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Let FM Approvals Guide Your Roof Purchasing Process


School roofs are hammered by seasonal hail, rain, heavy winds, extreme temperatures, and even snow in some parts of Texas. Roofs that are not designed to stand up to the punishment often fail too soon. The fallout could mean millions in unexpected repair or replacement costs.

If you want to get the most life from your roof investments, let FM Approvals guide your purchasing decisions.

FM Approvals at a Glance

FM Approvals is a leading third-party, global testing laboratory and certification agency of property loss prevention products and services. They’re not the only reputable testing and certification agency. Underwriting Laboratories and the National Institute of Science & Technology also offer expertise that consumers rely on.

TASB staff often references FM Approvals because of its focus on property loss prevention and its commitment to testing weathered and new, roofing materials.

3 Tips for Leveraging FM Approvals’ Resources

Much of the content on FM Approvals’ website is tailored to roof manufacturers and contractors. You can still put the information to work for your schools if you follow these three tips.

1.Learn the Language

These basic terms will give you a foundation for making informed decisions about your roofs:

  • Deck: The surface a roof is applied to
  • Roof assembly: A system of interacting roof components, including the roof deck, designed to weatherproof and insulate a building's top surface
  • Roof system: A system of interacting roof components, not including the roof deck, designed to weatherproof and insulate a building's top surface
  • Wind uplift: The force generated by wind on a roof system or components in a roof system, resulting from wind-induced pressure

2. Leverage RoofNav

In FM Approvals’ laboratories, scientists set roofing materials on fire, replicate hurricane-force winds, fast-forward the weathering process, and fire two-inch ice balls from an air cannon at roof samples. Products that pass the test earn the FM Approved stamp.

If a contractor tells you a roof assembly or roof components are FM Approved, don’t take their word for it. Verify the information in RoofNav, a searchable database of FM Approved products.

3. Get Familiar with the Standards

FM Approvals’ roof standards are a good resource for buyers interested in the science behind FM ratings. FM 4470 and 4473 address hail resistance. That’s important in Texas, which consistently leads the country when it comes to the number of hail events.

Other standards you should get familiar with include FM 4435 and 4431, which address wind uplift and skylights’ resilience to the elements.

Preparing for Your Property Renewal?

The increasing frequency and severity of hurricanes, tornadoes, hail, and other severe weather are contributing to a difficult property coverage market. Some providers are leaving the market and prices are increasing. So are deductibles, especially for wind, hurricanes, and hail.

Follow these tips to prepare for your next coverage renewal:

  • Talk to your provider early and help them understand your risk management processes. For example, your underwriter needs to know if you follow a roof preventative maintenance as well as how your track your property values and ensure they’re accurate.
  • Explore whether you can cut your rates by choosing a higher deductible.
  • Review your property schedule and estimate cost increases related to increases in replacement costs for your property locations.

Invest in Preventative Maintenance

Facility roofs are huge investments. Don’t count on warranties to protect them.  Purchasing a quality, weather-ready product and conducting preventative maintenance  are powerful strategies for extending your roofs’ lifecycles.

Risk Solutions Staff

The TASB risk solutions team includes risk solutions consultants and communications professionals who deliver training, consultations, articles, and resources that help Fund members control losses and their associated costs.