According to the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the frequency and intensity of severe seasonal storms are on the rise. The resulting stress on roof assemblies and risk of leaks are top of mind for the insurance industry, builders and homeowners alike.

In preparation for hurricane season, which normally spans June to November in North America, the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS) conducted a hurricane-force, wind-driven rain demonstration using Huber Engineered Woods (HEW) products. Specifically, the experiment tested the wind and water resistance of a roof built with ZIP System® roof sheathing.

In the demonstration, a series of fans generated peak wind speeds of 105 miles (169 kilometers) per hour and a rainfall rate of eight inches (20.3 centimeters) per hour were released onto a single-story house outfitted with a ZIP System® Roof Assembly. The wall of fans was programmed to provide gusts of wind to replicate wind trace data collected during Hurricane Florence, which brought record-breaking rainfall to many areas of the East Coast in September 2018.

The sealed roof deck built with ZIP System® sheathing and tape faced over 2,000 gallons (7,570 liters) of rain, equating to about four inches (10.2 centimeters) during the 30-minute demo. Despite the deluge of water and fierce wind, the house remained standing and dry inside.

How does it work?

The combination of an integrated water-resistant barrier on a high-strength engineered wood panel and taped panel seams not only eliminates the need for a sheet-applied underlayment, but creates a dependable, water resisting deck that can protect a roof from damaging water intrusion in the event high winds blow off roof coverings.

The panels can also help a home or commercial building meet high-wind zone resiliency guidelines.

As demonstrated by IBHS, a ZIP System Roof Assembly can withstand high wind and wind-driven rain, resulting in a well-protected interior. The test and others like it help IBHS determine which building products meet its FORTIFIED Home™ standards. These guidelines help homeowners strengthen their home against severe weather. HEW’s ZIP System Roof Assembly meets the sealed roof deck requirements for a FORTIFIED roof.

While HEW’s roofing products held up admirably against IBHS’s simulated storm, their performance was the result of years of development. One of the advantages of ZIP System roof sheathing when it was first introduced in 2004 was its durability compared to conventional roofing underlayments and home wraps used to cover traditional sheathing, a two-step process that is often done incorrectly. HEW’s Marketing team has conducted several marketing campaigns underscoring ZIP System products’ performance in inclement weather. The business is also a sponsor and partner of the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH®) a non-profit that advocates for strengthening homes and safeguarding families from natural and man-made disasters in the US.

Every year, storms endanger people and cause hundreds of millions—sometimes billions—of dollars in damage to homes. Huber endeavors to better protect people and reduce the severity of damage through changing the way homes are built.