What is the Best Roof for High Wind Storms?

Palm trees blowing in a hurricane

In communities across the country that have to deal with big storms every year, a question you hear a lot is “What’s the best roof for high wind storms?” While roof construction and quality are very important, some materials hold up better to wind than others. In areas with high winds, it’s important to know which roof is the best to weather the storm.

A Tale of Two Storms

Let’s take a look at two different high wind storms in different parts of the country: Hurricane Michael in Florida in 2018, and the big wind storm we had in Las Vegas in February 2021.

Hurricane Michael blasted its way into the Florida Panhandle at 155 miles per hour, with wind gusts up to 129 mph. Insurance claims totaled more than $6 billion in damages from the storm. More than 40,000 homes were damaged or destroyed, primarily by the high winds. 

But there were eye-popping images of a group of houses bunched together in Mexico Beach, FL. Five houses with metal roofs were virtually untouched by the high winds. The surrounding houses that didn’t have metal roofs were wrecked.

clouds and ray of sun over the red rock mountains

In the Las Vegas storm in February 2021, trees were uprooted, traffic light poles were knocked down and a lot of homes and commercial businesses suffered damage to their roofs. The heaviest winds recorded in that storm clocked in at 72 mph at the North Las Vegas Airport, with gusts in the 50 to 70 mph range. Even though the storm’s winds were less than half as strong as the winds of Hurricane Michael, they still managed to do a lot of structural damage to roofs.

When a roof fails due to high winds, the damage can be very extensive. Once the roof is ripped off a structure by high winds, the rest of the building is unlikely to stay intact. Having the right roof in place can protect your entire home and your belongings. And, it may protect people and pets if you are caught at home in a dangerous storm.

Storms are increasing in frequency. And they are getting bigger and stronger. If your roof is aging, or just not built to withstand today’s weather, investing in a new roof might be something to consider.  A storm-resistant roof can protect you and your home. Talk to your insurance company, too, in case they have programs to save you money. After all, one less insurance claim after a storm is good for them, too.

But what kind of roof should you consider to get the best storm resistant roof for your home?

Before we discuss materials, fundamentally, the most important factor in a roof surviving a wind event is going to be quality installation. Any roof, no matter the materials, may fail if it is not properly constructed. If the components are not properly laid out and connected, or the roof is not correctly framed with properly spaced purlins, these construction defects mean the roof can more easily be lifted up, causing damage and possibly total roof failure. It’s important to have any roof installation done by proven professional roofers. 

Metal Roofs Are the Best

roof view of thick sturdy wind proof copper roofing on luxury Las Vegas home

Roofs can be damaged not only by wind, but by flying debris, hail or intense rains. Rain may be driven by wind up and under roof shingles that warp and eventually fail. The best roof materials minimize the possibility for uplift. Roof materials play a role in minimizing damage.

Both tile and slate roofs are heavy enough to withstand most storm winds. Concrete tiles are more durable than clay tiles and so would be more storm-resistant. Both these materials, if properly installed, can be considered in areas where storms are a factor. But, in very intense storms, because the roof is made up of so many tiles, and especially if there is pre-existing damage to any of the tiles, say, from prior wind events, the roof may still fail. Regular inspection is important to spot any potential issues before the next storm hits.

Overall, however, metal offers the best storm-resistance when selecting a roof material. Because of its strength and durability, its form in large sheets rather than small tiles, and its construction, professionals agree that metal roofing performs the best overall in storm situations. Metal may be copper, zinc, aluminum or zinc, but they all have common features that help them survive a storm. The interlocking panels and interlocking installation methods of metal roof construction prevent heavy storm winds or rain from getting underneath the panels, which is what tends to peel a roof apart during a storm. Unlike other forms of roofing, metal roofing does not use adhesive, but instead has only mechanical fasteners, so that there is no washing away or aging of adhesive that allows asphalt shingles, for example, to loosen and blow away. 

Metal roofs are strong enough to withstand winds up to 140 mph and wind gusts up to 180 mph. In Hurricane MIchael, an entire group of houses  in Mexico Beach, FL with metal roofs were left standing, while all of their neighbors’ homes were devastated. 

Metal roofing, particularly copper and zinc, can last for decades and even longer, with very little upkeep required, and will continue to be storm and wind resistant. These metal roofs are a superior choice in wet areas that experience frequent wind and rain storms. They don’t corrode or rust, so they stay strong and beautiful through the years.

Regular Care & Inspection of Your Roof

Roofer on rooftop repairing shingles

Whatever material your roof is made from,  you can prolong the life of your roof and prevent damage in a future storm by performing a little routine upkeep every year. We have a list of recommended DIY roof maintenance tips that can help you keep your roof in good shape year-round. Regular roof inspections are also a good idea. It’s important to have a roof inspection done following a significant weather event to catch and repair damage that, if left as is, may cause significant damage or even cause the roof to fail in the next storm. 

Prestige Roofing – Metal Roofing Specialists

wind resistant copper roofing on a large luxury Las Vegas home

Prestige Roofing provides new roofs, roof replacement and repair throughout Clark County Nevada. We work on many different types and styles of roofs, but copper and metal roofs are our specialty. Some of Prestige Roofing’s past clients include: Queensridge Towers, Tivoli Village, the residence of performers Siegfried and Roy, the Nevada Supreme Court cupola, and the UNLV Architecture Studio. If you’re in Las Vegas, Henderson or surrounding areas in Southern Nevada and you’d like a free roof repair estimate, get in touch with us today!