North America has been experiencing an increase in the number and severity of various types of storms. Hurricane winds are getting stronger. Tornadoes are more common outside of tornado alley. Hail is becoming more common and more damaging. In many areas of the United States, average amounts of precipitation are increasing, and thunderstorms are becoming more severe. Rising temperatures from climate change present various challenges for roofing products. The entire roofing industry needs to adapt to these weather challenges in order to meet your needs for a quality roof.
Shingle manufacturers are rising to the challenge with performance roofing products that can better withstand these extreme weather conditions. Depending on which conditions are a concern in your area, you might want to know what innovations we’ve made to help make your home more secure. Below we’ll walk you through the major ways that climate change affects our weather in the United States and Canada and how the roofing industry has responded to those risks with better features and products.
Worldwide, hurricanes have become stronger over the last four decades, according to a recent report published in the journal of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS). Every decade, the number of hurricanes that were Category 3 or higher storms increased by eight percent. The theory behind this change, according to the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, is complex. A variety of factors, including sea-level rise, atmospheric warming, increased atmospheric moisture content, and more, have combined to make hurricane winds stronger.
Anthropogenic (or human-made) climate change is not the only factor in this increase in hurricane intensity. According to the New York Times, this is especially true in North America, where natural variability in sea surface temperature may still be the primary factor behind the increase.
Whatever the leading underlying cause is, hurricanes on our continent continue to create more property damage than in years past. Researchers expect this trend to continue and to make recovering from hurricanes more expensive on average. Hurricanes are also expected to impact more people. A study by the U.S. federal government’s non partisan Congressional Budget Office, found that by the year 2075, eight times as many people will face substantial damage from hurricanes as do today. That’s just in the United States. These people will need roofing systems that can better withstand strong forces.
Strong winds can rip shingles off the roof, so manufacturers have come up with solutions to better adhere the shingles to the roof. One such solution is IKO’s ArmourZone®, a reinforced nailing strip that helps shingles and their nails stay in place. This tear-resistant band reinforces the bond between the shingle and the roof. IKO offers two performance shingles, Dynasty ® and NordicTM, with ArmourZone®. Both come with a limited wind warranty for winds up to 130 mph (210 km/h).
Hurricane ties are another worthwhile roofing innovation that can help your home’s structure resist hurricane forces. These ties strengthen the connection between the roof truss and the wall of your home. The roof truss is the wooden support system for the roof, like its skeleton. Reinforcing this connection helps prevent hurricane winds from ripping the truss off the rest of the structure. If you live in a hurricane-prone area, these ties may be required by your local building code. You should ask a professional roofer to install them.
No roofing product can withstand the most severe hurricanes, but investing in roofing products and systems suitable to withstand the climate challenges in your area and following the more stringent building code guidelines designed for hurricane areas can help your roof withstand faster winds.
Thunderstorms may seem run of the mill to you as compared to hurricanes. However, they are still an important risk to consider. According to the Insurance Information Institute, severe thunderstorms in the United States cause more damage than other extreme weather events, including flooding, hurricanes and winter storms.
Plus, as temperatures rise globally, extreme precipitation is also likely to increase, according to NASA. The trend has already begun. Your roof may be dealing with more intense downpours in the future. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the total annual rainfall in the United States (and worldwide) has increased. The increase is greater in the United States at 0.17 inches per year than the global increase of 0.08 inches per year.
If you live in the Southwest, this might sound counter intuitive, but according to research, some areas of the United States, including the Southwest, will experience droughts instead of more precipitation. However, most other areas of the country will have to combat more intense rainfall, as more of their yearly precipitation will fall in a shorter time period. The result is less frequent storms that drop more water all at once.
More intense rainfall can make a small roof leak a larger problem than it would have been in years past. With more water falling in a shorter time, more water can get through your roof if there is a leak. It is especially important to be alert to the signs of even a small roof leak, so that you can fix it before major rainfall is expected.
Roofing manufacturers have roofing systems with accessories that can help minimize these risks. New synthetic underlayments are a good example. IKO’s Stormtite® is significantly more water-tight than traditional roofing felt and is intentionally designed to be non-breathable. It has superior weather resistance and will shed water that gets behind your shingles.
Wetter conditions also give rise to other roofing challenges. Manufacturers have created roofing products that better resist water intrusion. For example, IKO’s StormShield®, an ice and water protector, adds water proofing under the roof to help prevent water penetration even in the event of wind-driven rain.
Hurricanes and thunderstorms are not the only wind-driven threat to your roof. Tornadoes are also a problem in many areas of North America. While tornado alley (part of Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Iowa, South Dakota and Nebraska) is most at risk for tornadoes, this area is shifting east. Also, according to the Washington Post, some researchers warn that focusing on tornado alley may downplay the risk of tornadoes in other areas. Risk is still high in more southerly states. Homeowners south and east of tornado alley should be prepared to respond to tornadoes too.
This change in tornadoes may not be directly related to climate change. While some scientists point out that shifting and more severe tornadoes may be related to higher temperatures that cause more volatility in the atmosphere, the theory has yet to be proven.
Even if changing tornado risk does not have a direct connection to climate change, it is important to be aware of your tornado risk. Few things can protect your home from direct contact with a tornado. However, if your home is near an active tornado and in the storm, it will still experience high winds, and shingles made to withstand high wind conditions will perform better. Performance shingles have additional features to help keep your shingles on the roof even in high wind conditions. One such feature is IKO’s FastLock® sealant strip. When activated by the sun, these strips get extra tacky to adhere the shingles to the roof, resisting wind uplift and blow off.
Just as with thunderstorms, research suggests that some parts of North America will experience fewer hailstorms but larger hail when they do occur. Anthropogenic climate change is also likely to increase the risk of hailstorms outside of the hail belt. In the eastern and southeastern United States, researchers expect more hail frequency and more hail damage.
According to the Washington Post, authorities from Environment Canada and other researchers have yet to see this increase in hail across the board. However, there are many challenges to collecting strong data on hail size and frequency. What we do know is that hail-related insurance claims are rising.
If you are in an area with increased hail, your home may experience larger hail that is capable of more property damage than smaller hail. Your roof will bear the brunt of hail forces, but manufacturers have been focusing on this problem for some time. You can now get impact-resistant shingles that are better equipped to handle impacts in cold weather. These shingles may perform better in hail and can also save you money on home insurance. With premiums rising due to increased damages, hail-resistant shingles can be a worthy investment to help you save money. IKO offers NordicTM shingles that have achieved a Class 4 impact rating, the highest impact rating available.
This impact rating is solely for the purpose of enabling residential property owners to obtain a reduction in their residential insurance premium, if available. It is not to be construed as any type of express or implied warranty or guarantee of the impact performance against hail, of this shingle by the manufacturer, supplier or installer. Damage from hail is not covered under the limited warranty. For further details concerning the FM 4473 standards, visit the FM Approvals website.
Increasing temperatures are perhaps the most directly connected climate change to our release of greenhouse gases. Temperatures have been rising globally and in North America, according to the EPA. Canada is also experiencing faster warming, particularly in the arctic. Warmer temperatures can put more stress on asphalt roofing shingles. Not only are roofing shingles better designed to handle the stress of higher temperatures, but they are also designed to insulate your home from the heat better.
California is at the forefront of the battle against higher urban temperatures with its Title 24 requirements, including roofing requirements. IKO’s Cambridge® Cool ColorsTM collection can be used to meet California’s Title 24, Part 6 cool roof requirements. Installing shingles with an SRI of 20 or greater, including those in medium-toned color blends, can actually boost your roof’s reflectivity 25% more than the minimum called for in the standard. They will reflect away the heat from the sun, allowing less of it into your attic and making it easier to reduce your energy usage through air conditioning.
You may be surprised to learn that, through innovation, we can meet high roof reflectance requirements with darker hues. You don’t need to have a white or even a light-colored roof to meet California’s Title 24, Part 6 requirements.
There are other roofing-related challenges that warmer weather presents us. With higher temperatures drying out potential fuel sources, wildfires spread faster and have become more challenging to stop. The Western United States and Western Canada will feel this impact especially. Higher than average nighttime temperatures are also contributing to the spread of fires in these areas, as per NASA. While a cold night might have extinguished or at least weakened a fire, consistently warm nighttime temperatures feed fires.
Wildfires can be a threat to your home and your roof, as can fire on your neighbor’s property and fires within your own home. Shingles manufacturers have designed shingles that are less likely to feed fires and less likely to catch fire.
IKO’s performance shingles have a Class A fire-resistance rating, the highest rating measured. The test is designed and conducted by Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL) and involves subjecting shingles to flames to see how well they perform. Roofing materials are tested based on whether they are flammable and if they allow a fire to spread. Class A shingles are effective in severe fire test exposures. They are not readily flammable when a flame is applied to them, and they are very unlikely to contribute to the spread of flame.
Whether you’ll face bigger hail, larger wildfires, higher temperatures, or more serious hurricanes, your roof shingles can help offer the protection you need. Your trusted roofer can help you find the right performance shingles to address the specific concerns you have about your local climate and how it might change. Find a contractor through IKO’s Contractor Locator.
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