Can High Winds Really Damage a Roof? How Strong Do They Need To Be?

September 15, 2022

Understanding How Mother Nature Could
Affect Your Roof

The wind is always a worry here in Houston, TX. Whether we are dealing with the tropical storm season or we have a quick-developing front – the wind can pack a gusty punch.

When we do deal with gusty winds, how are these winds affecting the roof of your home? The wind is a legitimate worry for every homeowner, so it is important to understand how wind affects your Houston, TX roof.

Can Wind Damage Your Roof? 

Yes, the wind will most definitely damage your roof. Whether you are dealing with sudden wind gusts or a consistent wind, it can be an issue.

In fact, in 2020, the NOAA Severe Weather Database reported over 16,000 cases of wind damage, and many of these reports stated roof damage.

How Strong Do Winds Have To Be To Cause Damage
To Your Roof?

Believe it or not, winds do not have to be super strong to cause damage to your Houston, TX, roof. If your roof is older or weakened, even a slight breeze can cause shingles to be lifted. This can allow rain to migrate to the underside of the shingles, resulting in possible damage long-term.

But what speed do winds need to reach for it to be a threat? When wind speeds hit 39 miles per hour (defined as gale force winds), you must start worrying.

In the Houston, TX area, winds hitting the 58 to 74 mph mark can cause significant damage to most roofs, even newer ones. This wind speed can cause trees to be uprooted, rip off shingles in good condition, and even cause damage to chimneys.

Once the wind hits 75 mph or higher, it can cause severe damage to Houston, TX, homes, and commercial businesses. At this speed, there have even been instances when mobile homes have been flipped.

Types Of Winds Causing Damage 

Winds are classified by how fast they move and the type of wind experienced. There are four types of winds you need to be aware of that could cause damage to your roof.

1. Hurricane Winds 

Here in Houston, we have all experienced winds that occur in conjunction with a hurricane. Every Houstonian knows when hurricanes are common, and how to prepare.

Hurricanes bring winds that are often more than 74 mph, which we know can cause serious damage. Winds from a hurricane usually max out at 200 mph, and depending upon the hurricane’s strength will determine just how strong of a wind we are seeing.

2. Tornado Winds 

Tornadoes are not something we experience frequently in the Houston area, but the winds that come with tornadoes can be problematic. Tornadoes are classified with an EF system, which stands for enhanced Fujita, of 1 to 5.

  • EF-0 is considered a light tornado with wind speeds of 65 – 85 mph
  • EF-1 is moderate, with wind speeds of 86 – 110 mph
  • EF-2 has wind speeds of 111 – 135 mph
  • EF-3 brings wind speeds of 136 – 165 mph
  • EF-4 is a devastating tornado with wind speeds of 166 – 200 mph
  • EF- 5 is any tornado that has winds of 200+ mph

What makes tornadoes even more damaging to your roof is that with wind, you often deal with rounds of hail, which is like double torment to your roof.

3. Straight-Line Winds 

Straight-line winds are often seen during thunderstorms. These straight-line winds can be as powerful as a tornado without rotation. It is not unheard of to register straight-line winds that are 100 mph.

4. Derecho Winds 

Derecho winds are straight-line but widespread as they extend more than 240 miles across. Derecho winds will have gusts that may get faster, slow down, and even spawn tornadoes.

Identifying Wind Damage To Your Roof 

Whenever you have a weather event with winds hitting at least 45 mph, you need to check your roof for any damage. Remember, you can opt for a free inspection of your roof to determine if your roof needs repair or replacement.

With this being said, there are several signs that you can look for that showcase wind damage. Signs of damage may include:

  • Shingles that are loose or missing
  • Curling or peeling of shingles
  • Damage to chimney
  • Signs of leaks indoors

Wind Damage And Insurance 

Most Houston, TX homeowners will have home insurance, and in many cases, wind damage is covered by your policy. In theory, working with your insurance should be pretty straightforward.
Unfortunately, many people discover it is more complex than they thought.

The key to getting wind damage covered by your insurance is proving it was wind damage that caused the roof issues. An inspection of the roof can determine not only the extent of the damage but the cause of said damage. The information can be presented to your insurance company to ensure your company realizes your claim should be approved.

Here at Houston Roofing & Construction, we have worked with countless homeowners to help through the insurance claim process for wind damage and can do the same for you.

Call For A Free Houston, TX Roof Inspection

If you believe your Houston, TX roof has wind damage, don’t sit back and let the damage worsen. Call Houston Roofing & Construction for a free roof inspection of your home at 832-237-3737, or contact us via our website.

Request Your
Free Roof Estimate