How Wind Damages Roofs And How You Can Prevent It

Rain tends to worry many home and business owners when it comes to their roofs. Yet rain doesn’t actively damage roofs. The rain itself doesn’t directly cause damage. You aren’t likely to end up with damage caused by rain with a properly installed and maintained roof (and gutters). 

Moisture intrusion occurs when water finds access points – under shingles, behind gutters, and around flashing. Attention needs to be on those items which create the entry points. Moss build-up is one culprit. Wind is another. 

 

How winds damage your roof.

Wind damage occurs directly and indirectly making it one of the biggest risk factors to your roof’s longevity. 

  • Direct – Wind, if strong enough, can lift shingles. It can tear them and remove the protective granules. Extreme wind can tear sections of roof free. 
  • Indirect – This includes wind blown debris and branches scraping roof damaging shingles. That debris can lodge beneath shingles so they no longer sit flat. It can collect in and add weight to gutters. Larger debris like tree limbs and branches broken off by the wind increase the amount of damage. (4 Ways Trees Could Damage Your Roof)

 

Factors affecting your roof’s risk of wind damage.

A number of factors affect how “at-risk” your roof is from wind damage. 

Location

  • Where your home is located. Some areas see more wind than others. 
  • How it’s oriented to the weather. Is your roof-line exposed to the wind? Is your home nestled in a wooded area with heavy tree coverage? 

Roof design

  • Roofs with multiple slopes such as a hip roof (4 slopes) perform better under wind forces than gable roofs (2 slopes). Gable roofs are generally more common because they are cheaper to build. A 30-degree roof slope has the best results. – Science Daily
  • The type of roofing materials – wood/cedar, asphalt shingles more prone to damage than tile or metal 

Installation

  • Were the deck boards and shingles nailed correctly?
  • Were shingles aligned properly?
  • Are starter strips missing?
  • Were all vents installed (flashed correctly)? Flashing around chimneys?

Roof age/lack of maintenance/repairs 

  • Are there broken, split, or missing shingles?
  • Are the sealants used around vents, skylights, and flashing still pliable?
  • Is there any damaged flashing?
  • Are nails backing out or missing?

 

Spotting wind damage.

There will be signs obvious from the ground or noticeable from windows overlooking a roof line. There is value in doing a quick preliminary inspection to the best of your ability – WITHOUT getting on your roof. 

A professional inspection. If it’s been a while, if you see signs of damage, or if you suspect damage – even if you just want peace of mind – a professional inspection will help identify wind damage. 

 

What can you do to prevent damage.

While most of these factors are out of your control, you can make your roof less vulnerable to damage through routine inspections, maintenance, and repairs. Keep trees and other growth trimmed back. If your home is situated in a wooded area, have the trees looked at to make sure they aren’t at risk of losing limbs or falling over a wind storm. 

 

We get wind in the PNW.

We may not see tornadoes and hurricanes. Your roof isn’t likely to be torn off. It will still be subject to wind damage – both directly and indirectly.

You cannot always prevent damage, but routine, regular inspections and repairs done as needed are your best defense against wind damage. 

After a windstorm, if you have any concerns, have us check your roof. If we find something, it will be repaired before gets worse. If there are no issues, you’ll have peace of mind knowing your roof is safe and protecting you.

5 replies
  1. Curtis Butler
    Curtis Butler says:

    I didn’t know that trimming your trees can help you prevent them from damaging your roof during windstorms. My wife and I have noticed that asphalt shingles have been falling from our roof ever since a branch from our oak tree hit our house during a storm last weekend. Maybe we should rely on a roofer to help us take care of the damages.

    Reply
  2. Best Roof Hatches
    Best Roof Hatches says:

    Remember that wind can do just as much damage to your roof as any of these other components. Thank you for this article. It is such a helpful one! I am excited to read your other posts!

    Reply
  3. Vivian Black
    Vivian Black says:

    We live in a very windy city, which has been a concern for the lifespan of our roof. I liked your suggestion to have a professional come out and do an inspection on your roof just to ease the worry. The last windstorm seemed so severe, it can justify calling out a professional, especially since our roof is now over ten years old. We will call on a specialist before the next storm.

    Reply
  4. Olivia Smart
    Olivia Smart says:

    Thank you for explaining that hiring a professional can help you with identifying wind damage. I’ve been wondering how we would be able to know for sure that we have some wind damage to our roof. I’ll be sure to remember this the next time we have a huge wind storm.

    Reply

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