This article provides an overview of different types of roofing materials, highlighting those that offer the most resistance to wind damage. We explore fundamental aspects of wind resistance, focus on specific roofing materials, and discuss the factors to consider when selecting wind-resistant roofing.
Selecting a durable roofing material that can withstand high winds is crucial, especially for homes in hurricane-prone regions. The type of roof and material quality impacts its ability to resist wind uplift forces during storms.
Wind can exert tremendous pressure on a roof's surface, leading to tearing, cracking, and blow-off. Wind-resistant types of roof materials reduce the risk of structural failures that allow wind and water intrusion. They protect the home, building, belongings, and occupants from gusty weather.
A roof's shape, slope, installation method, and material composition determine wind resistance. Steep-sloped and simple roof forms tend to perform better against wind. Proper installation also increases structural stability during storms.
Now that you have a better understanding of the role roofing plays in protecting your building or house from wind, let's look at some of the most common types of roofing materials to see how they stack up against hard-blowing winds:
Asphalt shingles are a very common residential roofing material. Their layered composite construction provides good wind resistance. Heavier-weight shingles with multiple waterproofing layers fare better than basic, lightweight shingles.
Dimensional shingles are thicker and have improved adhesion to resist uplift. Laminated shingles also withstand wind better than basic 3-tab shingles. Still, under extreme winds over 100 mph, damage can occur.
Metal roofs are one of the most wind-resistant options. They are durable and lightweight, with high wind resistance. The panels attach tightly and allow for steep slope designs ideal for wind shedding.
Steel, aluminum, and copper metal roofing withstand hurricane-force winds very well. Standing seam metal roofing is exceptionally strong against wind uplift due to its vertical layering.
Slate roofing is naturally heavy and wind-resistant. The heavy tiles require a strongly reinforced roof deck. Wind uplift resistance depends on slate thickness and proper installation for durability.
Natural slate with stands winds the best. It comes in varying thicknesses, with a thicker slate providing greater wind resistance. Synthetic and composite slate alternatives typically have reduced wind resistance overall.
Clay and concrete tiles do well against wind due to their heavyweight and durable construction combination. The angled tile surface encourages wind shedding. Thicker concrete tiles hold up better than clay in extreme winds.
Concrete tile roofs resist hurricane-level winds very well. Testing shows properly installed concrete tile roofs can withstand winds over 150 mph. Lightweight tile alternatives may not reach the same wind resistance as natural products.
TPO and EPDM rubber roofs are single-ply membranes commonly used on flat commercial buildings. With proper attachment and minimal seams, EPDM roofing stands up reasonably well to moderate wind levels before seams are compromised.
Fully adhered rubber roofing systems perform the best against wind. Loose-laid or ballasted roofs risk more significant uplift and blow-off. Seam failures are also a concern under heavy winds due to membrane flutter and stress.
Wood roofs can withstand moderate winds but are vulnerable to high winds and extreme conditions. The irregular shingle surface catches wind, leading to possible tearing and uplift issues. Proper installation helps avoid wind damage problems.
Thicker wood and properly spaced shingles reduce wind resistance. Heavier wood types like cedar hold up better. Synthetic wood shingles mimic natural wood while resisting more wind load. Untreated wood is the most vulnerable to wind damage over time.
While not traditionally considered a roofing material, solar panels are becoming a popular installation choice for rooftops across the globe. However, home and business owners must consider the wind resistance of these panels, mainly if living in wind-prone areas.
Thinner panels like solar tiles are more wind-resistant than traditional thicker solar panels due to their flush mounting system. Therefore, building and homeowners must consider the wind-resistance capabilities of the chosen solar device and energy efficiency.
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Selecting the correct type of roofing material is crucial for homeowners in areas with high wind speeds. The roof must be durable enough to withstand the wind forces and prevent uplift. Some key factors to consider include:
Denver experiences moderate wind speeds, with the yearly average highest wind speed around 15 mph. However, powerful gusts of 60–80 mph or more can occur with storms. These high-velocity winds apply upward pressure on roofing materials.
On average, Denver sees 6-10 thunderstorm days monthly in the spring and summer. High winds often accompany these storms. Home and building owners need roofing suited for these periodic high-wind events.
The ability of roofing materials to withstand stress and uplift pressure is crucial. Asphalt and composite shingles are budget-friendly but can crack and blow off in high winds. Heavier options like concrete, slate, metal, and clay tiles better resist uplift.
Metal panels with standing seam construction clamp down to the structure. The seams allow the roof to move and flex rather than tear. Wind turbulence is also reduced with smooth metal versus shingles.
Proper installation is critical to wind performance and avoiding repairs or even replacement. Fastener type, placement, and spacing must follow manufacturer specifications tailored to wind zones. Adhesives also bolster shingle binding strength. Closed valleys and sheet metal flashings prevent uplift at seams.
Roof deck attachment to rafters should utilize ties and structural fasteners. Robust underlayments improve uplift resistance as well. A secondary water barrier further protects from blow-offs. Proper ventilation is also vital.
Asphalt shingles are the most economical option but have only fair wind resistance. Higher-quality polymer and fiberglass versions improve durability somewhat. Concrete and clay tiles offer good wind performance for a moderate cost increase.
Metal panels are generally more expensive but provide superior durability and wind resistance. Long life cycles offset costs by reducing frequent replacements. A pleasure craft polymer roof coating adds cost but protects against corrosion. Slate and synthetic slate also have excellent wind ratings but often have steeper price tags.
Roofing and flashing inspections after major storms spot damage early before water intrusion worsens. Reattaching loose shingles, resealing seams, and clearing debris boosts sustainability. Metal, slate, clay tiles, and rubber shingles need little maintenance but require professionals for repairs.
Synthetic and recycled-content options like recycled rubber, metal, and plastic gain points for sustainability. Solar roofing materials are also eco-friendly but can be costly. Vegetative "green" roofs consume carbon dioxide but require high maintenance.
With decades of experience as a construction and roofing contractor, we know what types of roofing materials can withstand wind, snow, hail, and other elements. Whether you have a commercial flat roof or a home protected by standard roof shingles, we are happy to consult with you to choose the best system for your next roof replacement. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step in finding your next high-performance roof.