As we see too often on the news, wind damage can devastate a home. But what exactly causes the damage we see? High wind speeds? Yes. High wind pressure? Also, yes. But the number one source of wind damage to a home is flying debris. Now that you know this you’re one step closer to owning a home that can withstand a windstorm.  

What kinds of damage can a windstorm do to my roof?

Many people confuse wind speed and wind pressure. High pressure winds stay lower to the ground and around the corners and edges of the roof, which causes roof layers (decking panels, felt, flashing, shingles, etc.) to peel. To keep those high pressure winds outside, a professional roofer  will inspect the edging, which seals gaps between the roof and exterior walls. Replace damaged edging right away to prevent further damage and keep wind, rain and extreme temperatures outside where they belong.

How do I save money on weatherproofing my house?

A home should be built to resist wind coming from all directions. A well-built home has a strong envelope, which is basically the skeleton of the home: the foundation, outer walls and roof. Wind can blow a hole in the envelope (like in the siding) or break doors or windows, and even the slightest damage will weaken the structure of your home. Your house should have doors and windows that are strong and stable enough to keep the scary weather outside.

Hurricane Alley versus Tornado Alley

The good thing about living in a hurricane-prone area (as compared to a tornado-prone area, for example) is that you have enough warning to prepare. You know to secure furniture and other outdoor possessions so that they can’t be picked up by the wind.  But other flying debris like tree branches and shingles from neighboring homes can clog gutters, downspouts and destroy your home’s building envelope. It’s important to ensure the roof is sealed down tight, but that alone doesn’t guarantee that your post-hurricane roof will be damage-free. It will, however, greatly increase the chances that you will still have a roof once the storm has subsided. Additionally, if you can figure out exactly what debris damaged your roof, then you are better educated to discuss effective solutions with a professional roofing contractor.

How can I protect my roof from water damage during a windstorm?

It’s common to notice gaps or holes only after a leak starts. A qualified roofing consultants will inspect your roof and locate and seal these gaps before they become serious problems. They will do the same for wall features like vents, pipes and windows. It’s important that all materials are installed properly, so it’s important that you hire a trusted professional to get the job done quickly and correctly. Proper flashing installation seals your home from rain. Leak sources tend to be where two parts of the roof come together, like a ridge or valley, or where the roof meets a wall, chimney or vent. Rain propelled by high winds will find its way into any small gap or hole in your home. Take care of these repairs before the real damage is done: All it takes is having a professional remodeler find and seal the gaps, and verify that your home is built to withstand violent weather. Plus, the inspection will ensure that your house is up to code, which eliminates the worry of paying fines.

What if I don’t want to spend money fixing a leak that may not even exist?

Let’s say you’ve decided not to spend the money on precautionary measures, and you’re going to just sit tight and hope the approaching storm avoids your home. Then, let’s say the actual storm blows straight through your neighborhood. Hopefully your home was designed and constructed extremely well, but if not, chances are the damage was done higher up (as in, to the roof).
Keep in mind that the source of a leak may not be where you see it, and this is why water damage repairs should be made by a professional: Since a water stain doesn’t always tell you where the source of the leak is, a professional will remove the damaged interior wall to locate the source, seal the leak and replace the drywall. Whatever your home is made of (wood, plaster, masonry, concrete), you’ll need to get wind or rain damage fixed right away, because the longer you wait, the weaker the structure of your home will be, and the higher the repair costs will become.

Not sure if your home’s building envelope fits the bill?

Hire a professional contractor  to investigate! If you ignore minor issues they’re likely to become bigger problems, so better to take care of small problems as you see them, before the repairs get too expensive.