UF researchers identify ways to prevent shingle blow-off in hurricanes

In News, Research & Innovation by Jen Ambrose

Four Gator Engineering researchers have identified a weakness in asphalt roof shingles, and have recommended that homeowners and roofing professionals check for shingle adhesion, especially around the edges of each shingle, and hand-seal loose edges as needed to manufacturer or industry specifications.

Professional Roofing, a national trade publication for the roofing industry, featured the research related to this recommendation on its cover last month. “Lessons Learned” documents the weaknesses recently identified that can lead to serious roof damage in hurricanes or wind-related events.

For the past three years, a partnership between UF’s Engineering School of Sustainable Infrastructure and Environment (ESSIE) and a broad group of industry and government stakeholders formed to question shingle roof damage during wind events. Among them were David Prevatt, Kurtis Gurley and Forrest Masters, who are all associate professors in ESSIE, and Craig Dixon, who earned his Ph.D. from UF in 2013, and is now a forensic structural engineer at SBSA, a construction consulting company based in Colorado.

During the research, shingles were artificially aged and then tested for uplift capacity using full-scale, hurricane-strength wind tunnels. They found that beyond the first four years after installation, asphalt shingles had a tendency to become partially unsealed, particularly around the exposed corners. Natural weathering – or cyclical temperature change – is likely the cause.

Research will continue at UF this summer where – along with industry partners – ESSIE faculty hope to develop improved roofing products.

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