Debunking Common Misconceptions About Wind Damage to Roofs

by | Oct 13, 2021 | Roofing | 0 comments

Even if you do not live in an area that is not prone to hurricanes, your roof may still experience some form of extreme weather from time to time, including hail, blizzards, scorching heat, or powerful winds. While wind is one of the most common sources of roofing damage, there are numerous misconceptions surrounding this kind of roof-related damage. In this article, commercial roofing company Home Consulting debunks some of the recurring myths about wind damage to roofs and shares telltale signs of roof-related wind damage.

MYTH 1: Wind-lifted or wind-damaged shingles are not always visually apparent.

When assessing whether wind-related damage to your shingles can be hidden, it is important to consider how damage to a shingle materializes. First, a wind-induced pressure difference between the front and rear surfaces of a shingle, known as uplift force, has to take place, such that the factory-applied adhesive fails. As the shingle lifts, a broader surface area is exposed to the weather element, thus resulting in greater uplift force. This event tends to flip, crease, or tear the shingle. If the wind is powerful enough, the tabs will eventually break off and be carried downwind. This case is particularly common to areas that are exposed to wind forces, such as the eaves, hips, and ridges. The truth is that this evidence of wind-lifted shingles is visible when the roof is examined thoroughly, especially by a roofing professional. However, when a shingle is simply not adhered properly and is not creased, torn, or missing, it does indicate wind-caused damage.

MYTH 2: Any shingle with poor adhesion is lifted or damaged by the wind.

Many people assume that shingle with inadequate adhesion is a wind-lifted or wind-damaged shingle. But this is not entirely true. This misconception ignores the numerous possible reasons shingle adhesives on residential or commercial roofing can fail — even in the absence of powerful wind forces. While the wind can lift or remove poorly adhered shingle cutouts called tabs, not all poorly adhered tabs are brought on by winds. Factors that negatively affect the performance of shingle adhesives include manufacturing defects or inconsistencies, improper installation techniques, installations during inclement weather, aging or deterioration, and thermal expansion and contraction. For instance, periodic thermal expansion and contraction will normally produce a pattern of unbonded shingle overlaps stretched in a diagonal and upslope manner. These unbonded overlaps will not change in direction or increase/decrease in sections of the roof surface where wind uplift would be greater/less. Simply put, the wind will not arrive from various directions with sufficient force to reduce the adhesion on the sides of the overlapping shingles. Experiments have also found that roofs with a notable number of unsealed shingles that showcased a distinctive pattern are not consistent with wind-related damage. Instead, unsealed shingles are attributed to installation errors, such as debris in the sealant strip and underdriven nails in the sealant strip. Fortunately, working with an experienced roofing contractor can easily ward off this dilemma.

MYTH 3: Empirical tests can reveal the strength reduction of a shingle after a storm.

The Standard Test Method for Wind Resistance of Sealed Asphalt Shingles (Uplift Force/Uplift Resistance Method) or ASTM D7158 provides a method for determining the uplift force exerted by the wind on a shingle and comparing that to the mechanical uplift resistance of the shingle. Many people in the industry refer to the test to demonstrate the strength of a shingle after a storm event. However, while ASTM test methods can be used to figure out the uplift capacity of field shingles, the calculated loads used to compare with field results must be supplied by laboratories that are capable of performing the testing. Even then, different factors that affect proper adhesion should be taken into account. Moreover, the proper assessment of wind-related damage should consider locations of affected shingles, patterns of unsealed shingles across the entire roof, directions of slopes with unsealed shingles, and the prevailing direction of the wind during the storm.

Signs of Wind Damage to Roofs

While wind is usually a non-threatening force of nature, it can do a number to your roof. Be on the lookout for the following signs of wind-related damage so you can perform repairs before they develop into bigger and more costly problems.
  • Missing shingles. If your roof is missing a significant number of shingles, it is often a clear indication that your roof has sustained wind damage. Lifted, buckled, or peeled shingles are other wind damage symptoms that must be fixed by a roofing contractor.
  • Granules loss. Over time, the ceramic-coated granules on your shingles will wear and thin. There is no need to worry about minor granule loss. However, when you look closely at your roof and see bare spots or cracks in a horizontal pattern, it hints that the seal on your shingles has failed. Typically, granules will rub off when the shingle flutters in the wind and collides with other shingles on the roof.
  • Water leaks. One of the most effective ways to spot a roof-related problem is to inspect your ceilings and interior walls. When shingles are compromised by strong winds, rainfall or melting snow can trickle into the cracks or gaps and wreak havoc on your living space. So, if you see dark-colored stains or any discoloration in the attic, there is a good chance that your roof needs professional attention. Similarly, if you notice patches of mold or mildew, which is a fungus that thrives in damp environments, then you probably have moisture between your walls. Leaks start small but can accumulate when left untreated for an extended period.
  • Divots. A divot forms at the edge of the shingle when hit by blunt force. This particular issue is more common with hail, but it can also be brought on by the wind. For example, tree branches, rooftop equipment, and other windswept debris can bang into your shingles. If you see divots on your roof, call for “ roofers near me” for a visual checkup. It is better to have your roof inspected during the early stages of wind damage rather than having to pay for expensive repairs down the line.
  • Damaged chimney. Is your chimney leaning? Does it have cracked joints, damaged bricks, or loose or missing flashing? Chimney flashing is particularly prone to tearing because a chimney settles separately from the house.

What to Do When Your Roof Has Wind Damage

If you suspect that your roof has sustained damage caused by wind or flying debris, it is important to get it fixed as soon as possible. The longer you put off inspection and repair, the more damage will occur. Note that roof repair or replacement costs a lot less when you do not have to factor in the additional costs of patching up leaks and extensive water damage. When wind damage is severe, it is best to contact your insurance provider to properly assess the situation and determine whether you should file a claim. Be sure to document the scope of damage and carry out preventive measures to minimize its effects.

Let Home Consulting Repair or Replace Your Roof

If you have not had your roof inspected recently, home consulting is here to help. We are a GAF Certified roofing contractor and an Owens Corning® Preferred Contractor, making all of our residential roofing contractors factory-trained. Ready to get started? Contact us today at 980-223-6524 or here to schedule a free consultation!

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