According to Travelers Insurance, roof damage from wind made up an astonishing 25 percent of all homeowners insurance losses from 2009 to 2015. High winds can damage your roof, especially if it’s older or if your home is often exposed to forceful wind.
Wind can cause a few different kinds of damage to your roof. These include leaks, torn away or broken shingles, and gutter blockage. Asphalt shingle roofing receives the most damage from wind – even though it’s sturdy and rated to hold up under 90 mph gusts. If the wind is sustained, it can wear away at the integrity of shingles and start to damage them at 50 mph. Knowing how to check for roof damage from wind is vital to your home’s long-term health.
What Is Roof Damage from Wind?
Wind is unpredictable. It can damage areas that seem strong while leaving weaker areas alone. That’s because the wind doesn’t hit the entire surface of your roof with the same amount of strength. Corners, edges, and the exposed ridge suffer most frequently from wind damage.
For instance, where shingles hang slightly over the edge of your roof, wind can get under it and curl it up – or even rip it clean off. This is the type of damage that’s easiest to spot visually. Anytime wind removes a shingle, the roof will develop a leak in that spot (and anywhere below it, since water runs downward).
In addition, high winds can “lift” shingles without removing them. Most often, this is caused by suction from the wind passing over the top of the shingles, rather than getting under them. In this case, your roof may look intact from the ground. But all the while, water is seeping underneath the loose, lifted shingles. Lifted shingles lead to broken sealant – and leaks over time.
As another example, debris blown by high winds can tear apart your shingles. Tree limbs are a particularly common culprit here, so make sure you trim away any branches that reach over your roof. If you have trees next to your house, you’re likely to experience this type of roof damage from wind. In fact, high winds don’t cause as much damage as the debris blown by them does. They may look pretty, but those overhanging trees are a hazard.
How Can I Spot Roof Damage from Wind?
Look for these signs of roof damage caused by high wind.
1. Leaky Roof
Leaks in your roof are the easiest way to spot damage. However, a leak is the last thing you want. Don’t wait until your ceiling is dripping to check for damage. After each session of high winds, check for damaged shingles before you have a water problem. And, if a leak does appear, call a trusted roofer right away!
2. Missing, Lifted, or Curled Shingles
You should be able to spot missing and curled shingles from the ground. Look especially at the roof’s stress points: edges, corners, chimney, valleys, and ridgeline. These spots will let water through to the sub roofing – and into your home.
On the other hand, lifted shingles are hard to spot unless you’re on the roof. What may have happened is that the nails have become looser, and the layer of sealant may be broken. You’ll want to have your roof professionally inspected from time to time, especially if your roof has a steep pitch or your home has more than one story.
3. Granules in the Gutter
Extreme wind and pounding rain can strip protective granules from your shingles, washing them into the gutter. After a rainstorm, especially one accompanied by high wind, check the gutter for an excess of granules. If you find more than normal, call a roofer to check the shingles.
4. Damaged Chimney Flashing
This should be a quick check, but you’ll need to be on the roof to do it. Inspect the flashing around the chimney to see if it’s split or missing. Because it’s a vulnerable stress point, your chimney flashing is an especially common location for roof damage from wind.
Like always, a high-quality roof installed by an experienced roofing professional is your best defense against wind damage. Don’t cheap out – you may end up paying more in the long run. Call a licensed and insured roofer with decades of expertise, like Chattanooga Roofing Company. We’d be happy to inspect your roof for wind damage and give you a free estimate!