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How Wind Damages Roofs
By the RestorationSOS Educational Staff
In most cases of severe weather, it is the wind that does the bulk of the damage. Rain, snow and hail are all secondary, as they can’t really do much harm to your home until the wind has opened it up to the various elements. Depending upon the velocity of the wind and the construction of the roof, the roof may be damaged or completely ripped away.
Roofs are designed to withstand most typical winds found in their geographic location, but even the best laid plans can go by the wayside if conditions are severe enough. No roof is going to withstand the pressures and extremes forced on it by a tornado or hurricane.
Damage-Prone Areas of Roofing
The perimeter of the roof is where the most damage is likely to occur initially, due to its vulnerability to higher pressure systems. The center of the roof is actually the more stable location, and less prone to damage.
Variables such as the shape of the roof and location on the roof will determine how it reacts to varying degrees of pressure. Roofs have to deal with negative pressure, which is basically suction, or positive pressure, which is pushing, and extremes of either may be able to cause significant damage. According to repair technicians who work on this sort of problem for a living, most roof damage begins along the perimeter and works its way inward.
Anywhere that shingles or flashing are loose are prime targets for wind damage. All the wind has to do is be able to get up under the element; then shingles and flashing begin to start working loose and coming up. The roof proceeds to deteriorate from that point. Technicians describe this as a “peeling” effect.
Dealing with Roof Damage
The good news is that very few roofs are actually completely destroyed. Most remain solidly attached to the building, but may end up severely shredded and punctured due to damage from flying debris. Unfortunately, some of these holes may be of considerable size, which means that rain, snow, and hail will gain immediate access to your home, resulting in considerable water damage to walls, flooring, and carpeting.
Roofs should be regularly inspected for any signs of damage or weakness. Shingles and flashing should be repaired or replaced as they occur.
In areas that are particularly prone to severe weather, such as the Florida coast or the Midwestern Tornado Alley, roofs may be reinforced to better withstand the incredible stress brought about by some of the more intense weather events.