A look at the 7,000-square-foot Galveston, Texas, waterfront home of builder Paul Gandhi, shortly after it was built in 2007 - before Hurricane Ike hit.

After Hurricane Ike hit Galveston Sept. 13, 2008, it was declared one of the most destructive Lone Star State storms of all time. But some houses survived better than others. Paul Gandhi, a Galveston builder, reports that the Met-Tile roof over his 7,000-square-foot beachfront vacation home remained intact, providing his property with critically needed protection. Only the lower level sustained some damage from flooding.

“Every time there is a hurricane, though we are saddened by the losses, we are also gratified to learn that Met-Tile has helped in some measure to reduce the damage,” said Terry Holman, president of Met-Tile. “We have received many reports over the years of Met-Tile roofs remaining intact under the most punishing conditions.”

Met-Tile roofing carries a 230-plus mph wind uplift rating, more than adequate to withstand Ike’s 110 mph wind speeds.

This wind-resistant product has even withstood the rigors of Category 5 hurricanes. After Hurricane Iniki devastated the Hawaiian island of Kauai Sept. 11, 1992, local roofers reported that Met-Tile held up better than any other type of roofing. An inspection of nearly 100 Met-Tile roofs revealed that all but four of the roofs were intact after the storm.

After Hurricane Ike, the land around Paul Gandhi’s home was gone - but the metal roof protected the house from the worst damage.

Damage limited

Of the few that did experience damage, all four came off in one piece, still firmly attached to the rafters. Even in winds as high as 225 mph, the roofs did not really fail; they were lifted off after flying debris punctured the sides of the houses, creating a funnel for the wind to enter.

Gandhi’s Galveston home has approximately 8,000 square feet of Met-Tile roofing made of 26-gauge recyclable steel. The panels are 3 feet wide in lengths from three to 20 feet, coated with Super Series 4800 Super Cool manufactured by Specialty Finishes Co. of Fontana, Calif.

The beachfront residence, constructed on pilings, has four stories, including a garage at the ground level, two full stories of living space, guest quarters with balcony, and a small lookout room surrounded by a 300-square-foot “widow’s walk” at the top.

A widow’s walk is a rooftop platform, usually with railings, historically used to observe ships. Typically they were built on coastal houses. They were called widow’s walks because wives would reportedly use them to watch for their sailor husbands. If their ships sank, the men would not return home, making the women widows, so these platforms became widow’s walks.

Gandhi’s house also has large balconies and patios to help take full advantage of the view.

He was designer and general contractor for the project. The roofing contractor was Loredo Roofing Co. in Houston. Paul Gavranovic, also of Houston, was the manufacturer’s representative and roofing consultant. Construction was completed in 2007.

The general contractor had previously used Met-Tile on a La Quinta Inn he built in Galveston in 2004. It, too, was a Hurricane Ike survivor. Gandhi said the hotel’s roof - just like his roof at home - sustained no visible damage.

This article and its images were supplied by Met-Tile Inc.

A close-up look at the intact Met-Tile metal roof, which survived the storm.

Things to think about when choosing metal roofing

If you are considering a metal tile panel product for use in a hurricane-prone area, Met-Tile President Terry Holman urges contractors to evaluate product features carefully.

“Differences in appearance will be obvious, but other product variations may be subtler,” he said.

Here are some of his recommendations.

Long-length panels: Metal tile panels come in many sizes and shapes. Some are fabricated in small sections that equal the coverage of six or eight conventional tiles. Other systems consist of long-length, extra-wide sheets in varying lengths: A single panel may cover as much roof area as several dozen tiles. Generally speaking, the greater the coverage, the better the potential for a rapid and weather-tight installation.

Maximum wind rating: When you compare tile panel systems, ask the manufacturer: Does the system offer wind resistance above 200 mph? Lower wind ratings may not be adequate if a severe hurricane hits.

Fasteners: How is the system fastened? Screw fasteners provide stronger adhesion than nails or adhesives.

Installation: How are the panels installed? Panels applied vertically from eave to ridge provide the most wind-resistant installations. Also, some tile panels require a grid work of battens or special framing underneath: This can add an installation - and extra cost - step compared to products that install directly over a plywood deck and felt underlayment.