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How To Spot Roof Wind Damage

Some forms of wind damage are obvious – such as when you’re looking up and see blue sky because a large section of the roof is missing. Other forms of roof damage aren’t as obvious, but they undermine the structural integrity of the roof. In these cases, it will eventually lead to you needing to fix some areas, or replace the entire roof. The longer you wait to address subtle leaks and compromised structural elements, the bigger the final bill. Here is a primer on how to spot roof wind damage.

Check the Shingles For Wind Damage

Normal wear and tear on a roof could take the form of roofing shingles missing most of the asphalt granules or a large number curled up at the corners. That means the entire roof surface needs to be replaced, but it doesn’t indicate roof damage. If a lot of the shingles are missing altogether, that’s a sign of wind damage. A sudden appearance of granules in the gutters and drains also indicates the roof is damaged and/or wearing out.

If there are horizontal lines one to inches across beneath the shingles that are missing, this suggests the shingles on top are flapping in the wind hard enough to wear out the underlying shingles. In this case, you’ll need to have the roof repaired, though it may be enough to apply new adhesive to the shingles to hold them in place. You could also get “lifting”. In these cases, the shingles look intact from the ground but the loose shingles combined with high winds lifts them up, letting water underneath. This will make the nails holding them down loose.

What if you don’t have asphalt roof shingles on the roof? Crumbling roofing cement, a decaying fascia and splitting or curling wood shingles are signs your roof has suffered damage or is slowly degrading. Missing wood shingles are a sign of wind damage, while rotting ones indicate water leaks that could have a variety of causes. Mold, mildew and fungus under the shingles may be made worse by water blown under them, but that’s more an indicator of the roof’s poor overall condition than wind damage.

There Are Quite a Few Things on the Roof

Significant winds will blow things up on the roof. Piles of leaves should be scraped off the roof, but that’s not a problem in and of itself unless they’re clogging your gutters. It is heavier debris like tree branches and shards of glass piling up on the roof that create problems. For example, a tree branch or pieces of glass sliding around on the roof will cut into the shingles and eventually damage the roof membrane. Multiple tree branches or a large one will put so much weight on the roof that it may simply collapse, too. Once you realize this is a problem, you’ll want to start trimming back the trees around your house. Or you’ll need to patch the holes in the roof to stop the water leak you’ve discovered because the debris has already breached the roof membrane.

If you aren’t sure if the roof membrane has been pierced, go up in the attic and look for leaks. If there are damp spots in the insulation or dripping water, call a roofer to get it repaired as soon as possible.

The Major Structural Elements of the Roof Are Damaged

Roof flashing exists to seal the gaps in the roof membrane and keep water out. If the flashing has tears or is buckling, your roof has suffered major wind damage and needs to be repaired. Chimney flashing is particularly prone to tearing loose because the chimney stands separately from the house. A major red flag is if you see this plus missing bricks or cracked joints. Split flashing is another warning sign.

If you have a flat roof, blisters, cracks, tears and wrinkles indicate problems that need to be addressed. Bent or sagging gutters could be due to roof damage, but they always need to be repaired. Missing sections of gutter or missing downspouts might have been lost in the last storm or rusted away, but they need to be replaced and repaired, too.

If the shingles around structural elements like ridge vents and soffits are curling or missing, that’s not wind damage but it does indicate water leaks and roof damage.

For Cincinnati roofing assistance, contact Harper Siding and Roofing today!