A mighty wind

New roof systems on East Coast condominiums are tested by Hurricane Isabel

In late summer 2003, work seemed to be going smoothly on the roof systems of Pine Cone Harbor Condominiums, Hampton, Va. Seven of 10 buildings had been reroofed, and the crew was continuing to work efficiently. But the true test of its work was soon to come.

Hurricane Isabel slammed the East Coast in September 2003, leaving a wake of damaged buildings, including the three condominium buildings that had not yet been reroofed. The roof systems on those three buildings lost half their shingles, and one of the finished buildings lost its chimney.

"What is interesting is the only thing that kept the entire chimney from falling to the ground was our step flashing," says Jim Hicks, general manager of NRCA member The Roofing Co. Inc., Yorktown, Va., the roofing contractor for the condominium project. "The chimney was a wooden chimney with vinyl siding on it that completely blew off, so you could look right down into the building. It was hanging by several pieces of step flashing; it would have fallen three stories onto the cars below."

To the elation of the roofing crew, property management company and condominium owners, the seven roof systems on the reroofed buildings remained intact.