Survivor Story: How One Home Remains Standing after Hurricane Michael Devastates Port St. Joe, Florida

MWSHAutumnFL0017_afterstormWhen Hurricane Michael came pounding into the Florida Panhandle last year he brought with him winds upward of 150 mph. As recommended, Port St. Joe resident George Fleet evacuated his oceanfront home. When he returned he was stunned … his was the only completely intact beachfront house standing for miles.

“Every home in my neighborhood had roof damage, except for mine,” says Fleet. “Some houses lost the entire roof and were blown out; others had structural damage with broken windows and lost foundations. The damage is so severe. We know it will take over a year to just clean up all the debris.”

Blue-tarped roofs run up and down the coastal area where Hurricane Michael made impact with its Category 4 force. It was the strongest storm to make landfall in the continental U.S. since Hurricane Andrew in 1992 and the first Category 4 storm on record to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle.

So, how did Fleet’s home survive with just some leaking around two windows and the need to rebuild a small portion of his carport? He credits a strong building envelope and the impact-resistant multi-width shake roof from DaVinci Roofscapes that he installed himself in 2016.

Composite Roofing Investment

“I was 75 years old when I put that composite roof up with some help from my son and nephews,” says Fleet. “This was an investment that has paid off.

MWSHAutumnFL0019“I did my research online and looked for a roof that was rated for our area to handle high winds, severe weather, impact and anything else Mother Nature could throw at it. That research led me to my DaVinci roof.”

As most Floridians knows, there are four major areas of concern for a structure during a hurricane — the roof, garage door, windows and entry door. Once one of those is breached, air pressure can enter the home and cause devastating damage. Fleet took extra care in selecting his roof, windows and entry door for that reason.

Standing high above the beach on an elevated foundation, Fleet’s home looks almost pristine compared to the damages sustained to the homes nearby.

Fleet Home Stands Alone

“Driving down to visit George months after the storm was very humbling,” says Mike Franck, territory sales manager for DaVinci Roofscapes. “The infrastructure is in very bad condition with temporary built up roads just so residents and contractors can get to homes. You can tell these houses will take months or years to repair.


“I’d say about 80 to 90 percent of the houses in that area have roof damage to some extent. There are blue tarps everywhere.

“As I first pulled up to George’s home I was simply shocked that his house didn’t show any damage. When I was about five miles away I was thinking there was no way his home wasn’t damaged after seeing all the devastation on the peninsula George lives on. It’s truly amazing that his house survived the storm so well.”

Fleet adamantly believes that his DaVinci roof overhead played a major role in saving his home. “When I returned from evacuating to my family’s house in Atlanta, there stood my perfect home,” says Fleet. “There were only three or four roof tiles that lifted a bit, but I can fix that easily. It’s a blessing that this DaVinci roofing did exactly what it was designed to do — protect my home from a hurricane.

“I selected the DaVinci product for both its appearance and durability. Now look at it … this roof has survived a Category 4 storm and still looks great!”

Made to Withstand Mother Nature

Designed to meet Class 4 impact and Class A fire resistancy ratings, composite slate and shake roofing tiles from DaVinci Roofscapes are certified for use in High Velocity Hurricane Zones (TAS 125, up to 180 mph), which includes Port St. Joe, Fla. The product is also Miami-Dade County, FL certified (NOA #18-0220.01).

“This product can truly stand up to Mother Nature,” says Franck. “Each composite shake has a thick construction, deep grooves and realistic grain patterns. It’s ideal for a seaside home because it resists fading, rot, cracking, pests and salt air.

“We construct our composite roofing from a combination of virgin resins, UV and thermal stabilizers as well as a highly-specialized fire retardant. The result is a state-of-the-art tile that gives us the greatest degree of color control and consistency in the manufacturing process along with an end product that endures beautifully in any climate.”