The Impact of Strong Winds on Your Roofing System

Every season of the year presents its own unique weather challenges for your commercial roof to handle. In the spring, along with increased precipitation in much of the country comes more intense wind. Strong wind can have a significant impact on the integrity of your commercial roof system in several ways:

  • Wind uplift. This is a common problem with flat membrane roof systems. If you have a wind uplift problem, you’ll see it exhibited if sections of the roof billow when the wind is blowing. This happens because wind moving across the rooftop reduces air pressure above the building. The relatively stronger air pressure inside pushes up against the bottom of the membrane. The stronger the wind, the stronger the uplift.
  • Perimeter problems. The edge of your commercial roof bears the brunt of strong wind forces, whether on the surface itself or the exterior, where gutters and other plastic and/or metal details are attached. If these components are not secured properly, wind can pry them from the building and they can become projectiles, endangering people on the ground. Also, these pieces likely help hold your roofing membrane in place, so if they detach from the building, your roofing system will probably become compromised.
  • Small openings becoming larger. It’s important that small gaps in the seams of your roof’s deck sheets and flashings be re-sealed or welded, preferably before being exposed to strong winds. These forces can pull at the increased surface area in the gaps and, over time, can widen those gaps to the point where moisture can penetrate. This is most likely to occur at the perimeter where winds are stronger but can happen anywhere on your roof.
  • Scouring. Some roofing systems, notably built-up and EPDM, have a layer of rock ballast applied over the top to both hold it in place and to protect it from the elements. Scouring (or scrubbing) occurs when a strong wind event (or multiple) blows rooftop ballast stone around, potentially damaging the roof’s surface, and leaving it exposed to severe weather.

All of these issues should be addressed a soon as possible to help preserve the longevity of your roofing system. It may be necessary to bring in a professional, experienced contractor to take care of these “roof system” problems:

  • Securing membrane that uplift forces have separated from the deck.
  • Reattaching metal components on the edge and elsewhere.
  • Re-sealing / welding small gaps in the roof membrane to guard against water penetration. Your own maintenance team may be able to make sure that ballast remains evenly distributed across your rooftop.

Our team of experienced commercial roof professionals is ready to serve you. Call on Tusing for all your roofing needs (866) 584-2712