A History Of Wind And Roofs (What You Need To Know)

The wind blows on Mars, NASA reminds us. If and when humans build habitats on Mars, we will have to build roofs to withstand the wind. Here on earth, the wind has blown for all the years our atmosphere has existed. Wind storm roof damage is common all over the world, but in Georgia, our homes and roofs are subjected to many different types of wind. 

Roofs Versus Wind

Throughout history, winds have swept in and lifted roofs off of homes, torn tiles, shingles, and metal panels away, or tossed tree limbs and other debris onto roofs. Wind can gust up to 115 mph here in Georgia, says the National Weather Service. At those speeds, wind can shear off shingles, underlayment, and sheathing. 

Homeowners and roofers have done battle with wind for centuries. Just how much wind can a roof withstand? Over time, our technology has improved to a point where we can use hurricane clips, high-wind resistant shingles, and other methods to keep a roof over our heads. 

Hurricane Winds

Hurricane winds produce the strongest winds on the planet, with Hurricane Michael slamming Georgia at 115 mph. Yet a roof can suffer damage at slower speeds, such as the 74 mph winds needed to be considered hurricane force. 

Whether your Georgia home has a roof made with tiles, metal panels, shingles, or another material, withstanding those high winds is nearly impossible. Even the best-maintained roof will suffer from being slammed by hurricane-force wind and rain. 

Expect damage at drip edges, flashing, and along rows of shingles or tiles. Expect buckling and loosened fasteners on metal roofing.  

Historically, hurricanes have bested humans’ best efforts at sturdy roofs, but our advances in roofing are delivering stronger roofs. The next hurricane may not tear the top off your home, but to be certain, consider getting your local, professional roofer to discuss installing hurricane clips, strong ties, and other mechanical fasteners to preserve your roof. 

Tornadoes

You may go your whole life enjoying your time in the Peachtree State without ever encountering a hurricane, but tornadoes are hard to avoid. The National Weather Service shows us that, from 1950 to 2014, nearly every corner of our state has been the unwilling victim of a tornado. Fortunately, we have never felt an EF-5 (highest level) tornado. 

Where hurricanes bring widespread damage, tornadoes track their terror in relatively narrow paths. The wind speeds of an EF-4 can top 195 mph. 

No home can survive a direct hit from an EF-4 tornado, but roofs around a tornado’s path can withstand the high winds if engineered properly. 

When you partner with your local, helpful roofer to perform yearly maintenance, he will inspect with an eye toward surviving high winds, and you can invest in commonsense precautions. This will help your Georgia home can withstand winds that ruin other homes. 

Try these ideas:

  • Reduce overhanging limbs
  • Clean up yard trash to reduce windborne debris
  • Consult with a roofer about mitigating wind damage

Thunderstorms

Georgia homes are subjected to strong thunderstorms far more often than they are hit by hurricanes or tornadoes. The combination of wind and rain have taxed the skills of roofers for hundreds of years. All too common: rainwater pushed uphill, against gravity, by high winds. 

Water infiltration may not be a catastrophe, but water damage in attics, into the sheathing, or down interior walls can devalue your home. 

Learn from our forebears: work with a local, qualified roofer to not only repair damage from hailstorms, heavy rains, and thunderstorms but to also prevent water infiltration. 

Your roofer can keep your roof water-resistant (no roof is waterproof) by checking the flexibility and adhesion of your shingles, securing metal fasteners on metal roofing, or sealing up seams on flat roof sections. 

Uplift

Uplift is not what most people think it is. It is not the wind coming through and turning your roof into a giant (and dangerous!) sail by tearing it from your walls. It is, rather, the difference in air pressure over your home’s roof and the pressure inside. Your roof literally pops up and off from high interior pressure and low exterior pressure. 

This nightmare scenario is common from hurricanes, whose lateral winds can top 115 mph, and incidentally from tornadoes. Again, though, with modern technology and help from your local roofer, wind uplift can be largely eliminated. 

Firmly anchoring your roof to the walls and annually inspecting your roof are all methods your roofer uses to fight uplift. 

Fix-It Fast

After any kind of wind damage, turn to your roofer to fix the problem fast. Never let wind damage, from minor to major, sit unattended. 

Most wind damage is easily repaired if you contact a trusted, helpful roofer immediately. Contact the professionals of Pro Roofing today to learn how we can help protect your home and roof from wind.