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Are your rooftops ready for winter’s worst?

The rising threat of catastrophic weather events has made it more important than ever to use materials that add strength and resiliency to your roofing systems. Severe storms in the United States have been increasing in frequency since the 1980s. The cost of these major disasters is high; they account for billions of dollars in damage each year. In 2022 alone, 11 severe storm events resulted in losses exceeding $1 billion each (CPI-Adjusted).*

The consequences are especially troubling where building codes are insufficient for reducing damage. Make sure your roof system is ready for extreme weather by considering all potential hazards, not just those specified in the building code. Hazards that may threaten commercial low-slope roofs during severe storms include wind uplift, impact from flying debris, lightning strikes and extreme hail.

Wind uplift

When heavy winds move over and around a building, it creates low pressure above the roof. Wind uplift can cause membrane delamination and fastener withdrawal. You can help avoid this and mitigate damage by incorporating materials in your roofing assembly that provide a rigid base of support, a superior bonding surface and enhanced flexural strength.

Flying debris

Severe weather carrying debris can impact your rooftops and cause puncture damage. While small punctures may not look too bad, they can lead to serious problems over time. For your rooftops to resist punctures, they need enhanced compressive strength—the amount of force that a material can withstand before it cracks or breaks. Higher compressive strength can also help support static equipment and protect your roof from heavy foot traffic or dropped tools.

Lightning strikes

While non-combustible roofing materials can’t protect your entire building from lightning strikes, they are more fire resistant. Fire from nearby buildings can spread easily—all it takes is one burning ember and the right conditions. Using a cover board with a gypsum core and fiberglass mat facers can help to slow the spread of flames and smoke in the event of a rooftop fire.


Hail can cause excessive damage to commercial buildings, as well as cars and homes. It can even be deadly to unprotected livestock and people. FM Global, a world-leading property insurance company that specializes in loss prevention and risk management, categorizes hail severity according to size. Moderate hail is 1.75 inches in diameter or smaller, with severe hail growing up to 2 inches. Very Severe Hail (VSH) starts at 2 inches, but may exceed 4 inches in diameter, and can cause significant damage to entire neighborhoods. Roofs that can handle the impact of hail need a tough cover board to absorb it.

Resilient roofing materials

Because not all class A roofing assemblies are equal, resilient roofs start with the right materials. Georgia-Pacific offers you three gypsum cover board solutions based on design intent. They’re all non-combustible, resist punctures and provide a rigid substrate to handle future rooftop enhancements. Building on the legacy of DensDeck® Roof Board, DensDeck® Prime Roof Board offers enhanced moisture resistance and DensDeck® StormX™ Prime Roof Board stands strong against VSH and wind uplift. Find out more about DensDeck Roof Boards and the high price of storm damage in the eBook: Design for Extreme Weather.