What Wind Speed Causes Roof Damage?

Roof shingles usually can tolerate up to 60 mile per hour winds but it depends on the series of the shingle for high wind ratings. However, if you live in a tornado or hurricane-prone area, you may want to go for a metal roof that can combat winds up to 140 miles per hour.

High winds begin at a sustained 40 mph or 50 mph gusts. Even with hours of howling winds, those gusts do not hit your rooftop at an even rate. The corners, angles, and ridge are all equally susceptible to wind damage, such as curling, ripping, tearing, and lifting shingles away from the roof.

For significant types of roofing and cladding work, the guidance gives upper limits on wind speeds when work must cease immediately. Most of the work undertaken by roofers must stop at 23 mph (10 m/s), and many other activities have a lower limit of 17 mph (7.7 m/s).

Winds above 50-60 mph can rip a roof off, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL). However, if you live in a hurricane-prone area, a roof should be designed to handle up to 150 mph winds. In which case, winds above that threshold can cause significant damage to the roof.

High winds can have enough force to lift roofs off of homes, but how does this happen? When air pressure under a roof gets too high, this causes an upward push. When wind pulls at a roof from outside at the same time, this can cause it to be blown off entirely.

Signs of wind damage on a roof include loose or missing shingles, chimney issues, curling or peeling shingles, granule loss, damaged soffit or fascia and indoor leaks. High winds can also cause tree branches to fall and damage a roof. Like hail, wind can cause loss of granules (the sandpaper-like part of the shingle).

Tropical Storm winds 60 to 73 mph gusts to 95 mph: Poorly constructed or unsecured mobile homes will be destroyed and others will have substantial damage. Houses of poor to average construction will have partial wall and roof failure as well as blown out windows.

What wind speed can the average house withstand? According to a report by FEMA, new wood-frame houses constructed according to building codes perform well structurally, in winds up to 150 mph, while a steel homes can withstand winds up to 170 mph.

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