Fountain, Bruce & Mellencamp, P.L.L.C.’s Second Annual Seminar on Hurricane & Storm Claims~Sponsored by The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce August 15, 2013

As previously announced, the Woodlands Law Firm of Fountain, Bruce & Mellencamp, P.L.L.C is to present a seminar to homeowners and business owners at and sponsored by the Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce on August 15, 2013.  One of the subjects during the seminar will be the inevitable exposure to roofing systems to elevated winds whether it be from a hurricane, tropical storm, hailstorm, or other weather related phenomenon.  This subject is especially important to members of the community due to the existence of, in some insurance policies, exclusions for damages caused by construction defects, or by prior wear and tear.  For example, many insurers take the position that water intrusion and subsequent damages which are caused by defectively adhered shingles or which failed to initially adhere due to faulty installation is not covered by the insurance policy.  Whether or not a particular insurance policy covers this type of damage is much too broad of a discussion for the seminar; accordingly, the effort will be to educate the community in order to avoid this from happening.

When a roof is installed, our experience has shown that the roofer appropriately allows the natural heating occurring during the hot summer months to adhere the shingles.  This adhering process is vitally important to the success of a roofing system in shedding water and to resist the ability of high winds to lift the shingles.  Then too, questions can arise as to whether or not the aging process has caused the shingles to become partially unadhered and therefore, less able resist a high wind.

Recently, in June 2013, a report was published by the Southeast Region Research Initiative (SERRI), which is managed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. This report “presents the results of a two-year study on the wind resistance of asphalt shingle roofs. The intention is to bridge the knowledge gap between expected performance based on existing standardized wind resistance test protocols and the actual in-service performance of new and aged asphalt shingle roofs.”  This report was based on a study of 27 Florida homes. ”  The prevalence and spatial patterns of unsealed shingles on existing homes were investigated in his study. An inspection of every shingle on 27 Florida homes revealed systemic patterns of partially unsealed asphalt shingles. It was observed that the percentage of shingles that were unsealed was correlated to the age of the roof, with fewer occurrences of unsealed sealant strips on newer roofs and more on older roofs. The percentage of shingles with unsealed sealant strips was as high as 79% in old roofing systems. The observed spatial patterns of unsealed shingles in many cases were similar to patterns of blown off shingles reported in post-hurricane reports. This suggests a strong correlation between the patterns of unsealed shingles and the shingle damage that occurs in high winds. The observed unseal patterns on the 27 inspected homes were not random, but rather the likely result of a systemic issue related to long term weather exposure and the resultant differential shear stresses on the sealant strips.”

Another portion of the research was dedicated to evaluation of other aspects of roofing systems.  One of the recommendations from the report was as follows:

“Partially unsealed field shingle patterns were observed in roof surveys…and correlate to blow off patterns observed in post-hurricane reports. This indicates that partially unsealed shingles existing on the roof before a wind event may be responsible for in-storm blow off of shingles in the field of the roof. Given the relationship of the roof’s age to the quantity of partial unsealed shingles, natural weathering is the most likely source of partial unsealing.

Future work should:

a. Define the precise mechanism(s) causing partial unsealing
b. Apply the knowledge gained from (a) to improve the long-term adhesion
performance of new shingle products
c. Quantify the extent of this issue on existing roofs in other US climates
d. Develop durable and reliable retrofit solutions to reseal partially unsealed
shingles on existing roofs.”

We look forward to the seminar and in discussing these and many more related issues in detail with our neighbors!

Fountain, Bruce & Mellencamp PLLC is an AV Preeminent rated law firm located in The Woodlands, Texas.  The Firm handles insurance coverage and insurance litigation matters and is proud to have represented insurers in many areas, including homeowners, auto (including specialized representation for non-standard auto insurance carriers), trucking, commercial general liability and aviation insurance.  For more information see our WebSite at or call (281) 296-6500.

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