Hurricane Ian ravaged Florida and the rest of the Southern U.S. on September 28th. Many lost their lives, and thousands who were displaced returned to devastated homes and communities. Sadly, many lost their lives as well.
Here in northern Wisconsin, we were not much impacted by this storm as it moved through the southern and northeastern states.
Ian caused billions of dollars of property damage, worsening our tenuous housing climate. Now, many confront a lack of affordable housing, a need for better-built houses, and a volatile insurance market. Even as recovery continues, we must band together and prepare for future disasters.
In struggles to find affordable housing, losing even dozens of homes is a crippling blow to housing markets. A recent article mentions an incredible “deficit of 500,000 homes” in Florida alone. Unfortunately, this lack of affordable housing permeates the entire country.
Florida is known for strict building codes, with standards more rigorous than most of the country. After Ian, the New York Times interviewed a civil engineering professor for his view on home performance relative to code. They found that while homes built under newer codes typically perform better, those built under old guidelines suffer. As our understanding of building science expands, updated codes create safer, more structurally-sound buildings. Codes are the minimum, so contractors recommend going above and beyond in high-risk areas.
To top it off, homeowners must also deal with the headache of insurance. According to an NPR interview, Florida suffers from a uniquely challenging insurance environment. Of course, the proximity to the coast complicates things, but Florida homeowners “are paying the highest average premium in the U.S. right now, almost triple the U.S. average.” This absurdity is further complicated by “rampant roof replacement claim schemes,” where contractors convince homeowners to replace a perfectly good roof.
Roofing is a vital part of a home’s resistance to high winds and other storm damage, making it a good target for con artists. People are legitimately concerned about a strong roof, and they should be.
“Everyone wants a highly wind-resistant roof system. But there are diminishing returns on older or poorly built homes. What sense does it make to have a roof system that can withstand 200 mph winds when the structure underneath will shift under 110 mph winds?”
– Todd Miller, Roofing Expert
Building codes need an update, and older homes need renovation to keep up. Extreme weather will continue and likely worsen. This disaster is a chance to rebuild homes with better practices for underserved demographics. We must continue to improve building codes, create revolutionary solutions for new, resilient homes, and focus on better housing for everyone.
Learn more about how an American Metal Roof can help make your home and the homes of others more resilient with a phone call or email. We’re here to help make things better for the future of northern Wisconsin and Michigan’s UP homeowners.