Patching techniques

Over the past few weeks we have look at how high winds can impact certain types of roofs, and what action can be taken to protect the home and its contents when there has been damage, but the roof remains largely in tact.

Given the high volume of rooms in Barbados that are covered by metal sheets (galvanised) today we will pay attention to some patching techniques in this area.

But first, keep in mind that leaks from roofs can be tricky to find because where the leak shows up may be quite distant from the source. There are several reasons for this. One is the water may wander sideways across a roof before it goes down the roof. As it goes down the roof it has to find a way to get through the sheathing.

Once it gets under the sheathing it may trickle down the bottom side of the sheathing until if finally drops off an edge or it may run down the edge of a rafter or truss member. Then it may travel on ceilings until it finds a place to collect and begin to show up from the inside.

Usually the first place one sees evidence of water on a ceiling is at the crack created when sheets come together. Roofs with a close-boarding design will display similar challenges.

Metal Roofs:

Experience has shown that new metal roofs properly installed tend to survive high winds quite well. Occasionally corners and ends might get picked up and twisted by wind, however they usually stay on roofs.

If they become loose from the roof in an area that is important, you may be able to reform them back into position well enough to protect the building. Tarps may be the best way to protect against rain.

However, sharp metal corners are apt to cut holes into tarps. A few screws or ropes may be necessary to hold tarps in place and some foam and duct tape may be needed to protect the tarp from sharp edges.

Be very careful though because metal roofing has sharp edges that can easily cut your hands. The use of leather gloves is recommended.

Older metal roofs may well not be attached as well as new roofs. Real old metal roofs may be very poorly attached or the wood they are attached to may have rotted because of leaks or termites. Consequently, it is particularly important to be careful if you attempt to walk on an older metal roof.

Temporary repairs to holes in metal roofs can be made using metal flashing that is glued down with flashing cement, by one of the self adhesive patching tapes, or by aluminum faced duct tape.

Here’s a final piece of advice once you have stopped the leaks.

Drying Out Your House

Once a hurricane starts there is little you can do to protect your house except to deal with intruded water. You and your family’s safety are the most important issues. The most important consideration is to stay away from the windward side of the house so that you and your family members are as farther away from debris that could penetrate a wall or even shutters.

Bear in mind that unless your house is well away from a hurricane it will experience strong winds and rains from different directions so different sides may be the windward side at different times during the storm.

Though you may be tempted to mop up intruding water coming through windows or doors, DO NOT do this during intense winds. It is simply too dangerous to be in windward rooms. Wait until the wind slows down.

Mopping up water that intrudes in large quantities cannot be done with an ordinary supply of towels. If you have a wet-dry vacuum and still have electricity that can be a good way to pick up a lot of water in a short time. A broom and dust pan is a pretty good fall back method. Having a bucket nearby to dump the water from the dust pan can save time and prevent running back and forth to the bathroom or a sink.

Try to open your house up by opening the doors and windows and letting any breezes help to ventilate your house. Unfortunately, this may be of limited value because hurricanes are frequently followed by high pressure with hot humid weather so there may not be that much evaporation potential. If you have wet carpet and no way to dry it out quickly, get it out of the house to prevent serious mold growth.

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