Choosing siding and roofing for storm protection

As we enter Severe Weather Season, you may wonder what improvements you can make to your home to help it weather the storms better.

Experts say now is a good time to think about how renovations can protect your home.

Things like having new roofing or siding installed on your home can be an expensive investment.

We talked with John Rhoden, who owns Rhoden Roofing in Wichita. He says it's important to do your research and find the right contractor.

Some things you want to ask?

"Are they licensed? Are they insured?" Rhoden said. "And not only are they insured, but are they over-insured and not under-insured so that if something does happen, they have enough insurance."

Rhoden says the way a roof is installed is just as important as the material you chose. He says some contractors only use four or five nails per shingle.

"To get an enhanced wind warranty from the manufacturer up to 130 miles per hour, we just standardly six nail everything and then our customers have a little more coverage when it comes to wind blow offs, so they're not in their yards picking up shingles every time there's a wind storm," Rhoden said.

As for shingles, Rhoden says you should look at the Class Rating of the materials.

"A Class Four shingle means it's hail impact resistant and it's gone through the underwriter's lab testing where they do a certain test," Rhoden said. "They drop a steel ball bearing off a certain height and it impacts the shingle and if it doesn't break the mat, it passes the test."

He says shingles with Class Four ratings are more expensive, but most insurance companies provide a discount on your annual premium if you make that investment.

"If you get baseball-sized hail, it doesn't matter. Your roof is going to get damaged," Rhoden said. "But where a Class Four roof comes into play, you're getting golf ball-sized hail and a lot of times you won't have to replace your roof if you get golf ball-sized hail."

When it comes to siding, Rhoden says there isn't a test to determine a class rating, but the materials you use still matter.

"Probably the most susceptible product out there to hail are the vinyl products," Rhoden said. "The vinyl products usually hang off the wall a little bit so there's a void back there and a hail impact can hit and go through it that way."

He suggests looking for something that can stand up to fire, hail and wind as best as possible. He says siding made out of durable plastics, engineered wood or fiber-cement are all good options.

Rhoden says no matter what materials you choose, you should try to pick something that will create value for your home. That can help, especially if you plan on selling soon.

If you don't, you could be creating a liability for yourself or future owners.