What You Should Know About Wind Damage to Flat Roofing Systems

Harsh weather conditions can damage your roof in many different ways. Hailstorms, for example, can leave dents and cracks on the roof surface, which can grow bigger over time and leave the system more susceptible to water infiltration. Extreme sunlight, on the other hand, can make the system dry, brittle or blistered depending on the roof material. These conditions already sound bad, but there are also strong winds, which may be even worse. In fact, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Severe Weather Database reported over 16,000 wind damage reports in 2020 alone. 

flat roofing system

Steep roof options, such as cedar shingles, can withstand strong winds to a certain extent, but how about your flat roofing system? 

1. The damage your flat roof sustains will usually depend on the wind’s type and strength. You might think only tornadoes and hurricanes are what you need to watch out for on your roof. But according to the NOAA Severe Weather Database, over half of the damage reported in the lower 48 states are actually caused by thunderstorm winds (which are more common than tornadoes or hurricanes). Their wind speeds can reach up to 100 miles per hour (mph), generating a damage path that can extend for hundreds of miles. Basically, any type of wind should be taken seriously if you want to keep your flat roof intact.

2. Wind damage may vary with each roof type. The damage taken by your flat roofing may be different to that of a steeply pitched cedar shake roof. In the latter, shingles may be loosened and blown off, exposing the underlying components and structure to the elements. This usually occurs around the eaves, rakes and windward corners. Another issue is wind-blown debris, which can crash against the steep roof and create large openings. 

The former can also be damaged by wind uplift pressure, which occurs when strong gusts get underneath the roofing materials and pull them up. Because the material is no longer fully attached to the system, you’ll notice that the roof surface has bubbles or wrinkles. This makes it easy for rain to seep under the flat roof and damage it from the inside. This can be avoided by making sure the flat roof remains properly flashed at the edges. When the flashing – plus the fascia – is fastened securely, it can help lower the potential of wind uplift.

Your flat roof can also be damaged through wind scouring. This happens when strong gusts pull off the granules from the roof membrane or the gravel that’s usually placed as a surface component in built-up roofing (BUR). Wind scouring doesn’t show immediate effects. Instead, it accelerates the deterioration of the “balding” roof membrane, making it lose its weather resistance and shortening its service life. This results in partial or premature roof failure. 

3. Strong winds are broken down into categories. The higher the category, the stronger and more dangerous they are. Here’s a quick overview:

Category 1 hurricane force winds start at 74 to 95 mph, leading to minor roof damage to older roofing systems, plus some amount of damage from trees or debris.

Category 2 begins at 96 to 110 mph, resulting in major isolated damage to flat roofing systems.

Category 3 starts at 111 to 129 mph, allowing for extensive damage to flat roofs. These winds are strong enough to tear off roof decks and sections.

Category 4 begins at 130 to 156 mph, when any type of roof is destroyed, and the interiors of the commercial property are exposed to further damage. In some cases, the building will be irreparably damaged.

4. Severe wind damage to flat roofing can be avoided. Unless the gales are in the higher categories, it can be simple to keep your low-slope roof intact. Regular roof inspection and maintenance from Summit Renovation, Inc can definitely help. We’re not just your residential roof replacement expert; we can also handle your commercial roof maintenance needs. If you suspect there are issues with your flat roof, we can also deal with them promptly through our exceptional repair work. 

More Reasons to Work With Summit Renovation, Inc

Did you know that high-quality commercial roof installation also helps eliminate the potential of severe wind damage? You can count on Summit Renovation, Inc for this. We specialize in flat roofing installation, helping keep your commercial property damage-free and looking great for the long haul. When you turn to us for this project, you can always expect superior results. This, along with a couple of other things, is the reason we remain one of the top roofing companies in the Birmingham metro area and in central and north Alabama.

We are licensed, bonded, and insured – with liability coverage and workers’ compensation – for your greater protection. Whether you turn to us for a flat roofing replacement or cedar shake roof installation, you’re always sure that you’re covered.

Summit Renovation, Inc has over 15 years of experience. Since 2003, we have provided Alabama homeowners and commercial property managers with the highest quality solutions to their roofing needs. No job is too big or too small for us – and we never take shortcuts or allow for callbacks, ensuring your roofing project runs smoothly from start to finish.

We are a service-disabled, veteran-owned small business that is committed to complete client satisfaction and excellent customer service. We will give your project our full attention and treat you with respect and honesty. Our pleased customers know this firsthand, which is why we are always grateful for the feedback we receive. Summit Renovation, Inc is highly rated and reviewed in Houzz, Facebook, Yelp and Angie’s List®. We also maintain the prominent A+ Rating at the Better Business Bureau.

Summit Renovation, Inc is recognized by GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer. To detail, we are a GAF Certified Residential Roofing Contractor, allowing us access to some of the highest quality shingle roofing systems available today, plus the solid warranties included with them. 

But that’s not all – we can also handle your flat roofing needs. We offer thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) roofing systems that ensure reliable, long-lasting weather performance at a reasonable price. You can also augment this top-tier roofing option with our commercial roof coatings, which offer leak-free protection, superior durability and enhanced efficiency. 

Keep your flat roof free from wind damage by turning to Summit Renovation, Inc. We serve Birmingham, AL, and the surrounding areas. Call us today at (205) 994-6383, or fill out this contact form to schedule your consultation.

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