What Wind Damage on a Roof Looks Like
It is always wise to inspect your roof to the best of your abilities following a storm for wind damage, especially if it included high winds. High winds can cause significant damage to your roof, leaving it susceptible to future problems or even leaving the underlying structures unprotected. If you suspect that there is wind damage, then you should have a professional roofer inspect your roof to confirm the extent of the damage, and you should file an insurance claim. But how do you tell that you even need to do any of that? Start by learning to recognize what wind damage looks like on a roof.
Wind Damage Will Not Be Even
Although it is theoretically possible for wind damage on your roof to be uniform, you should not expect that to be the case. It is most common for heavy winds to damage parts of the roof that are already weak or damaged or those closer to the edges. If the damage comes from a fallen object instead of the wind itself, this would also be uneven, depending entirely on where the branch or other item landed.
Types of Wind Damage by Speed
Before going into more detail about what wind damage looks like, you may be interested in how the common types of damage change depending on the wind speed.
If you experienced winds between 45 and 57 mph, you should expect some loose shingles to be removed. On the rest of your property, some tree branches and limbs will likely be torn down, and you may be unlucky and have some of these land on and potentially damage your roof. You do not usually have to worry too much at these speeds.
With winds between 58 and 74 mph, you can expect shingles to be ripped off. Trees will also be uprooted or torn down, increasing the chances of them damaging your roof.
At speeds of 75 to 89 mph, you should expect severe roof damage on commercial buildings. All types of roofs will likely have some damage from the widespread tree damage and other loose objects that fly around.
If the winds go above 90 mph, then expect there to be significant damage to the roof of your home.
With that information in mind, it is time to look at some of the types of damage that the wind may cause on your roof.
Shingles Missing Granules
The granules of your shingle are those bumps that are similar to sandpaper. High wind can cause these to fall off, as can hail. The good news is that you frequently do not have to climb your roof to get a hint that shingles lost granules, since they are likely to appear in your gutters.
The most extreme damage to shingles by the wind would be when they are entirely missing. This is a very obvious sign that your roof has wind damage, and you can typically spot missing shingles from the ground, even if you do not see them lying on your lawn.
Even if the wind does not completely remove shingles, it can start the process. In this case, there will be curling shingles that appear to be partially removed. Essentially, the wind started to peel the shingles off your roof in this case, but did not finish doing so.
Curling shingles need to be repaired; you cannot just leave them. A curling shingle will not be able to stop water from leaking through your roof, so it poses a risk.
If you can safely and comfortably climb onto your roof, you may also notice lifting shingles. When you are still on the ground, these will look intact. However, from the perspective up close on the roof, you can tell that the nails are loose. This loosening of the nails causes the shingles to “lift” up. In many cases, this will break the sealant that divides the layers of shingles, which in turn leads to leaks.
In the case of flat roofs, heavy winds can have tears in the material or even missing pieces. The wind may have lift the material up then rip it off. If it does not completely rip the material off, it may leave bubbles behind, which ruins the covering’s integrity and leaves the underlying structure exposed.
Following high winds, your chimney may appear slightly crooked. This can indicate problems with the roof as well. One example of common chimney damage is missing lashing in spots. If this happens, the seal around the chimney will not be complete, so water can come in.
Fascia and Soffit Damage
The fascia and soffit help keep water off of your roof, so you need them to be in good shape to reduce your risk of getting a leak. Wind may create bent or loose areas or cause cracks. In some cases, it can even completely blow loose fascia off your roof.
Leaks and Indoor Water Stains
You can also look for signs of wind damage inside your home. This will typically be in the form of wet spots, water stains, or leaks. Peeling paint, wet spots, and discoloration are all common signs that water somehow got in. If you just had a storm, the winds likely created damage that caused a leak.
To make sure that you do not miss any of the signs of leaks, be sure to head up to your attic or whatever space is on the top floor of your house.
Evaluate Your Property as a Whole
If you do not think that you see any signs of roof damage from the ground and are not comfortable climbing on your roof, you can also look around your property for signs that your roof is likely damaged. While something like shingles on the ground would be an obvious indication, you can also use other damage as a clue. If it seems like the wind caused severe damage to your trees or managed to move your car or other heavy objects, then there is a good chance it did some damage to the roof.
Whether or not you can confirm that your roof was wind damaged, you should always have a professional roofer inspect your roof following a storm if you have any reason to suspect wind damage. This is even more important if you notice any of the previously mentioned signs.