A single storm can destroy a roof in many cases. And ironically, one of the biggest factors in damage to a roof is windblown debris — often the debris of other people’s failed roofs. But there are things you can do to protect your roof and therefore your home.
A roofing system isn’t just a layer of protection. It’s several layers and includes strong fastening of the roof to the walls of the home, the right design for the shape of the home, good roof decking, the best underlayment and then finally the right top layer.
Specifically, here are five tips that can help you make sure your home has the best roof for high winds:
1. Start with good structural design. Your home’s floor plan is the first thing to consider. An intelligent floor plan can reduce the wind load on the roofing system of your home, making it less likely to fail. In general, square, hexagonal and octagonal floor plans perform the best. These floor plans increase wind resistance. It’s also a good idea to have a 30-degree sloped hip-style roof with multiple slopes for the best possible performance.
2. Get the underlayment right. A wind-resistant roofing material won’t help you very much if the decking system below isn’t any good. When having a new roof installed, make sure that rotted or damp wood is removed and that particleboard is replaced with stronger, heavier plywood. Then, make sure that ring-shanked nails no more than 6 inches apart are used for fastening. Standard roofing felt on top of the underlayment can help make it more durable and moisture-resistant. Protect roof vents, soffit vents and other secondary systems from uplift as well to avoid creating vulnerabilities for your roof and home.
3. Understand that fasteners matter. No matter what kind of roof you install, nails work better than staples. Some states have even banned roof staples. For the best possible strength on an asphalt roof, considering asking for six nails per shingle instead of four. These should be ring-shanked, 8D nails with water-resistant gaskets around them for the best possible results and to keep your roof from becoming a victim of your next windstorm.
4. Keep overhangs small for less uplift. Long and dramatic overhangs may look nice, but roof failure can occur as a result of strong wind coming up under those large overhangs and prying up the roof deck. When you keep overhangs to no more than 20 inches, you’re improving the structural integrity of your home. Take note that extended awnings and add-on porches can also work like overhangs to catch wind and compromise your roof.
5. Consider wind-resistant metal roofing. Some metal roofing can withstand winds of more up to 150 miles per hour — more than most homes can handle. And when metal roofing is installed with vertical seems in a continuous pane from eave to peak, there are few places where wind can enter to cause failure. With shingles, wind can get underneath some rows and pull away a number of shingles, but failure is less likely with properly installed metal roofing. Plus, metal roofing can have a warranty of 40 year, 50 years or more and requires almost no maintenance.
When you make the right choices, you can dramatically increase the chances of your roof withstanding any high winds that may come your way. And in this area, there will always be high winds. The only questions are how high the winds will be, when they will happen and how well prepared you are for them.