Gale Force Winds – How They Affect Your Home

The recent extreme weather seen across areas of South England and Wales saw widespread flooding devastate whole towns and communities. Much of the focus was on the rainfall, which was record breaking in its intensity.

However, problems were also caused by strong, often gale force, winds whipping the homes and commercial buildings in the area and beyond into the rest of the UK. Trees were uprooted, debris was thrown everywhere and the lives of people and livestock was put at risk. Even major sporting fixtures had to be cancelled, with Everton’s home tie against Crystal Palace called off when tiles and a chimney stack fell into nearby Goodison Road, and other materials were blown across the pitch.

Roofing Damage

Roofs took much of the brunt of these winds, and many are still dealing with their effects in the aftermath of the storms. Some of the damage caused by high winds is obvious – from missing tiles to dislodged chimney stacks; falling guttering to holes caused by flying debris and tree branches. However, the wind could also have caused damage that isn’t clear to the naked eye, potentially putting the efficacy and safety of your roof at risk.

As the wind rarely applies level pressure all over the roof, there are some areas that end up taking more of the strain than others. This can have the effect of forcing shingles to curl upwards, especially around the perimeter, where the roof is most vulnerable. Similar to the way in which aeroplane wings operate, winds flowing underneath the overhanging roofline push upwards, accentuated by air flowing over the top of it which has a pulling effect. In extreme cases, this can force the roofline away from the top of the building, which can be highly dangerous.

Falling Debris

Roofing materials that are already loose become particularly exposed during high winds. This can be anything from shingles and tiles to flashing or parts of the membrane itself, and anywhere that these materials are not secure will see the wind getting in below them and lifting them away from the roof, potentially creating space for rain to enter the building.

The most common form of damage that your roof is susceptible to during high winds is as a result of flying debris. Checking your roof after a storm is important to assess what has been blown across it, as tree branches, rocks, stone, glass and other materials are more than capable of cutting or puncturing your roof’s surface; again compromising its capacity to remain waterproof.

Deceiving Roof Damage

Even if you can’t spot any serious indentations caused by debris, check your gutters and downpipes. Leaves, mud and more will have blown into these, blocking the flow of water from any future downpours. Water gathering in your gutters can overflow down the side of your home, and some can flow back under your shingles causing a leaking roof and serious damp problems inside your home.

When inspecting your roof, it’s safest to remain on ground level and use binoculars to check for damage. Using a ladder requires a number of health and safety guidelines to be followed, and can be very hazardous if winds are still high. When in doubt, contact professional roofers who can assess your roof and provide any necessary repairs and maintenance.

Posted on 03 March 2014 in Roof Damage.

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