Roofing Shingles & Wind Resistance

The roof is an easy target for one of Mother Nature’s most unpredictable and powerful forces — wind.

We’re all aware that sudden, strong winds can cause substantial roof damage when a severe storm moves through, but shingles can also be damaged by steady winds on days when there’s no rain, hail, sleet, or snow in the forecast.

If your roof is aging and you are concerned about potential roof damage from the wind on your asphalt shingle roof, here are a few reasons why it happens, and how to find signs of wind damage to your roof.

How Wind Interacts with Asphalt Shingles

Wind doesn’t always move in a steady, smooth stream — it swirls up, down, sideways, and in circles at various speeds.  As temperature and pressure differences in the Earth’s atmosphere are constantly changing, so does the wind’s direction and force.

When wind encounters a structure such as your home, it acts in some fairly predictable ways:

  • Wind hitting the side of the home travels up and over the roof with varying degrees of uplift pressure.
  • Uplift pressure is the highest at the corners of the roofline, and the pressure is almost as high along the roof edges, which makes these areas particularly vulnerable to wind damage.
  • As wind moves across the roof surface, negative pressure – also called vacuum pressure – is created and may pull or lift, shingles off a roof deck.

Factors That Influence How Wind Affects Your Shingles

Several factors determine how the wind may affect or damage your roof:

  • How your home is oriented in relation to local weather patterns. Your roof is more vulnerable to damage if you live in a hurricane- or tornado-prone area, or where high winds occur frequently.
  • Roof geometry. High-pitched gable roofs with wide overhangs are more susceptible to wind uplift, whereas aerodynamic, four-sided hip roofs are more resistant to damage.
  • Other variables. The nailing method used to install the shingles, the quality and strength of the fasteners, and the installation temperature can also play a role in the roof’s ability to resist wind.
  • Installation flaws. Misaligned shingles, incorrect nail placement, poorly sealed flashing or the lack of starter strip shingles can all cause increased susceptibility to wind.
  • Age and condition of the roof. An older roof with dried-out, cracked or curled shingles or spots where the sealant bond has failed is at a greater risk of being badly damaged by the wind.
  • Previous damage left unaddressed. A roof that has existing issues, such as broken shingles, missing shingles, and/or missing flashing, is more likely to incur wind damage over time or suffer extensive damage during a severe storm.

Signs of Wind Damage on Your Roof

Some signs of roof wind damage are more obvious than others. After a severe weather front, significant damage to a roof may be highly visible, such as:

  • A puncture from a fallen tree limb
  • Large swatches of exposed underlayment where shingles have been blown off
  • Mangled or missing sections of flashing, or
  • Missing hip and ridge shingles

Other signs may be subtler, but you can spot them if you know what to look for both indoors and out. As always, keep safety in mind with anything you do and wear appropriate protective gear. If you are unable to safely check your home’s exterior or interior for signs of roof damage, please contact a professional roofing contractor.

Outdoor Evidence of Roof Damage

Walk your home’s perimeter to check for pieces of shingles and scan the roof for:

  • Areas where shingle edges look lifted or raised, which tells you the seals may have been broken
  • Narrow lines near the shingle edges which can indicate they may have been flipped up and creased
  • Scratch marks across the roof field where wind-borne debris has raked across the roof
  • Damaged ridge or soffit vents
  • Cracked or gaping chimney flashing
  • Curled, torn or raised shingles along the roof edges
  • Deposits of debris such as tree branches or broken glass on the roof or in the gutters

Indoor Evidence of Roof Damage

You can check for potential signs of wind damage inside your home by inspecting your attic and living areas. As always, keep safety in mind with anything you do. When going up into your attic be sure to have a sturdy walking path and wear appropriate protective gear.

How to check your attic for signs of roof damage:

  1. Go up to the attic while there’s still daylight.
  2. Use a flashlight to check for leaks and stains on the underside of the roof or signs of water damage on the floor and insulation.
  3. Turn the lights off and scan the roof decking for any areas where daylight is shining through that could indicate damage has occurred above.

In your finished living areas, look for discolored patches on the ceilings and walls that warn you that water is getting in through wind-damaged areas on the roof.

If you spot signs of wind damage on your roof or inside your home, or if you suspect there might be damage to your home’s roof please don’t hesitate to contact a professional roofing contractor to inspect and address the issue. Big League Roofers is here to answer all your roofing questions and help keep you home cozy and dry, 24/7!

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