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Z6 workers conducting an uplift roof test

The Importance Of Roof Uplift Testing

11/17/2021, by Lidija, in Project Spotlight, 0 comments

A properly designed and installed commercial roof provides durability and protection against just about any type of weather situation. However, unlike a building’s interior components, roofs are susceptible to severe weathering, foot traffic, expansion, contraction and abuse, which can result in accelerated roof system degradation. Commercial property in Texas is specifically susceptible to further degradation due its exposure to both hurricanes and tornadoes.

Why Is Wind Uplift Testing Needed?

The importance of roof uplift testing 1Meteorologists predict a sharp increase in severe storms in the coming years. In fact, according to the Insurance Information Institute, in a typical year the US will be hit with 12 named storms, 9 hurricanes and 3 major hurricanes. Since 1851, over 300 hurricanes have made landfall in the United States, affecting 19 states. Guess which state was #2. An award we certainly would not mind losing, Texas is ranked second for the most hurricanes in America. 64 hurricanes or 21% of all hurricanes made landfall in the US. We also are especially susceptible since the state has also recorded more tornadoes than in any other state.

The problem is that several research studies focusing on post-hurricane damage verified that one of the biggest contributors to monetary loss overall was roof failure due to strong winds. For roofs undergoing construction, it is of paramount importance the roof is monitored during the installation period. For existing roofs, it’s important to realize that just because your last roof was sound doesn’t mean your current one will be.

Why do roofs fail?

Roofs typically fail uplift testing one of three ways:

  1. Exceeding the allowable deflection,
  2. A sudden ballooning of the cover, or
  3. Roof fastener failure with mechanically attached system

To assure a roof system performs as it should and meets warranty compliance, we use a technique called roof membrane uplift resistance testing. The test has the objective of identifying installation and design deficiencies that can lead to premature degradation, catastrophic building damage, or might pose a danger to occupant safety.

Applying roof uplift testing, following the proper testing standards, allows us to determine the expected life expectancy of your roof, ensure comfort in knowing your asset will handle the design wind load, meets insurance requirements, and meets the manufacturer’s warranty requirements.

Roof uplift resistance is one of the most important measurements of a commercial building. Let’s look at it in a little more detail and discuss when it is needed and what standards we use to assure performance.

How is the testing performed?

The goal of roof uplift testing is to measure the upward force (caused by wind) your building’s roof is capable of withstanding. While several protocols are used, the test method applies to those with or without rigid board insulation or base ply, which are either adhered or mechanically fastened, and fully adhered membranes.

Z6 can perform and record roof uplift tests in accordance with FM Loss Prevention Data Sheet 1-52 (FM 1-52) and/or ASTM E907 to provide a detailed accredited report of test results, including the digital read-out of continuous pressure during testing.

Essentially, when we test your roof, we place the open end of a large cup-shaped rig against your roof. It’s designed to remove atmospheric pressure and create a suction effect, very similar to a storm. An uplift rating is then applied based on the level of suction the roof was capable of resisting.

The rating that your building’s roof receives will let you know whether or not your roofing system meets all the safety requirements in your local area. See the sample process below:

The importance of roof uplift testing 2

The Z6 Difference

We carry out client testing and projects to the highest professional standard and are one of the few companies in Texas accredited in both the FM Global 1-52 and ASTM E907 standard. You can view our Scope of Accreditation here.

We also developed a custom-designed testing mechanism that eliminates many of the problems and shortcomings found in traditional methodologies. Contact us to schedule an uplift test on your new or replacement roof projects.