Wind Damage to Your Roof

View of Las Vegas Strip and gray skies during a windstorm rain and lightning event

We get a lot of windy days here in Las Vegas. Most roofs do fine in our high winds. The majority of Las Vegas roofs are made with ceramic tiles which, when installed correctly and maintained, can weather moderate winds for many decades. However, any roof can develop a weak spot over time from poor installation, prior damage or a loose part, so that when a high wind hits, real damage happens. Homes with asphalt roofs, which are lighter and less durable than tile, are more prone to wind damage. It’s important for all homeowners to take a look at their roofs following a high wind event to make sure any issues are  found before the next weather event comes along to make things worse.

How Does a Windstorm Damage My Roof?

Strong winds in the Las Vegas valley cause damage as they whip up dirt and debris, knock down trees and tree limbs, and can damage buildings when they burrow under loose roof shingles, tiles, gutters, fixtures and other building components. Tile and metal roofs generally resist wind damage better than asphalt or wood shingles, but they can still be damaged. A lot depends on the age and condition of the roof, and sometimes just luck, such as being under a falling tree branch.

Winds over 45 miles an hour are strong enough to cause damage. These high winds happen a number of times a year in our vast desert valley. Our winds can blow for hours, sometimes causing power outages and sandstorm, and halting traffic. Over 55 miles an hour, winds can uproot or topple whole trees. Sometimes all it takes is a single storm, but often the damage is cumulative as our many windy days repeatedly stress the roof, each storm adding to cumulative damage in already damaged or weak spots.

Wind Air Pressure and Roof Parts

Tile roof with broken rain gutter from windstorm damage

Strong winds may send air pressure under and around your roof’s component parts, lifting or loosening them. This often will happen at corners, seams, flashing and where you have already damaged, worn, loose or poorly installed shingle or tiles.. Shingles or other parts may actually be lifted and blown off the roof, and may be found in your yard after the storm. Cumulative damage means rainstorms can lead to roof leaks, rot or mold where the wind damage has exposed the roof underlayment to the elements.

Damage from Flying Debris

missing and broken asphalt shingles on an old rooftop

High winds are notorious for tearing fronds off our palm trees and the dead branches off our palo verde trees. These end up on lawns, in swimming pools, in the street or even on someone’s car. The winds also pick up loose trash and other lightweight items and fling those around. Roofs can be damaged by overhanging tree limbs that come down in a storm, or just items that have blown across your yard and ended up on the roof. Keeping your trees and palms trimmed is the best way to prevent damage from falling limbs when a wind storm eventually hits. Trim even healthy tree branches back from the roof so they don’t scratch and damage the roof as they are whipped around by high winds. Be sure to keep your yard free of items that may blow around to minimize potential impact damage to your home, plants and fencing.

After such an event, homeowners will want to check their yards and plants for damage. That’s also a good time to check for roof damage.

How do I Check My Roof for Wind Damage?

asphalt roof with two uplifted shingles due to wind damage

First, be sure your area is safe, in case of downed electrical wires. Then, take a tour around your home and yard, and inspect the visible roof components. Check gutters and downspouts for loose parts or damage. Also make sure any rain gutters are free of debris so they won’t clog during the next rainstorm.

Check the corners, which are most vulnerable to damage, and major sections of your roof for uplifted or displaced parts. Look for staining or other signs of leaking or prior rain damage while you are inspecting.

Inspect the flashing, or metal fixtures, on your roof. Look for buckling or bent parts. A loose screw can cause them to be lifted up, displaced or bent. Similarly, look at vents for displaced, bent or missing parts.

Inspect the chimney for loose or cracking parts. Settling of the chimney over time can cause some movement in its connection to the roof, so check the flashing surrounding the chimney as well to be sure it is secured.

If you have asphalt or composite shingles, check for missing, torn, displaced or curling shingles. Curling most often happens to shingles around the corners of the roof. Harder to spot are shingles that are lifting up from the nail. These damaged shingles can no longer protect your roof from leaks during a rainstorm and should be replaced. Also look for loss of granulation on the shingles. These granules are important to protect your roof from sun damage and serve as fire protection. You can also identify lost granules if they pile up in gutters and under downspouts.

If you suspect roof damage or just have an aging roof, it’s a good idea to have your roofing company come by after a windstorm and do a roof inspection. They know what to look for and can safely access the roof to check fixtures and areas that cannot be seen from the ground.

Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Wind Damage?


Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover wind and storm damage. If you notice any damage, take pictures and share them with your insurance company. If you file an insurance claim, share that with your roofer. Your roofer will work with the insurance company to plan and complete the repairs and get your roof back to doing its job protecting your home.

Prestige Roofing in Las Vegas has been helping homeowners in the Las Vegas Valley with roof repairs for over 25 years. Give us a call at 702-646-7536 for a free estimate today.