Has a wind storm recently blew through our area, leaving many homeowners with blown off shingles, I wanted to share some thoughts on the causes, what can be done to minimize the chances, and what you can do to protect yourself in the future if they do blow off.
Let’s start with the obvious. All products are designed, rated, tested and manufactured to meet most common environmental conditions. So, under extreme conditions such as tornado level winds, nobody expects shingles to stay on the roof when even your roof trusses/framing/walls may not survive.
That said, most of the wind levels or wind gusts we recently had in the area were only in the 90-100 kph range, and most shingle manufacturers have wind warranties in the 110 -125 kph range. So why did your shingles blow off? Having personally inspected many of the affected roofs myself, I can attest that all shingles are not created equal. Just like most industries, there are always manufacturing leaders in design and performance. Some shingles simply are not designed or manufactured as well as others, and some shingles do not seal as well as others do, a bad seal allows the wind to get under the shingle and once it does it is unlikely to survive. Thus, I would always recommend, before installing a roof, speaking with a qualified roofing professional as they will be able to guide you toward using products that perform better. A qualified roofer wants to sell you these products not because they may be more money, as the cost difference is minimal, but because better products lead to better roofs and happier customers. More Satisfied customers mean more testimonials, more referrals, more likes and ultimately more business.
The other most common failure is the result of poor workmanship. Yes, you may know a guy, that knows a guy that can do a roof for you on the weekend and maybe save you a few dollars, but when your roof blows off the true costs can be great. There is little to no recourse with the ‘Weekend Warrior’ installer as they typically offer a ‘tail light warranty,’ as in once the trucks tail lights are out of sight so is the workmanship warranty! Shingles that are either laid out too high, too low, improperly nailed and where proper starter strips haven’t been used can result in a failure. Additionally, most manufacturer’s warranties include provisions voiding warranties when such installation problems are apparent. Having your roof professionally installed reduces the chances of the roof itself being improperly installed and thus keeps you covered by the both the roofing companies workmanship warranty and the manufacturer’s labor and material warranties.
Finally, if you look up at your roof where shingles have blown off and can see the wood deck, then you are at a great risk for additional loss should there be rain in the forecast. All top tier roofing companies are strongly recommending, in some cases even mandating, that a synthetic underlayment is installed on your roof. The synthetic underlayments used today are very tear resistant, offer sealing around the nails and are applied to the entire deck before shingling over. When in place they redirect any water all the way down the roof over the drip edge. It is at a small additional cost on the entire job that will buy you the peace of mind that your roof is further protected should some shingle blow off occur.
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