Several Australian regions have faced the brunt of cyclones that cause massive destruction to built structures. From Cyclone Tracey in 1974 to the more recent Larry and Yasi that hit the Queensland north coast, extreme weather events – many caused by climate change – have hit Australia, highlighting the importance of protecting your home against damage.

Windstorms cause the most damage to houses in Australia with some of the strongest of these winds classified as cyclones. Building roofs are subject to the most severe uplift forces, with many homes losing their roofs during a cyclonic event.

However, it is possible to keep your roof and home safe from destruction even during the fiercest of storms.

Positioning the house

The position of a home is an important factor when it comes to the impact of wind on the structure. Houses located near the coastline or higher on the rise or ridgeline of a hill will generally have more wind exposure. Also, surrounding structures – both natural and man-made – can have an impact on wind exposure. When positioning the house, it’s also important to consider risks such as large overhanging trees that could potentially cause secondary damage resulting from strong winds.

Roof design

Roof shape is a critical factor in determining the impact of wind forces on your roof. Typically, a roof angled on all four sides offers excellent resistance to the force of cyclonic winds. Doors, including garage doors, also need to be secure to stop wind from getting underneath your roof and lifting it up. Double bolted doors, shatterproof windows and cyclone rated garage doors will all prevent the upward force of wind gusts impacting your roof.

Roof material and fixing system

The survival of your roof in a cyclonic storm also depends on the choice of materials and fixing systems. Roofs fixed by nails will simply rip out during strong winds. What you need is a secure fixing system to attach the tiles or sheeting to your roof battens, including clips or screws for the tiles and battens that connect them to roof trusses. Trusses should be attached to the walls with straps or bolts.

Ongoing maintenance

A well-designed roof will deliver the expected performance as long as it’s maintained well. A house may have been built with cyclone rating features, but regular maintenance will ensure it remains resistant to wind forces. A regular maintenance program will include checking fixings, rotten or rusted structural materials, and unsecure doors and windows. Yard maintenance around the home encompassing trees, fences and water tanks is also required as these can become missiles during a storm.

While no home can be considered fully safe from cyclones, you can still ensure safety and protection by giving due consideration to factors such as house positioning, roof design, material selection and timely maintenance, resulting in a sound building structure.

Tractile Premium Roofing offers a Category 5 rated roofing solution featuring a unique hook and batten fixing system that secures each tile to the roof. The roof has been tested to handle cyclonic winds up to 280kph. The roof tiles are made of fibreglass resin composite that offers superior impact resistance when compared to concrete tiles or metal roofing. It is lightweight and easy to install, and can be integrated with Tractile solar tiles to generate solar energy and hot water without the need for solar panels.