For those of us in the greater Houston and Galveston areas, we would all like to think it will be another 25 years (Hurricane Alicia struck in 1983) or more before our buildings are put to the ultimate test again. But, as the saying goes, “hope for the best but plan for the worst.” With this motto in mind we thought it would be beneficial to share our recent experiences from Hurricane Ike with our clients, the design community and our friends.

Of course, these are only the most prominent types of damage we have witnessed since Ike came ashore and our view as to the possible root cause of the damage on buildings throughout the Houston/Galveston area. It would take volumes to cover the many variations of roofing and waterproofing challenges a storm like this can cause. Our observations are meant in no way to be the final judgment or analysis of the cause of the problems and are in no way pointed toward any particular project or design. We are simply using our many years of practical on-the-job experience installing roofing and sheet metal products to provide insight into probable causes for roof membrane, metal panel and/or the integral sheet metal flashing or coping failures during the height of the storm.

We observed other damages to roofing and sheet metal systems not shown here, but the damage from these other causes was not as widespread as the types of damage depicted below. Interestingly enough, although we have seen a number of roofs blown off, the roof membranes themselves, in general, did a fairly good job of weathering the storm. The below mentioned representations of failures and damages are not meant to be comprehensive in nature. Some may have experienced problems with roofing and sheet metal systems that have not been covered in this brief report.
A.  Failure of wood nailer and sheet metal attachment at perimeter      


B.  Damage to roof membrane from adjacent clay/concrete tile roofs           

Damage to roof membrane due to inadequate attachment of rooftop equipment and fan vents
D.  Damage to roof caused by broken lightning rod attachment system
E.  Damage to gutter, downspout and collector heads due to inadequate attachment

We are interested in learning more ourselves. Please share your thoughts with us and others who visit our site by adding comments below. You may even share photos of other commercial roofing damage that you have come across by emailing them to for uploading onto this page. It is important that we all learn the lessons given to us by Hurricane Ike, both good and bad, because those who fail to learn from the past are doomed to repeat it again!