As Hurricane Season Approaches, Homeowners Take Another Look at Wind-Resistant Metal Shingles

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As hurricane season approaches, the wind resistance of metal roofing systems becomes even more important to homeowners.

As the Southeastern United States prepares for another hurricane season, many homeowners are casting worried glances upward – at their roofs. The lessons of the record-breaking 2004 hurricane season are still fresh in many minds, and among the most important of these lessons is the importance of a home’s roof system.

Manufacturers and advocates of metal shingle roofing systems have long contended their wind-resistance is among their most valuable features – a contention that was demonstrated in dramatic fashion as parts of Florida and the Southeast sustained hits by as many as four hurricanes last year.

“Obviously, every roof system has its limits, but homes and businesses with new metal shingles were among the most successful in resisting the uplift forces of hurricane-force winds during the 2004 season,” said Tony Chiovare, president of Custom-Bilt Metals, a long-time leader in the metal roofing industry. “As the new hurricane season approaches, the lessons of last year are still fresh in everyone’s minds.”

The 2005 Atlantic hurricane season officially begins on June 1 and ends November 30. Historically, August and September have been the most active months for hurricane activity. In August 2004, a total of eight Atlantic cyclones reached tropical storm strength or greater – twice the normal number for the month and breaking the previous record. In September, five more named storms were formed. The most damaging storms were Hurricanes Charley, Frances, Ivan and Jeanne, but other tropical storms contributed to the record-breaking season.

“As the Southeast gets ready for another hurricane season, the wind resistance of metal roofing systems becomes even more important to homeowners,” Chiovare said, noting that maintaining the integrity of the roof system is essential to a building’s ability to survive a major windstorm.

“Once the roof begins to fail, the air pressure within the building can increase dramatically, causing windows, doors and walls to fail as well,” he said. Chiovare added that today’s metal roof products, including metal shingles, are among the most wind resistant roofing systems ever designed.

“Metal shingles achieve their superior wind resistance thanks to their interlocking panel design,” Chiovare explained.

In such systems, the metal roofing panels lock together securely on all four sides. One example is the Vail Titan Select Shingle system, which Custom-Bilt manufactures and markets under a license agreement with Vail Metals Systems.

“Metal shingles such as the Vail Titan Select have been tested and shown to resist hurricane-force winds,” Chiovare said.

In addition to their wind resistance, metal roofing systems also offer other benefits. Most are Class A fire resistant, as well as lightweight and energy efficient. The newest Vail metal roofs can even help lower homeowners’ energy costs by reducing the load on the home’s air conditioner, thanks to new ULTRA-Cool™ coatings that help reflect solar energy away from the roof rather than absorbing it.

Chiovare notes that metal roofing systems have evolved dramatically in recent years, allowing homeowners and businesses to choose a lightweight, wind- and fire-resistant metal roof without having to sacrifice aesthetic considerations. For example, the Vail shingle system is available in a true copper finish that weathers beautifully, as well as a Kynar 500 finish in a wide variety of colors, all of which resist fading and corrosion.

Other metal shingle systems, such as Custom-Bilt’s Country Manor aluminum shakes offer the warm, rich look of wood shakes. Custom-Bilt also manufactures a line of stone-coated tile and shake panels using an innovative technique to coat the panels with real rock that is colored with a permanent, non-fading ceramic-pigment dye. The result is a lightweight, wind-resistant roof that faithfully replicates the look of traditional Spanish tile, slate or other traditional roofing materials.

“Regardless of the architectural style of the home, there is a metal roofing system that complements it perfectly,” Chiovare said.

Custom-Bilt Metals has been a leading supplier in the painted metal industry since 1974, and currently stocks more than 2,000 different items in its 15 national branch locations. For more information on Custom-Bilt Metals or metal roofing systems in general, contact Tony Chiovare, president, at 1-800-826-7813, or visit the company’s Web site at


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Charles Cibella
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