Here in the Windy City, we are no strangers to wind damage. Nothing is more of a nightmare to a facility manager than the damage strong winds cause to your roof: shifting ballast or separation of the membrane to the roof deck. We cannot control when heavy winds hit, but there are ways to reduce the risk. The degree of this risk depends on a variety of factors, such as what type of roof system your building has, where the building is located, the age of your roof and whether it has been regularly maintained.
What is happening on my roof?
Roofs fail during high winds because negative pressure builds up at the perimeter of the roof, causing wind uplift. When winds roll over a parapet wall, they create a strong pulling force behind the roof’s edge on the flashing and membrane. The faster the winds are traveling, the greater the force. Each new high-wind event is more likely to cause damage to the roof.
Damage from blowing debris
Low-slope roofs should be able to withstand typical wind speeds in their respective areas, but it is impossible to guarantee they will withstand winds that exceed 100 mph. Intense updrafts bring a swirling rain of debris, strong enough to drive tree limbs and glass shards through the roof. Even straight-line gale force winds can throw damaging debris onto the roof. When winds are this high, the entire roof surface should be inspected.
When considering your roofing options, keep common weather conditions in mind. Faulty installation or choosing the wrong system contributes to roof failure during a windstorm. Manufacturers of these systems will not stand behind their warranties if the system was improperly installed or if the winds exceeded the maximum wind speed for a specific type of roof.
Reduce the risk of roof failure from repeated windstorms by having it inspected and repaired after major wind events as well as implementing a maintenance plan. Showalter can take the guesswork out of roof protection for you. If you need a roof replacement, repair, or maintenance plan we are here to help.
Courtesy of North American Roofing