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Building a FORTIFIED Roof™

If you live in an area that experiences severe storms, there's one word to remember: FORTIFIED.

Storms are inevitable, but home damage doesn't have to be. FORTIFIED Home™ is a program from the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) that aims to protect and strengthen homes against severe weather. Under the FORTIFIED construction method, contractors go beyond standard building codes to build homes that can withstand torrential downpours and high winds, reducing the risk of property damage and financial loss and giving homeowners invaluable peace of mind.

How do they do it? IBHS devoted years to studying storm damage and testing methods to make homes more resilient. Now they partner with builders to give them the best solutions to strengthen homes. FORTIFIED Home™ offers three levels of protection FORTIFIED Roof™, FORTIFIED Silver™, and FORTIFIED Gold™. FORTIFIED Roof emphasizes keeping the roof on and water out. FORTIFIED Silver factors in the safety of windows, doors, chimneys, and other structures. Finally, FORTIFIED Gold ties the entire home together from foundation to roof. As it's the first line of defense against severe weather and a popular level of protection for new construction and re-roofing projects, boasting 50,000 and counting, let's cover what makes a FORTIFIED Roof.

A FORTIFIED Roof™ prevents damage from high winds, hurricanes, hailstorms, severe thunderstorms, and tornadoes. They achieve this by following a list of requirements, which includes building stronger edges, sealing the roof deck, prioritizing better attachment, and using impact-resistant shingles where necessary.

As a builder or roofing contractor, following these requirements takes research and using best-practice products to build to FORTIFIED construction methods. A good starting point is looking at the evaluator checklist to see what products are necessary for a FORTIFIED designation.

Popular required products are minimum 8D ring shank nails to secure the roof deck, flashing tape to seal out water on the deck, synthetic underlayment, seal tape, and cap nails, like STINGER® NailPac®, which is FORTIFIED-approved to install roofing underlayment. The NailPac (1" plastic collated caps and 1" x .083 stainless steel or electro-galvanized ring shank nails) seals out moisture and provides superior holding power in up to 150 mph hurricane-force winds with gusts up to 180 mph.

Where it can, the FORTIFIED construction method incorporates tools that make a builder's job easier while also better protecting homes. For instance, besides the obvious benefit of NailPac keeping water out of a home, it also eliminates the hassle of hand-driving cap nails. Roofers can quickly deliver stronger roofs for homeowners using the STINGER CN100B Cap Nailer with NailPac, which makes securing underlayment easy.

After building a FORTIFIED Roof an evaluator will come to check the build and give the roof its FORTIFIED designation.

Now that you know about a FORTIFIED Roof, how can you help more homes withstand the elements? As a builder, you can boost your reputation, gain a leg up on the competition, and build better, more resilient homes for your customers by becoming a FORTIFIED Builder. If you are a roofing supplier or distributor, always stock FORTIFIED-approved products, so your customers have the necessary tools and materials. Finally, as a homeowner, you've already taken a great step in doing your homework. Now you can find a FORTIFIED Builder you can trust to secure your roof and help you rest assured when the next storm rolls through.