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Atlanta Roofing: Article About Wind Damage

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Atlanta roofing professionals understand that roofing systems have been created to withstand wind loads that normally occur in the area where they are located. However, very few roofs are designed to be able to withstand extreme winds, such as those that are present during a hurricane or during a tornado.

When the wind moves across the roof, it does not move in a uniform way. The perimeter of the roof will typically experience more wind pressure. Conversely, the center portion of a roof will be exposed to the lowest amount of wind stress.

Depending on the strength of the wind, the direction the wind is blowing and the shape of the roof, there may be negative pressure or positive pressure exerted on a roofing system. Negative pressure is a sucking action, whereas positive pressure is a pushing action.

Wind damage occurs on a roof once the wind is strong enough and starts to move roofing materials like shingles or the roofing membrane itself. Any area of the roof that was weak prior to a heavy wind will be vulnerable to damage. Negative pressure will cause shingles and other roofing materials to curl upwards. Positive pressure will exert force on the underside of roofing material, blowing it away.

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Once the underside of the roofing material is exposed, rain can enter and increase the level of damage.

If this problem is not addressed immediately, wind damage can become cumulative. During a storm, the edge of a roof may lift up. After subsequent storms, it will be pushed up more and more. Over time, the entire corner of insulation can become exposed.

This type of wind damage can be avoided by guaranteeing that the metal edge that serves as the transition point from the flat roof to a vertical wall is strong enough to endure expected wind speeds. Ballasted roofs can be impacted by wind at the perimeter, causing the ballast to move. For this reason, it is important to make sure that the ballast stays level across the entirety of the roof. If it has moved, it should be spread back out.

Debris, such as tree branches, pieces of glass and trash on the street, can cause significant damage when it is blown against a roof. After a major wind event, homeowners should inspect the roof to see if any debris has blown across it. In most cases, heavy winds do not cause a roof to completely blow off. Instead, the roof is intact but full of lacerations from debris. While it is impossible to completely protect a roof from wind damage, commitment to proper maintenance and inspections can help homeowners minimize the amount of damage that wind can do.

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