Wind Damaged Roof Shingles

After the holidays this year, Rock’s Roofing, Inc received a lot of calls about possible and actual wind damage to roof shingles. If you were in the Denver area on Christmas Day, you experienced the high winds that hit that day and continued the following weeks. On the roofs that we inspected in January, we found three main reasons why there was wind damage to roof shingles.

Low Quality Shingles


The quality of shingles installed plays a large part in how well a roof can hold up to severe weather. The first property we inspected north of Denver had a lower quality shingle installed years before. The average shingle has a wind rating of 60 MPH. For the Denver Metro area, we don’t think this rating is high enough. At Rock’s Roofing, Inc. we recommend shingles with a wind rating of at least 130 MPH. And, we recommend shingles especially formulated for this region of the country. The extreme hot and cold differences within a year take a toll on roofs in this climate.

Low Quality Installation

Even if you install high quality shingles, they will not withstand a severe wind storm if they are not installed correctly. A property in Parker that we inspected had missing shingles due to improper installation. One of the most important installation factors is how and where the nails are driven in the shingles. Other installation factors include how the shingles are patterned and the time of year they are installed.

Nailing errors are the main cause of improper installation. Over-driven nails cut into the shingle and can often times go straight through the asphalt shingle. This generally happens when the compressor is set too high on pneumatic nail guns. Nails driven in at an angle are another common nailing error. Nails installed at an angle allow the edge of the nail head to cut into the shingle. Both of these installation errors leave the shingle attached only by the self-sealing sealant on the back of the shingle. It wouldn’t take very much wind to curl or blow off the shingle. The third nailing error is when a nail is driven in above the sealing strip. Nailing above the sealing strip increases the chance of shingles being blown off.

Shingle roofs installed when it is too cold, do not seal properly. The outside temperature needs to be above 40 degrees and ideally warmer for the sealant on the shingle to adhere. Shingles should not be installed if it is not warm enough.


How the shingles are placed on the roof is another element to a quality installation. Laddering installation is when the shingles are not offset enough from each other. The shingles are installed straight up the roof and with every other row in the same location. The butt joints are not staggered enough which leave the shingles on the end vulnerable to water and damage. Shingles should be installed with the stair step method to insure the seams do not follow a path straight down the roof. The shingles are offset by approximately 6” so that the joints stagger across the entire roof.

Roof Was Aged

A 3-tab composition shingle should last 20 years and a quality architectural shingle can last 30-50 years. However, severe weather can damage any roof shingle with falling branches and debris. Hail is probably the most common reason for shingle damage. There are impact resistant shingles that hold up to hail, but if the hail is large enough, even these shingles have their limits. A shingle roof already weakened by years of hot and cold temperatures and intense UV rays cannot hold up as well in a severe storm.

Prevent Wind Damaged Roof Shingles

The best way to prevent wind damaged shingles is a proper installation. A quality roof starts with a strong deck. After a solid deck is in place, install a quality shingle. And the final step to a lasting roof is to have the asphalt shingles installed by a certified, quality roofing contractor.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration states that damage to shingle roofing can start at wind speeds of 50 MPH. After a large storm, it is advised to get your roof checked by a certified roofing contractor. Even if you cannot see any missing or torn shingles, they may have been lifted up enough to make them loose and prone to leaks. Call Rock’s Roofing, Inc. for an honest assessment of your roof. We have been installing quality asphalt roofs since 1968.