The FORTIFIED Roof program was created to provide a set of resilient construction standards for strengthening roofs against natural disasters.
When you think about a home, "having a roof over your head" is the most basic level of need. Yet this protection can be threatened by severe weather. When a roof fails, it can kick-start a cascade of damage to both a home's interior and its structure. In fact, according to IBHS, in most years roof-related damage is responsible for 70–90 percent of total insured residential catastrophic losses, depending on specific weather events. As startling as that statistic may be, it fails to capture the gravity of the human consequences and loss that results from roof failures—damaged homes and businesses disrupt daily life, break up families, derail careers, and destroy financial security. That's why it is critical for homeowners, business owners and communities to protect roofs from the effects of severe weather.
FORTIFIED is a voluntary construction and re-roofing program designed to strengthen against specific types of severe weather such as high winds, hail, hurricanes and even tornados.
Roof damage often begins when wind gets underneath the roof edge and rips it away from the home. To help protect this vulnerable area, FORTIFIED requires specific materials and installation methods, including a wider drip edge and a fully adhered starter strip, that when used together create a stronger system.
If wind rips off roof covering―such as shingles, metal panels, or tiles―it exposes the wood beneath and allows water to pass through the gaps and enter the home. FORTIFIED requires roof decks to be sealed to prevent this type of water damage. In fact, a sealed roof deck can reduce potential water intrusion by more than 95 percent compared to a standard roof, dramatically lowering the possibility a homeowner will be forced from their home for an extended period of time, even if the roof covering is damaged.
Instead of common smooth nails, FORTIFIED requires ring-shank nails, installed in an enhanced pattern, to help keep the roof deck attached to the home in high winds. In fact, using ring-shank nails nearly doubles the strength of the roof against the forces of winds.
Through experimental testing, field research, and analytics, IBHS identifies the root causes of storm damage and where mitigation strategies can have a real-world impact. Post-catastrophe investigations help the Institute identify vulnerabilities that offer the greatest potential to reduce avoidable suffering. IBHS then recreates the destructive capability of Mother Nature at its state-of-the-art Research Center and tests various construction components, techniques and systems. Mimicking what happens in the real world helps researchers understand the sequence of events that leads to damage and where the critical construction vulnerabilities lie. Additional testing proves the effectiveness of various construction upgrades and best-practices, and the results help people understand how to cost-effectively prevent or reduce damage. The FORTIFIED standards are a compilation of dozens of upgrades that work in tandem to protect homes from the effects of severe weather.