Bracing Your Roof For The Storm: How To Best Protect Your Roof From Extreme Storm Damage

Is your roof ready for a severe storm? The high-speed winds and driving rain during an extreme weather event place a massive stress on your roof – shingles can crack or break off and your roof may be lifted off of your home entirely. To prevent extensive water damage and roof failure, it's important to protect your roof against storm damage by trimming away tree branches and reinforcing your home against the forces of high-speed winds. Here's how to best protect your roof from storm damage.

Eliminate Any Tree Branches That Overhang Your Roof

The most important thing you can do to prevent damage to your roof during a storm is to trim back any tree branches that overhang your roof. Making sure there are no tree branches within five feet of your roof is ideal. Damaged or diseased tree limbs will break off even in moderate storms due to the force of the wind and rain.

While the worst-case scenario is a large tree limb falling on your roof and smashing through it, smaller limbs can also result in catastrophic damage. They'll pick up momentum when they fall down to your roof and can easily pierce asphalt shingles or cause them to break off. When that happens, you'll end up with a leaky roof. Water leaking into your home can cause severe mold problems and can cause your roof sheathing to rot. If you don't patch the leak, your sheathing can rot to the point where it will no longer be able to support the weight of the roof and cause your roof to collapse. Since small branches falling on your roof can end up causing severe damage, it's important to trim every branch that hangs over the roof. 

Improve the Impact Resistance of Your Windows and Garage Door

Windows and garage doors are the weak points in your home during an extreme storm. Debris carried by high-speed winds can break through them, creating an opening that allows those high-speed winds to gust forcefully into your home. This is bad news for your roof because the winds blowing into your home create upward pressure on your roof while wind blows across it from the outside, creating a lifting force. Older roofs typically were not designed to withstand being pushed up from the inside. If you've ever seen pictures of the aftermath of a tornado, it sometimes appears as if houses exploded from the inside – this is caused by the roof being lifted off of the house due to the upward lifting force and causing the outer walls of the house to fall outwards.

In order to protect your roof and keep it securely anchored to your home, you need to make sure that debris aren't able to break your windows or garage door and create an opening. You can install new impact-resistant windows or install storm shutters to protect your windows from debris. To fortify your garage door, you can upgrade it to a storm-resistant version that reinforces it against wind pressure.

Reinforce Your Roof With Connectors and Straps

You can also protect your roof from the lifting forces created by a broken window or garage door in order to minimize the chances of your roof being pulled off. This doesn't require you to install an entirely new roof – a roofing professional can reinforce your roof against upward pressure by installing connectors, braces and storm straps. These connect the trusses in your roof to the rafters and then connect the rafters to the studs in your home's foundation, creating a solid network of support that is more resistant to extreme pressure caused by lifting force.

If your roof is damaged during a storm, contact a professional roofing service to inspect and repair your roof as soon as possible. When water leaks into your home through your roof, you run the risk of developing rot in your sheathing, rafters or trusses. You also may develop mold problems in your home. Repairing the leak quickly and sealing your roof against the elements helps to prevent storm damage from progressing to more severe and more expensive problems.