Wind Damage to Your Roof

How to Spot Wind Damage to Your Roof

A shingled roof is made to last for years. However, high winds can affect the lifespan of your roof. Every year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports thousands of high wind events that can wreak havoc on your roof.


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Wind damage is one of the main reasons homeowners file an insurance claim for a damaged roof. Yet, the damage may not be something that is readily apparent when you casually look at your roof from the ground. Any time you have storms with hail or high winds, your roof can suffer from loose shingles and spots of missing asphalt. By performing roof inspections in New Jersey, Allied Roof Solutions can pinpoint just where there has been damage to a roof, resulting in the necessity of a roof replacement. In this article, we explain the different kinds of weather that have high winds, the types of damage wind can cause to your roof, and how to spot when damage has occurred.

Different Kinds of Weather with High Winds

Damaging winds can come as straight-line winds, macrobursts, and derecho events that contain hurricane-force winds. Wind speeds, roofing material types, roof shape, and building dimensions all contribute to the amount of wind damage you may suffer after a strong storm.

 types of hurricanes

Hurricane Winds

Hurricane-force winds are classified as winds above 74 mph by meteorologists. Yet, even lower-range winds can create flying debris from chairs, tree branches, and other items that can damage a roof. Hurricanes can be hundreds of miles wide, with the strongest winds being near the eyewall. Usually, the strongest hurricane winds max out at 200 mph. The strength of the wind, combined with the long duration of a hurricane, means a building structure gets pounded.

A Category 1 hurricane typically carries wind speeds within 74-95 mph.

This type of hurricane causes minor damage to older roofs, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters as well as some tree or debris damage.

This type of hurricane can cause severe damage to flat roofs, shingles, and siding as well as trees being uprooted.

This type of hurricane can cause extensive damage to most roof types as well as tearing roof decks or roof sections from the structure.

This type of hurricane is considered to be extreme. It will likely destroy all roofs, tearing them apart and exposing the interior space of buildings.

This type of hurricane is catastrophic resulting in wall collapses, building collapses, and total roof failures. Many buildings are completely destroyed in this category.

tornado is one of the most destructive forces in nature

Tornado Winds

Just as with a hurricane, a tornado is one of the most destructive forces in nature. A tornado is a fast, hard-hitting storm that covers an area the width of a few hundred yards to a mile or more. Winds in a tornado can be the most intense winds anywhere on Earth. A tornado can carry winds that reach 300 mph. In addition to the wind, tornadoes can include hail. If your building is in the path of an EF 1 or above tornado, you probably will sustain roof damage

An EF 0 tornado typically has wind speeds of 65-85 mph.

This will result in minor damage to older roofs, shingles, vinyl siding, and gutters with some tree or debris damage.

This is considered a severe wind that can cause major isolated damage to flat roofs, shingles, and siding with some trees uprooted.

This causes extensive damage to most roof types. Some roof decks or roof sections can be torn from the structure.

This type of tornado causes extreme damage to all roofs, exposing the interior spaces of buildings.

This type of tornado is considered to be catastrophic. You will find total roof failures, wall and building collapses, and many buildings are completely destroyed.

An EF 5 tornado is considered to be incredible. There is widespread catastrophic destruction with concrete-reinforced and hi-rise buildings severely damaged.

Straight-Line Winds

Straight-line winds are usually winds in thunderstorms that are generated in the absence of rotation. These winds can include wind gusts of 100 mph or more, causing severe damage to building structures and roof systems.

Derecho Winds

A derecho wind is a widespread, long-lasting straight-line wind that covers a huge area of land. A typical derecho consists of numerous microbursts, downbursts, and downburst clusters. A derecho can spawn a tornado. Technically, a derecho is defined as a wind-damage swath that extends more than 240 miles and includes wind gusts of at least 58 mph along most of the length.

Factors in Wind Damages to Your Roof

Roof Installation Quality

Older roofs can be damaged easily by wind speeds below 50 mph. The severity of wind damage to a roof structure varies depending on factors such as:

  • Type and age of the roofing materials
  • Presence of flying debris
  • Building geometry and shape of the roof
  • Building height and orientation to other buildings
  • Quality of roof installation

As wind flows around and over buildings, it can produce extremely high negative pressures that create suction as well as positive pressures creating blunt force that pushes on roofing materials, under gables, and under eaves. These pressures create tremendous uplift on roofing materials that can tear a roof off.

How to Spot Wind Damage

Wind damage is not always clearly visible. Damage can range from being minor and seen only when you are close to it to being more severe and easily seen from the ground. Here are some of the signs that your roof has wind damage.

Lifted or Curling Shingles

When you see individual shingles on the roof that are turned up, lifted, or curled, you have damage. These shingles may be out of line or out of place when you look at the roof. Instead of straight rows all in a line, you may see shingles that are at an angle or overlapping other shingles.

Flipped or Bent Shingles

When you see shingles that are flapping and obviously loose, you need to check your roof for damage. A strong wind can easily blow underneath a shingle and bend it back or rip the nails out so that the entire section lifts, making the house open to leaks. Don’t waste any time repairing this damage.

Water Leaks Inside the House

When you see water stains, evidence of water leaking into the house, you can be sure that you have had damage to your roof. A water leak can cause significant damage to the interior of your home such as mold growth. An immediate solution is to call a professional roofer, then tarp the roof or place a bucket under the roof leak.

Missing Shingles

When you see that there are asphalt shingles missing from the roof after a storm that carried wind, you can be certain you have wind damage. Missing shingles are easily seen from the ground. Your first step should be contacting a roofing contractor who can assess the damage and create a plan to repair the roof as soon as possible.

Checking Your Roof for Wind Damage

Wind Damage roof check

After a storm with significant winds, we recommend that you hire a professional roofer to inspect the roof for possible damage. However, as the homeowner, you should also check for damage. Walk around your property and look for obvious signs of damage in these areas:

  • Gutters
  • Downspouts
  • Chimney and window flashing
  • Attic
  • Large debris
  • Houses close by

Contact Allied Roofing Solutions Today

When you have experienced weather conditions with wind, carefully walk around the house and look for signs that there are shingles missing, lifted, or curled. If you find any evidence of roof damage, call us at Allied Roofing Solutions to inspect the roof and diagnose the damage. Whether it is damage in spots that need repairing or a total roof replacement, we will provide the top-quality work you need. We serve much of New Jersey, including Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Middlesex County, Morris County, Passaic County, and Somerset County. To schedule a free roof inspection, please call us at   (201) 773-0633 or fill out our handy free estimate form.