How Can I Tell If My Roof Was Damaged by Wind

March 17, 2024
High Winds causing roof storm damage to a residential home. Curled or lifted shingles Lincoln, Nebraska weather
Strong winds can wreak havoc on your roof.  So when strong gusts of wind pass through, it’s important to assess any potential roof damage to ensure its safety and integrity. 

What Is Roof Wind Damage?

Roof wind damage refers to the destruction caused to the roof structure of your home as a result of strong winds.  These winds have the power to knock down tree branches, break windows, relocate patio furniture, topple fences and more.  Nebraska residents are no strangers to strong winds.  Whether it’s a fierce thunderstorm or a tornado, high winds can cause devastating damage to your roof, leading to potential leaks, torn, loose, or missing shingles, and even total roof collapse in severe cases.  This type of damage can typically occur during extreme weather events and result in various physical impacts on your roof that distresses your roofing material and the structure underneath it.  

How Does Wind Damage Your Roof?

Roofs are the unsung heroes of our homes, sheltering us from the elements, keeping us safe and warm. However, strong winds can often wreak havoc on even the sturdiest roofs. Understanding how wind can wreak havoc on your roof is crucial for ensuring its longevity and keeping your home secure.

The first thing to consider is the speed of the wind. In simple terms, the faster the wind blows, the greater the potential for damage. High wind speeds generate enormous pressure on your roof. As wind encounters a structure, it splits into two streams: one moving above and one moving below the roof. The wind flowing over the roof causes a decrease in air pressure, while the wind flowing beneath it causes an increase. This pressure differential can lead to various forms of damage.

One common issue resulting from wind damage is loosened or displaced shingles. Strong gusts can lift the edges of shingles, causing them to curl or detach. Once this happens, your roof becomes vulnerable to water leaks and other forms of damage. Additionally, loose shingles can become flying debris during a storm, posing a threat to nearby properties or pedestrians.

Aside from shingle damage, wind can also create uplift. Uplift occurs when the force of the wind creates a suction effect on your roof, attempting to lift it from the building’s structure. This phenomenon commonly affects older or poorly installed roofs, where the underlying materials may have deteriorated or become weak. When uplift occurs, the risk of significant structural damage increases, potentially compromising the entire roofing system.

Another way wind can damage your roof is through the creation of wind-driven rain. This occurs when the driving force of the wind pushes rainwater under the shingles or through gaps and cracks in the roofing materials. Wind-driven rain can infiltrate your attic, causing insulation damage, wood rot, and mold growth. Over time, this can weaken the structural integrity of your roof, leading to costly repairs or even the need for a complete roof replacement.

Strong winds can also cause branches or other debris to be blown onto the roof. Falling branches can puncture or break shingles, leading to leaks and further damage. Even if the shingles remain intact, the impact can loosen them, making them more susceptible to being blown off during future gusts.

Moreover, wind can exacerbate existing roofing issues. For instance, if there are pre-existing leaks or weak points on the roof, strong winds can worsen the situation by forcing water to seep into those areas. Over time, this can lead to significant damage and potential structural issues.

Wind damage is one of the most common causes of roof problems and can lead to costly repairs if not addressed promptly.  It is important to note that wind damage may not always be immediately visible to the naked eye. While missing or damaged shingles are obvious signs, hidden damage can be just as detrimental.

How Strong Does Wind Have to Be to Damage Your Roof?

When it comes to safeguarding your home against natural calamities, your first thought might be to turn to extreme weather conditions such as tornadoes. While these events are undeniably menacing, it’s important not to underestimate the potency of regular windstorms and thunderstorms, as they too can cause significant damage to our roofs. But just how strong does the wind need to be before it poses a threat?

A common misconception that only tornado-force winds can wreak havoc on a roof, but in reality, even moderate winds can cause considerable harm. The strength required to inflict damage varies depending on various factors, including the age and condition of the roof, the materials used, and the angle of the roof slope.

Typically, winds with speeds between 50-70 miles per hour are considered a potential danger to ordinary asphalt shingle roofs. These winds are often associated with severe thunderstorms. Such gusts are strong enough to lift and detach shingles, leaving the underlying structure exposed to the elements.

For roofs made of more durable materials, such as concrete tiles or metal panels, the threshold for significant damage is a bit higher. These roofs can generally withstand winds between 70-100 miles per hour before exhibiting signs of distress. However, it’s worth noting that individual tiles or panels may become loose or dislodged even at lower wind speeds.

At the more extreme end of the spectrum, winds exceeding 100 miles per hour – commonly associated with tornadoes – can cause widespread roof destruction. These forces can tear off entire sections of the roof, compromise its structural integrity, and even demolish the entire building if not properly secured.

Asphalt Shingle debris from a roof on front lawn resulting from wind storm damage

So How Do I Spot Wind Damage on my Roof?

Great question!  One of the easiest ways to spot wind damage on your roof is by conducting a visual inspection. Grab a pair of binoculars and take a careful look at your roof from the ground using the following checklist as a guide:

1. Perform a Visual Inspection

Look for any missing or damaged shingles paying particular attention to the corners and edges of your roof. High winds can lift or tear off shingles, leaving behind gaps or exposed areas.

In addition, keep an eye out for curled or lifted shingles. As shingles age, they become more susceptible to the effects of wind. Over time, high winds can cause the edges of shingles to curl or lift, potentially creating entry points for water or debris.

If you notice any dislodged shingles, it’s crucial to address the issue promptly to prevent water penetration and subsequent leaks.  If you notice any irregularities, it’s best to have a professional roofer assess the situation to determine if repairs are necessary.

2. Check for granule loss

Another sign of wind damage is the presence of loose or displaced roof materials. Check for any loose granules in your gutters or downspouts. Wind can cause the granules on your shingles to detach, leading to excessive wear and tear. Additionally, inspect your yard for any shingles or roofing components that may have fallen off during a storm. These loose materials can compromise the integrity of your roof and require immediate attention.

3. Inspect your roof’s flashing

Flashing is the metal or rubber material used to protect joints and seams on your roof.  Flashing is used to prevent water from seeping in where two roof surfaces meet, such as chimneys, vents, or skylights. Wind can loosen or dislodge the flashing, leaving gaps that allow water to penetrate your roof. Inspect the areas where flashing is installed and look for any signs of lifting, gaps, or cracks.

4. Inspect your roof for any cracks or punctures from falling debris or tree limbs

Strong gusts of wind can cause branches or other debris to strike your roof, resulting in punctures or cracks in your roof surface. These damaged areas can compromise the structural integrity of your roof and lead to water infiltration, leaks, or even mold growth. It’s essential to address these issues promptly to prevent further damage.

5. Look for signs of leaks

Wind damage to a roof can lead to water infiltration. After a windy storm, check the interior areas of your home for any signs of leaks, such as water stains on your ceilings and walls. Additionally, examine your attic for any signs of water or moisture. If you find any leaks, contact a roofing professional immediately to address the issue and prevent further damage.

6. Get a professional inspection

While a visual inspection can help identify obvious signs of wind damage, it is also beneficial to have a professional roofing inspector assess your roof. They have the expertise to detect subtle signs of wind damage that may go unnoticed by an untrained eye. A professional inspection can provide a comprehensive evaluation of your roof’s condition and help you address any potential issues.

Remember, spotting wind damage on your roof early on can save you from costly repairs down the line. Regular inspections and maintenance are essential to keep your roof in excellent condition. If you detect any signs of damage, it’s crucial to address them promptly and consult a professional roofer if needed!

Tips for Protecting Against Wind Damage

Wind damage can wreak havoc on a home or property, causing extensive damage and leading to costly repairs. High winds can uproot trees, tear off shingles, and even shatter windows. However, with some proactive measures and precautions, you can protect your property from wind damage. Here are some essential tips to consider:

Regularly inspect and maintain your property

Regular inspections and maintenance can help identify and resolve potential vulnerabilities. Check your roof for loose or missing shingles that can be easily ripped off by strong winds. Also, keep an eye on your gutters, ensuring they are clear of debris to avoid clogging and potential water damage during heavy rains.


Reinforce vulnerable areas

Identify weak points in your property, such as windows, doors, and garage doors, and reinforce them accordingly. Consider installing storm shutters or impact-resistant windows and doors to provide extra protection against high winds. Reinforce garage doors with metal bracing for added stability.


Trim trees and secure loose objects

Overhanging tree limbs can become projectiles in strong winds, posing a significant threat to your property. Regularly trim trees and remove weak or dead branches. Additionally, secure loose objects like patio furniture, grills, and trash cans, bringing them indoors or properly anchoring them before any expected windy conditions.


Strengthen your roof

Ensure your roof is properly secured to withstand high winds. Use hurricane clips or straps to attach your roof to the frame structure. Additionally, consider reinforcing the roof-to-wall connection with metal trusses or hurricane anchors to minimize the risk of roof damage during storms.


Review your insurance policy

Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy to understand the coverage it offers for wind damage. Sometimes, specific clauses or endorsements are required to provide full coverage for wind-related losses. Consult with your insurance provider to ensure you have adequate protection.


Stay informed and have a plan

Keep yourself updated with local weather forecasts and warnings, especially during the wind-prone seasons. Create an emergency plan, including communication protocols with your family members, preparing an emergency kit, and identifying nearby shelters or community safe spaces.

By taking these preventive measures, you significantly reduce the risk of wind damage to your property. Remember, being proactive and preparing in advance is crucial to ensure the safety of your home and loved ones during severe weather events.
High Winds from storm causing tree to bend causing roof damage to home

What to Do if Wind Damages Your Roof

If wind has wreaked havoc on your roof, don’t panic. It’s a common issue that many homeowners face, and there are steps you can take to assess and repair any damages. Follow these guidelines to ensure your roof is quickly back in shape and your home remains protected.

The first step is safety. If you suspect that your roof has been damaged by wind, it’s vital to prioritize your safety and the safety of others. Stay away from the affected area and keep children and pets away as well. If the wind has caused a significant structural damage, it’s important to evacuate the premises and call for professional help.

Once you are safe, visually inspect your roof. Look for any obvious signs of wind damage, such as missing or loose shingles, curled or lifted edges, or debris on the roof surface. Use binoculars if necessary to get a closer look without having to climb onto your roof. Take note of any potential leaks or water stains on the ceilings in your home as these can be indicators of roof damage.

Next, document the damage. Take clear and detailed photos of the affected areas to assist with filing an insurance claim. It’s essential to have visual evidence of the damages for reference purposes.

If you notice only minor damages, you may be able to fix them yourself. Repairing loose or missing shingles can be done with roofing cement or sealant. Carefully lift the damaged shingle, apply the adhesive material underneath, and press it down firmly. However, if you have doubts about your ability to perform the repair or if the damage seems extensive, it’s best to seek professional help. Roofing experts have the skills, knowledge, and equipment to handle various types of wind damage effectively.

Contact your insurance company as soon as possible to report the damages and initiate the claim process. Provide them with the documentation you gathered, including photos and a detailed account of the damage. An adjuster will likely visit your property to assess the extent of the damages and determine the coverage provided by your policy. Make sure to save any receipts from temporary fixes or repairs you’ve carried out as these may be necessary for the claim.

In the meantime, take steps to prevent further damage before permanent repairs can be made. If there are loose shingles that could potentially blow away, secure them temporarily with roofing nails or plastic sheeting. Clear any debris from gutters and drains to prevent water accumulation. If there are leaks inside your home, place buckets or other containers to catch the water and minimize water damage.

Remember, the impact of wind damage on your roof can vary significantly depending on the severity of the storm. While minor issues may only require simple repairs, major damages might necessitate a complete roof replacement. Regularly maintaining your roof, including inspections, can help prevent wind damage in the future.

After a Wind Storm,
Work With a Reputable Roofing Contractor

After a wind storm wreaks havoc on your home, one of the most vulnerable areas that may require immediate attention is your roof. Strong winds can cause shingles to loosen, lift, or even blow off entirely, exposing your home to potential leaks and water damage. When faced with such a situation, it is essential to work with a reputable roofing contractor to ensure that proper repairs are made promptly.

One of the first steps to take after a windstorm is to evaluate the extent of the damage. While some signs may be obvious, such as missing or damaged shingles, others may require a closer inspection. Therefore, it is advisable to hire a professional roofer who can thoroughly assess the condition of your roof and identify any underlying problems that may not be immediately noticeable.

Choosing a reputable roofing contractor is crucial to ensure high-quality work and minimize future issues. To find a trusted professional, start by seeking recommendations from friends, neighbors, or family members who have had similar work done in the past. Personal referrals can provide invaluable insights into the reliability and expertise of a particular contractor.

Additionally, browsing online rating and review platforms can provide a broader view of a contractor’s reputation. Look for companies with consistently positive reviews and high customer satisfaction ratings. Pay attention to any negative feedback, as well, to identify potential red flags or recurring issues.

Once you have a few potential candidates in mind, it is important to conduct some research. Verify that the roofing contractor is fully licensed and insured. A legitimate contractor will be happy to provide proof of these credentials upon request. You can also check with your local better business bureau or building department to ensure there are no outstanding complaints or violations against the contractor.

When contacting potential contractors for estimates, be wary of anyone who provides a significantly lower price than others. While cost is undoubtedly a factor to consider, extremely low offers can often indicate shoddy materials or subpar workmanship. Remember, you get what you pay for, and investing in a reputable contractor will save you money in the long run.

Once you have made your decision, ensure that all details of the project, including materials, timeline, and payment terms, are put in writing. This contract will serve as a reference point and protect both parties involved. Avoid any contractor who refuses or hesitates to provide a written agreement.

In conclusion, after a wind storm damages your roof, it is crucial to work with a reputable roofing contractor to address the problem promptly and effectively. By taking the time to research and select a trusted professional, you can rest assured that the repairs will be done correctly, protecting your home from further damage and ensuring its safety for years to come.

Get a Storm Damage Roof Inspection

Bring in the roofer pros before you step foot on your roof.  We recommend an independent local third-party inspector, not because it’s what we do, but because we frequently hear complaints from customers who were coerced into singing a contract with an out of state storm chaser and their roof replacement did not turn out well.

One key benefit of requesting an inspection is peace of mind. By hiring a qualified roofing inspector, you can rest assured knowing that every nook and cranny of the home’s roof will be examined meticulously. Any potential problems, will be identified and reported.

Document Your Roof Damage

If there is damage, make sure you get photos of everything!  Thoroughly document the damage to your home’s roof.  Take notes of what happened.  This documentation can be crucial should you need it when filing a claim with your insurance company.  

Choose a Local Roofing Contractor

Your home’s roof is not only a big invest but a significant part of your families safety, so you want to choose the right company for the job.  Severe Nebraska weather storms almost always guarantee that out-of-state storm-chasing roofing contractors will show up in your neighborhood to offer their roofing services.  The out-of-state roofers may either disappear shortly after taking on the job, or may be difficult to get a hold of to complete the roofing job or follow up with to report damages or poorly completed work.  This is why it’s strongly recommended that you stick with a local Nebraska roofing company. 

A Better Way Construction & Roofing
is your Local A+ rated Roofing Company

A Better Way Construction & Roofing is a local roofing company headquartered in Lincoln, Nebraska.  We have been providing roofing services to homeowners in the Southeastern part of Nebraska since 2004.  Over the last two decades we’ve built a reputation as a dependable roofing contractor with quality craftsmanship.  We will help you deal with wind damage to your roof and ensure your property can withstand the elements for years to come.  

Contact A Better Way Construction & Roofing TODAY for a comprehensive FREE inspection and NO OBLIGATION quote.

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