How Natural Weather Disasters Can Impact Your Roof

Strong winds can tear off shingles and tiles
Read Time: 5 minutes
Jun 1, 2022

Your roof is supposed to protect your home from the weather. But sometimes, weather events are severe enough that they can cause damage to your roof. The following natural disasters can impact your roof.

  • Hurricane
  • Tornado
  • Earthquake
  • Strong winds
  • Heavy rain
  • Hailstorm
  • Fire
  • Snowstorm

How Can a Hurricane Impact a Roof?

a building with a roof damaged by a hurricane

Hurricanes are typically made up of both strong winds and heavy rain. Both of these can damage a roof on their own and together, there’s even more potential for damage. The winds could tear off shingles or tiles, or even siding. Winds can also pick up debris from elsewhere and throw it onto your roof, the impact of which could cause physical damage to the roof. If the roof is compromised in any way, then water can get into the house and damage the interior.

How Can a Tornado Impact a Roof?

a house with a tree fallen over onto the roof following a tornado

A tornado can be extremely destructive and stronger hurricanes can demolish entire buildings. The winds from a tornado can throw large items onto a roof or knock over a tree onto a roof and cause structural damage that way. Winds can also rip up either individual shingles and tiles or even entire sections of the roof and then carry them away, leaving a home without the protection of the roof. If a roof is damaged by a hurricane, it’s important to get it repaired as quickly as possible so that water can’t get in if it rains following the tornado.

How Can an Earthquake Impact a Roof?

Damage house after a strong earthquake

Although some parts of the country, such as California, are more prone to earthquakes than others, they can strike anywhere. This is dangerous because buildings outside of earthquake-prone areas aren’t likely to be built with earthquake-proof materials or designs. If an earthquake is strong, then it can damage the entire structure of your home. The foundation could shift or the house could even collapse in the most severe earthquakes. In a situation like this, the roof could crack or even collapse.

How Can Strong Winds Impact a Roof?

a roof with missing shingles due to strong winds

Strong winds may not seem like a major natural weather disaster, but they can cause a significant amount of damage to a roof. Strong winds aren’t typically as bad as some other natural disasters like earthquakes or tornados, which can destroy the entire house. But they can still impact your roof. Strong winds can lift up shingles and tiles. They can weaken the seals on the roof, increasing the chances of shingles blowing off both during the windstorm and later. If the seal on the roof is broken, water can get in and cause damage within the house.

How Can Heavy Rain Impact a Roof?

Ponding water on flat roof covered with tree debris after heavy rain

If there’s already damage on the roof, then water can more easily leak into the house. But heavy rains can also cause damage to the roof, depending on the type of material used to make it. For example, heavy rain can erode the shingles over time as well as other parts of the roof. From there, because the roof is compromised, water can get into the house. Moisture can also penetrate into the underlayment of the roof, causing water damage, including mold and mildew.

How Can a Hailstorm Impact a Roof?

a large hailstone with a ruler measuring it at 5 centimeters

How much damage a hailstorm can cause depends on the size of the hail. Small hailstones may just hit the roof and then melt. Larger hailstones can cause cracks and dings to form on a roof. With larger hail, a hailstone could puncture the roof. It can also weaken the integrity of the roof by damaging the seal.

How Can Fire Impact a Roof?

a roof that’s on fire

If there’s a fire, the home underneath the roof could be damaged, which could impact the structural integrity of the roof and cause it to collapse if enough of the building below is burned. The roof could burn or melt, depending on the material used. In a more minor fire, ash from the fire could clog up the gutters, which in turn could cause water to pool on the roof, which could potentially leak into the house.

How Can a Snowstorm Impact a Roof?

heavy snow built up on a roof

Small amounts of snow most likely won’t cause any damage to a roof. However, if there’s a blizzard or if a lot of snow builds up over time, the weight of the snow can cause damage to a roof. A roof can start to sag under the weight of accumulated snow, which could lead to leaks and structural roof damage.

How Can I Prevent Damage to My Roof?

Not all roof damage is preventable. However, you can minimize the damage your roof experiences by keeping it in good repair. A roof in good condition is better able to withstand the forces of nature. However, in a natural disaster of extreme weather, the best-maintained roof may still be susceptible to some amount of damage. The best thing you can do in that situation is to get your roof repaired afterward as quickly as you possibly can to prevent further damage from occurring.