provides more detailed performance information for consumers looking to purchase a better performing product, roofers looking to sell a better product and manufacturers who wish to improve their products.

As hail-related losses continue to rise, the IBHS Impact Resistance Test Protocol for Asphalt Shingles and its ability to more effectively determine which shingles may be more resilient to hail will help raise the level of performance and arm consumers in hail-prone regions with more information when selecting a roofing product.

To view the latest shingle performance ratings, visit www.ibhs.org/hail/shingle-performance-ratings.

About the author: Dr. Tanya Brown-Giammanco is the Managing Director of Research at the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) and has overseen the IBHS hail program since its inception in 2010. For more information on hail research, please visit ibhs.org.

Atlas Roofing Product Receives Excellent Overall Rating for Hail Resistance From IBHS

Atlas Roofing announced that its StormMaster Shake shingles received an excellent overall rating from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS). The performance rating is based on 2019 results from a new test standard for impact resistance developed by the IBHS.

Severe weather can displace families, disrupting their lives and impacting finances. To prevent these avoidable issues, IBHS conducts top-tier scientific research, the results of which help manufacturers engineer better materials, ultimately saving both the insurance industry and homeowners significant time and money.

The IBHS impact-resistance rating factors in how well shingles hold up to specific damage caused by hail. Out of the 10 products tested, Atlas StormMaster Shake shingles received a good rating for dents/ridges and an excellent rating for tears and granule loss. In addition, StormMaster Shake is the only product to receive an excellent overall rating.

“We’re thrilled that StormMaster Shake outranked the competition,” said Paul Casseri, product manager for Atlas Roofing. “The secret is in our Core4 Enhanced Polymer Technology — the most innovative development in asphalt shingle manufacturing today.”

IBHS tests are designed to replicate real-world conditions on a variety of widely purchased shingles labeled as “impact resistant.”

“Hail causes billions of dollars in property damage every year,” said Tanya Brown-Giammanco, managing director of research for IBHS. “Consumers deserve to have confidence that shingles labeled as impact resistant live up to expectations. Our research serves to empower manufacturers to develop better products.”

For more information about IBHS, visit www.IBHS.org. For more information about Atlas Roofing, visit www.AtlasRoofing.com.

Manage Customers Affected by Hail

HailStrike has made available CLAIM, which stands for Complete Location Analysis and Information Management.

HailStrike has made available CLAIM, which stands for Complete Location Analysis and Information Management.

HailStrike has made available CLAIM, which stands for Complete Location Analysis and Information Management. The management system brings together several HailStrike tools, including hailstorm history, color-coded hail-activity maps, general property information, owner details, custom reminders, local demographic information, a roof-measurement tool with job cost and estimations, and radar-based multi-site monitoring. With each CLAIM location, users have the option to specify details about the property owner, insurance carrier and claim information. Users also can set reminders and specify hail monitoring for the location for instant notification of future hail activity. Projects can be notated, arranged, prioritized, edited and saved for future reference.

Help Homeowners Understand the Quality Proposition of a Tile Roof

Buying a home is the largest purchase most people ever make. Buyers work intensely to identify their needs and wants, assess the individual benefits of various choices and evaluate the long-term financial return to ensure they make a quality decision. Once living in that new home, kitchen remodels and reroofing can be the largest expenses faced by homeowners.

 In addition to increasing curb appeal, modern tile roofing systems and accessories offer an opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of a home.

In addition to increasing curb appeal, modern tile roofing systems and accessories offer an opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of
a home.

We all have firsthand, daily experience with our kitchen. We know what we like and what we don’t. Advertisements showing features and benefits of new appliances, more spacious cabinets and better lighting are appealing. Learning and planning for a new kitchen is fun and exciting. We know we will use it every day and we can show it off to our friends. We choose to do a kitchen remodel.

Reroofing is different. The process usually starts with a surprise—a roof leak a repairman fails to resolve. Then a second attempt, maybe a third, followed by an explanation that the system has reached the end of its useful and serviceable life. Reroofing becomes necessary to preserve the integrity of the home. It’s not fun and it’s not by choice. Compared to new stainless-steel appliances, soft-close drawers and a built-in wine cooler, it’s not exciting.

With little understanding of modern roofing, the first (and often only) question asked is, “How much is it going to cost?” If lowest initial cost was the only criteria for a roof, we would all have blue tarps overhead.

The true cost of roofing is defined by the life-cycle cost, which includes consideration of the initial cost, life expectancy, potential energy savings and potential insurance discounts.

A quality tile roof installation will set a home apart from neighboring homes now and will be a great investment to help the home garner the best sale price later. This is where a knowledgeable contractor can help a homeowner identify his or her needs and wants, assess the benefits of various choices and calculate the value of the given system.

1. IDENTIFY THE HOMEOWNER’S NEEDS AND WANTS

Residential roofing is a functional part of the building envelope. Its primary purpose is to protect the home and its contents from the elements. Residential roofing is also a largely visible part of a home’s curb appeal. A tile roof will increase the curb appeal of a house when compared to similar homes with less substantial roofing materials.

Concrete and clay roof tiles’ resistance to weathering, hail, high winds and UV means that look of quality will be consistent from the day the roof is installed until the day it helps the homeowner get the best return on his/her original investment by enhancing the home’s curb appeal when the house is sold. Without the excitement of center islands and granite counter- tops, the homeowner needs help to be informed about options and benefits a tile roof can provide.

2. ASSESS THE BENEFITS OF VARIOUS CHOICES

In addition to increasing curb appeal, modern tile roofing systems and accessories offer an opportunity to improve the energy efficiency of a home. The inherent insulation properties created by tile’s high thermal mass can be enhanced with above-sheathing ventilation, or ASV. These raised batten systems can “… offer a significant 50 percent reduction in the heat penetrating the conditioned space compared to direct nailed roof systems that are in direct contact with the roof deck,” says Dr. William Miller, Ph.D., P.E., Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Oak Ridge, Tenn.

The energy savings of ASV is recognized by the California Energy Commission, Sacramento, and included in the Title 24 Energy Code revisions for reroofing and alterations. (Learn more about ASV in “Details”, March/April 2015 issue, page 79.)

PHOTOS: Boral Roofing Products

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RICOWI Provides Unbiased Research on Recent Hail Damage

Each time weather reports and news stories warn of impending heavy rains and hail, the Hail Investigation Program (HIP) Committee of the Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues (RICOWI) Inc., Clinton, Ohio, begins a process to determine whether the hail damage is sufficient to meet the HIP requirements for deployment of volunteer research teams.

Before the daily assignments began, the volunteers reviewed the various research requirements, met their team members and learned their responsibilities.

Before the daily assignments began, the volunteers reviewed the various research requirements, met their team members and learned their responsibilities.

Mobilization criteria is met when “An event is identified as a hailstorm with hail stones greater than 1 1/2 inches in diameter causing significant damage covering an area of 5 square miles or more on one of the target- ed areas.” Once a storm that meets the criteria has been confirmed and meteorological data and local input have been obtained by HIP, a conference call with RICOWI’s Executive Committee is held to discuss HIP’s recommendation and review information. The Executive Committee decides whether to deploy.

On April 11, 2016, the hailstorm that damaged the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex met the requirements for mobilization.

RESEARCH TEAMS AND BUILDINGS

Volunteer recruitment is an ongoing process throughout the year. RICOWI members are encouraged to volunteer as a deployment team member by completing forms online or at HIP committee meetings held twice a year in conjunction with RICOWI seminars and meetings.

Once a deployment is called, an email is sent to RICOWI members to alert the volunteers and encourage new volunteers. RICOWI sponsoring organizations also promote the investigation to their memberships. Volunteers are a mixture of new and returning personnel.

On May 2, 2016, 30 industry professionals traveled from across the U.S. to assemble in Texas. These volunteers were alerted to bring their trucks, ladders and safety equipment. To provide an impartial review, 10 teams of three volunteers were balanced with roofing material representatives, roofing consultants or engineers, meteorologists, contractors and researchers. Team members volunteered to be their team’s photographer, data collector or team leader.

When the deployment was called, press releases were sent to various media in the Dallas/Fort Worth area to alert local companies and homeowners of the research investigation. RICOWI staff began making calls immediately to the local area’s government officials to seek approval for the investigation teams to conduct research. Staff also made calls throughout the research week to help identify additional buildings.

A large area in and around Wylie, Texas, had hail as large as 4 inches in diameter.

A large area in and around Wylie, Texas, had hail as large as 4 inches in diameter.

Several methods are used to help determine which areas and roofs are chosen. A list of building permits were provided to RICOWI by local building officials to assist with roof choice. In addition, one of RICOWI’s members from the area did preliminary research and provided addresses for the teams. These site owners were contacted through phone and email to notify them of the research project.

Teams were assigned low- or steep- slope research and were assigned addresses accordingly. Team members carried copies of the press release and additional information to help introduce the investigation to business owners and homeowners.

Ultimately, the objective of the re- search project in Dallas/Fort Worth included the following:

  • Investigate the field performance of roofing assemblies after this major hail event.
  • Factually describe roof assembly performance and modes of damage.
  • Formally report the results for substantiated hail events.

DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES

Before the daily assignments began, the volunteers reviewed the various research requirements, met their team members and learned their responsibilities. The teams were briefed on safety, how to take proper photos and how to capture important data.

As each day began, a briefing was held providing assignments for the day. This included addresses for investigation based on whether the team was focused on low- or steep-slope research. The teams were encouraged to stop at other homes and facilities that were undergoing roof repairs in addition to their assigned inspections.

The days were hot and long for the teams. Volunteers began each day at 8 a.m. and many did not return until 5 or 6 p.m., depending on the number of roofs they were assigned. The temperature during the day was around 80 F and humid; the temperatures on the roofs were much worse.

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Denver International Airport Is Reroofed with EPDM after a Hailstorm

The millions of passengers who pass through Denver International Airport each year no doubt have the usual list of things to review as they prepare for a flight: Checked baggage or carry-on? Buy some extra reading material or hope that the Wi-Fi on the plane is working? Grab
a quick bite before takeoff or take your chances with airline snacks?

The storm created concentric cracks at the point of hail impacts and, in most cases, the cracks ran completely through the original membrane.

The storm created concentric cracks at the point of hail impacts and, in most cases, the cracks ran completely through the original membrane.

Nick Lovato, a Denver-based roofing consultant, most likely runs through a similar checklist before each flight. But there’s one other important thing he does every time he walks through DIA. As he crosses the passenger bridge that connects the Jeppeson Terminal to Gate A, he always looks out at the terminal’s roof and notices with some pride that it is holding up well. Fifteen years ago, after a hailstorm shredded the original roof on Denver’s terminal building, his firm, CyberCon, Centennial, Colo., was brought in as part of the design team to assess the damage, assist in developing the specifications and oversee the installation of a new roof that would stand up to Denver’s sometimes unforgiving climate.

HAIL ALLEY

DIA, which opened in 1995, is located 23 miles northeast of the metropolitan Denver area, on the high mountain desert prairie of Colorado. Its location showcases its spectacular design incorporating peaked tent-like elements on its roof, meant to evoke the nearby Rocky Mountains or Native American dwellings or both. Unfortunately, this location also places the airport smack in the middle of what is known as “Hail Alley”, the area east of the Rockies centered in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. According to the Silver Spring, Md.- based National Weather Service, this area experiences an average of nine “hail days” a year. The reason this area gets so much hail is that the freezing point—the area of the atmosphere at 32 F or less—in the high plains is much closer to the ground. In other words, the hail doesn’t have time to thaw and melt before it hits the ground.

Not only are hail storms in this area relatively frequent, they also produce the largest hail in North America. The Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, Greenwood Village, Colo., says the area experiences three to four hailstorms a year categorized as “catastrophic”, causing at least $25 million in damage. Crops, commercial buildings, housing, automobiles and even livestock are at risk.

Statistically, more hail falls in June in Colorado than during any other month, and the storm that damaged DIA’s roof followed this pattern. In June 2001, the hailstorm swept over the airport. The storm was classified as “moderate” but still caused extensive damage to the flat roofs over Jeppesen Terminal and the passenger bridge. (It’s important to note that the storm did not damage the renowned tent roofs.) The airport’s original roof, non-reinforced PVC single-ply membrane, was “shredded” by the storm and needed extensive repair. Lovato and his team at CyberCon assessed the damage and recommended changes in the roofing materials that would stand up to Colorado’s climate. Lovato also oversaw the short-term emergency re- pairs to the roof and the installation of the new roof.

The initial examination of the roof also revealed that the existing polystyrene rigid insulation, ranging in thickness from 4 to 14 inches, was salvageable, representing significant savings.

The initial examination of the roof also revealed that the existing polystyrene rigid insulation, ranging in thickness from 4 to 14 inches, was salvageable, representing significant savings.

Under any circumstances, this would have been a challenging task. The fact that the work was being done at one of the busiest airports in the world made the challenge even more complex. The airport was the site of round-the-clock operations with ongoing public activity, meaning that noise and odor issues needed to be addressed. Hundreds of airplanes would be landing and taking off while the work was ongoing. And three months after the storm damaged the roof in Denver, terrorists attacked the World Trade Center, making security concerns paramount.

INSPECTION AND REROOFING

Lovato’s inspection of the hail damage revealed the extent of the problems with the airport roof. The original PVC membrane, installed in 1991, was showing signs of degradation and premature plasticizer loss prior to being pummeled by the June 2001 storm. The storm itself created concentric cracks at the point of hail impacts and, in most cases, the cracks ran completely through the membrane. In some instances, new cracks developed in the membranes that were not initially visible following the storm. The visible cracks were repaired immediately with EPDM primer and EPDM flashing tape until more extensive repairs could begin. Lovato notes that while nature caused the damage to DIA, nature was on the roofing team’s side when the repairs were being made: The reroofing project was performed during a drought, the driest in 50 years, minimizing worries about leaks into the terminal below and giving the construction teams almost endless sunny days to finish their job.

The initial examination of the roof also revealed that the existing polystyrene rigid insulation, ranging in thickness from 4 to 14 inches, was salvageable, representing significant savings. Although a single-ply, ballasted roof was considered and would have been an excellent choice in other locations, it was ruled out at the airport given that the original structure was not designed for the additional weight and substantial remediation at the roof edge perimeter possibly would have been required.

Lovato chose 90-mil black EPDM membrane for the new roof. “It’s the perfect roof for that facility. We wanted a roof that’s going to perform. EPDM survives the best out here, given our hailstorms,” he says. A single layer of 5/8-inch glass-faced gypsum board with a primed surface was installed over the existing polystyrene rigid insulation (secured with mechanical fasteners and metal plates) to provide a dense, hail-resistant substrate for the new membrane.

In some areas adjacent to the airport’s clerestory windows, the membrane received much more solar radiation than other areas of the roof.

In some areas adjacent to the airport’s clerestory windows, the membrane received much more solar radiation than other areas of the roof.

In some areas adjacent to the airport’s clerestory windows, the membrane received much more solar radiation than other areas of the roof. When ambient temperatures exceeded 100 F, some melting of the polystyrene rigid insulation occurred. “That section of the roof was getting double reflection,” Lovato points out. To reduce the impact of this reflection, the roof was covered with a high-albedo white coating, which prevented any further damage to the top layer of the polystyrene rigid insulation board and also met the aesthetic requirements of the building.

LONG-TERM SOLUTION

Lovato’s observations about the durability of EPDM are backed up by field experience and controlled scientific testing. In 2005, the EPDM Roofing Association, Washington, D.C., commissioned a study of the impact of hail on various roofing membranes. The study, conducted by Jim D. Koontz & Associates Inc., Hobbs, N.M., showed EPDM outperforms all other available membranes in terms of hail resistance. As would be expected, 90-mil membrane offers the highest resistance against punctures. But even thinner 45-mil membranes were affected only when impacted by a 3-inch diameter ice ball at 133.2 feet per second, more than 90 mph—extreme conditions that would rarely be experienced even in the harshest climates.

Lovato travels frequently, meaning he can informally inspect the DIA roof at regular intervals as he walks through the airport. He’s confident the EPDM roof is holding up well against the Denver weather extremes, and he’s optimistic about the future. With justified pride, Lovato says, “I would expect that roof to last 30-plus years.”

PHOTOS: CyberCon

Roof Materials

90-mil Non-reinforced EPDM: Firestone Building Products
Gypsum Board: 5/8-inch DensDeck Prime from Georgia-Pacific
Plates and Concrete Fasteners: Firestone Building Products
White Elastomeric Coating: AcryliTop from Firestone Building Products
Existing Polystyrene: Dow

The Roofing Industry Seeks to Protect Buildings from Storms

I used to love storms. I was never one to cower at the sound of thunder. I often found storms a good excuse to turn off the TV and lights, open the blinds and marvel at the sheer power of nature. If you read my January/February “Raise the Roof”, however, you know I have had a love-hate relationship with rain since moving in with my husband (we married in August 2015). I found myself awake on rainy nights, counting the seconds between pumps of our sump
pump. If less than 20 seconds passed, I knew the basement was flooding and dreaded the morning’s cleanup. (I work from home and my office is in the basement.)

In March, a waterproofing company spent two days installing its patented drain- age system and a new sump pump inside our basement. We monitored the system throughout the month of April, which was rainy, to ensure there were no leaks in the system. It worked like a charm! During April, we also hired contractors to create my new home office, a guestroom and walk-in closet within the basement. So far, we have new windows, lighting and insulation; the contractors are finishing up drywall and ceiling installation as I type.

I know what it’s like when you can’t trust your house to weather a storm. There’s nothing worse than feeling powerless, and seeing your belongings destroyed is gut-wrenching. As the nation braces against another summer of intense weather, it’s comforting to know the construction industry—specifically roofing—is researching and innovating to protect people’s homes and businesses from Mother Nature’s wrath.

For example, in “Business Sense”, Jared O. Blum, president of the Washington, D.C.-based Polyisocyanurate Insulation Manufacturers Association, writes about initiatives to improve the resiliency of our building stock and infrastructure through codes, standards and proactive design.

The Clinton, Ohio-based Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc., better known as RICOWI, recently sent 30 researchers to the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex after an April hailstorm. According to Joan Cook, RICOWI’s executive director, the 10 teams of three inspected 3 million square feet of low and steep-slope roofing during the investigation. The teams’ findings will result in a report to help the industry better understand what causes roofs to perform or fail in severe hail events, leading to overall improvements in roof system durability. Learn how RICOWI mobilizes and studies roofs in “Special Report”.

There are many other stories within this issue about roof systems working along- side other building components to create durable, sustainable and energy-efficient buildings. Humans have a long history of innovating and evolving to meet the needs of their current situation. I have no doubt that in my lifetime our buildings will be built to withstand nearly any catastrophic event. Meanwhile, I’m happy to report we received 4 1/2 inches of rain in three hours last week and our basement remained bone dry. Thanks to innovations in basement waterproofing, I may start to enjoy storms just a bit again!

Mobile App Allows Access to Site- and Date-specific Hail Reporting Data

HailStrike's OneSite Mobile app allows users to access extensive, detailed and time-sensitive hail reporting data from the field, from virtually any mobile device.

HailStrike’s OneSite Mobile app allows users to access extensive, detailed and time-sensitive hail reporting data from the field, from virtually any mobile device.

HailStrike introduces OneSite Mobile, an innovative service poised to bring a solution to mobile access for hail storm dates.

HailStrike’s OneSite Mobile app allows users to access extensive, detailed and time-sensitive hail reporting data from the field, from virtually any mobile device. The app gives the flexibility of requesting hail data and potential dates of loss with the touch of a finger. The only input needed is a property address, which can be automatically attained using a powerful Geo-Locating algorithm, or by manually entering a property address. The powerful tool takes the address and reports all hail activity over the past five years, including size, duration, storm speed, storm direction and more.

The OneSite Mobile app can deliver two types of reports: a comprehensive, detailed OneSite report with historical activity along with support documentation, or a OneSite Lite that individually lists the dates of activity. Both of these reports are generated from the field in less than three minutes.

Insurance adjusters, CAT teams, independent claims adjusters, public adjusters, roofing contractors, and roofing engineers will find OneSite Mobile an indispensable tool in immediate remote hail verification for a specific address.

OneSite Reports utilize Dual Polarization, NEXRAD radars’ newest technology, which creates a digital, High Definition look into the heart of a storm. Only HailStrike captures, stores and analyzes this data every five minutes from NOAA’s NEXRAD (Next-Generation Radar) station across the country and then processes it with HailStrike’s patent-pending algorithms.

RICOWI Deploys Research Teams to Hail-damaged Areas

The Roofing Industry Committee on Weather Issues Inc. (RICOWI Inc.) has announced deployment of research teams to the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex hail-damaged areas. The teams will be conducting the investigation from May 2-6, 2016.

RICOWI is a non-profit international organization that has implemented a strategic plan for a Hail Investigation Program (HIP). The purpose of the research program is:

  • To investigate the field performance of roofing assemblies after major hail storms.
  • To factually describe roof assembly performance and modes of damage.
  • To formally report the results for substantiated hail events.

Hail Task Force Chair John Gimple says: “The data collected will provide unbiased detailed information on the hail resistance of low slope and steep slope roofing systems from credible investigative teams. We can expect a greater industry understanding of what causes roofs to perform or fail in hail storms, leading to overall improvements in roof system durability, the reduction of waste generation from re-roofing activities, and a reduction in insurance losses that will lead to lower overall costs for the public.”

RICOWI investigated the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex in 2011. During this investigation more than 100 hail-damaged roofs were included in the research. RICOWI Inc. is again reaching out to the local governments, businesses and the residents to help with this important research project by volunteering their hail damaged roofs for the research project. All information is kept confidential and is used strictly for research purposes. Reports of past research are available for no charge on the website.

The published findings will document roofing systems that fail or survive major hail events and provide educational materials for roofing professionals to design hail-resistant roofing systems.

Hail-tracking Services Are Updated

LiveHailReports.com has upgraded its existing suite of hail-tracking services designed for insurance adjusters, roofers and other professionals keeping an eye on stormy skies. Hail swath alerts for any U.S. state now can be received automatically—and free of charge—through email. During sign up, select one or more states, and whenever hail impacts one of those states, a hail swath map is automatically delivered to your inbox and readily available on mobile or desktop. Emails are sent each morning for the previous day’s hail activity. To start receiving free hail swath map alerts, visit LiveHailReports.com and click on the Free Alerts tab.