With strong storms often come high winds, whether you are dealing with the threat of hurricanes or see severe summer storms as the temperatures climb. While you may not consider wind in general to be a threat to your home, at high enough speeds, it can be one of the most destructive natural forces—making it vitally important that you do what you can to stay on-top of any potential wind damage.
How Common is Wind Damage to a Home?
Every year, approximately 10,000 severe thunderstorms and multiple tropical systems impact the United States—all of which have the potential to create severe wind. Depending on your specific location and climate, you run the risk of having your home damaged by a wide range of wind-related factors.
How Strong do Winds have to be to Damage a Roof?
Wind speeds that push to over 50-60 mph are generally classified in the severe category. Many standard roofs are rated to withstand winds of this speed, but shingles can start being affected when wind increases to 70+ mph. Consider the average wind speeds for common storms seen in the United States:
- Thunderstorms: Typical wind conditions during a thunderstorm range between 22-55 mph, with severe wind being classified at more than 58 mph. However, dangerous downdrafts and wind gusts can spike up to 100 mph.
- Tornados: An F1 tornado has an average wind speed of 73-112 mph, while an F5 tornado can reach peak wind speeds of up to 318 mph.
- Tropical Systems: While a tropical storm can have wind of up to 73 mph, a Category 5 hurricane can see steady wind of 157 mph or more. It’s important to note that tropical systems are measured by sustained wind speed—making these events exceptionally damaging to property.
How Does Severe Wind Affect a Roofing System?
It may seem like wind should blow right over a home roof, but that is not the case with severe wind events. According to the NRCA, wind damage generally begins at the edge of the roof. If any roofing material is slightly loose, wind pushes below the protective layer and creates a “peeling effect” of the roof shingles. This can happen in one severe event, or occur over years as strong winds slowly deteriorate the integrity of the roofing surface.
Do I Need to Worry About Trees and Flying Debris?
The short answer is, yes. Falling tree limbs, flying debris, and toppling trees can all have a dramatic, damaging effect on your roof and the rest of your property. To reduce the risk of serious damage from indirect wind gusts, all trees near your property should be properly trimmed and maintained.
It is also important to thoroughly check your roof after a wind event to see if there are any signs of more serious damage caused by flying objects or tree branches—and don’t forget your gutters! Debris carried by wind can lead to gutter clogs that put your home at risk for water problems down the road.
What are the Signs of Roof Wind Damage?
Unless a large tree branch has fallen on your roof or half of your shingles have blown away, identifying wind damage can be difficult. Evidence of wind damage is often subtler than damage caused by other weather-related incidents, and top signs to watch for include:
- Missing Shingles
- Damaged Flashing
- Shingle Granules in Gutters
- Curled, Creased Shingles
What Do I Do if I Suspect My Roof has Been Damaged by Wind?
Assessing for and treating wind damage on a roof isn’t a DIY task. To maximize safety and to get the high-quality results you deserve, working with an experienced contractor is a must.
If you suspect wind damage, start with a basic outdoor and indoor inspection of your property looking for obvious signs of damage, water leaks, staining, and decay. From there, get a professional roofer in to complete a thorough roofing inspection to determine if your system has been compromised by the storm.
See My House’s Past Weather Events
Ready to explore three years of history on the weather events that have hit your home? Sign up today to arm yourself with vital information!
Learn More About Hail Damage
One of the biggest fears of homeowners is hail damage, and we provide the information you need to stay a step ahead of the storm.