Roofs are highly vulnerable to wind damage, even in the absence of rain or hail. Unfortunately, roof damage is more than just an aesthetic concern in many cases as damaged and missing shingles allow moisture and debris to collect, which can cause major problems for the home over time.
Understanding the type of conditions that can damage a roof and knowing how to look for signs of damage can help homeowners prevent minor problems from becoming dangerous or expensive issues.
Wind Speeds That Cause Roof Damage
Modern shingle roofs are built to withstand winds up to 90 miles per hour. However, those living in areas prone to hurricanes and tornadoes can take advantage of roofing products that can allow them to withstand winds of as much as 150 miles per hour.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) warns that light structural damage can occur with winds at speeds of just 50 miles per hour, underscoring the importance of having a high-quality roof professionally installed and maintained. Roofs with older shingles are particularly susceptible to damage at these lower wind speeds.
When winds reach 50 miles per hour, some tree branches may break off, damaging shingles that are already loose or susceptible. As winds approach 60 to 70 miles per hour, they grow more severe and can cause significant damage to structures and landscaping. This can include uprooting trees, damaging chimneys, and ripping off shingles that were previously in good condition.
As wind speeds climb higher than 75 miles per hour, they become strong enough to cause significant damage to homes and buildings, flip mobile homes, and severely damage trees.
Signs Of Roof Damage Caused By Wind
Homeowners should keep in mind that wind damage to roofs is not always obvious. Nevertheless, it is important to check the property and look for damage following heavy storms and days with excessive wind.
Winds do not tend to hit roofs in a uniform fashion. Instead, the damage will typically occur on parts of the roof where shingles were already loose as well as along the edges of the roof. Roofs can also be damaged by falling objects and debris.
Climbing up on the roof is not recommended for those who do not have experience with roof work, but homeowners can walk around their home and look for some of the more obvious signs of roof damage from the ground. These include:
- Broken or Missing Flashing – Flashing is a galvanized steel or aluminum material that covers gaps and surrounds vulnerable areas of the roof, such as chimneys, to prevent water from leaking. In a major rain, wind or hail storm, these areas are susceptible to damage. When the roof’s flashing has been removed or damaged, water may make its way into the roofing system and cause damage to the home. Therefore, it is essential to visually inspect the state of flashing around the home to avoid major problems.
- Lifting or Missing Shingles – Shingles can lift when the nail or adhesive keeping them on the roof begins to give way. Gusty winds can lift shingles from a roof with ease and cause damage that gets worse over time. Very strong winds are capable of ripping entire shingles from the roof and tossing them to other areas, leaving the home’s roofing system vulnerable to penetration by moisture and other debris.
- Gutter Issues – Repeated exposure to strong winds can break down the granules that form roof shingles. This may cause them to become loose and drop into gutters. As these granules wash away, the shingles will become gradually thinner until they reach the point of breakage. In addition, the granules can build up in the home’s gutter to the point that they block gutter flow. This can cause ice dams during the winter months and moisture backup year-round.
Dealing With Signs Of Damage
When homeowners notice signs of wind damage to their roof, it is best to take pictures of the damage immediately. If shingles show signs of lifting, calling a professional to inspect the roof for any loose fasteners or broken seals is highly recommended.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover wind damage to the roof under Coverage A. An insurance agent can begin the claims process and send an adjuster to the home to assess the damage. Then, a contractor must be contacted to provide a quote for repairing or replacing the roof. If the contractor temporarily patches the damage to prevent it from getting worse, these costs can later be added to the final quote so the insurance company will cover it.
Contact The Northern Virginia Roofing Contractors
Whether the Northern Virginia weather is taking its toll on your roof or you are ready to give your home an update, the expert roofing contractors at Adelphia Exteriors will ensure your roof is durable, safe and attractive. Contact us today to discuss our residential roof replacement and installation services.