Regarding roofing materials, one key factor to consider is their wind resistance. In areas prone to strong winds, such as coastal regions or hurricane-prone zones, it is crucial to have a roofing system that can withstand the force of the wind. Asphalt shingle roof systems are classified based on wind speeds, unlike membrane roof systems, which are classified for wind uplift. In this article, we will explore the wind resistance of asphalt shingles and understand why it is an essential feature to consider when selecting roofing materials.

Let me provide a brief overview of the wind-resistance methodologies for asphalt shingle roof systems.


Understanding Wind Resistance Standards for Asphalt Shingles

Wind resistance in roofing refers to the ability of a roofing system to resist damage caused by wind forces. It is measured in terms of the wind rating or wind speed the roof can withstand without incurring damage. A higher wind rating indicates a stronger wind resistance. The wind resistance of asphalt shingles depends on various factors, including their composition, installation techniques, and maintenance practices.


What is ASTM D3161, and Why Does it Matter?

The ASTM D3161 standard is a comprehensive method for evaluating the wind resistance of asphalt shingles designed explicitly for steep-slope roofing products. Subjecting test deck specimens to steady air streams at varying speeds, this test measures the durability of asphalt shingles under turbulent weather conditions.

The Test:
During the test, at least two specimens are exposed to wind velocities of 60, 90, or 110 mph for two hours. Intense scrutiny is applied to detect any damage or disengagement of sealed tabs, indicating failure.

Based on the results, asphalt shingle test specimens that sustain the two-hour test duration at 60 mph are classified as Class A. Those withstanding 90 mph are classified as Class D, while those withstanding 110 mph earn the prestigious Class F classification.

Accuracy and Limitations:
However, it is essential to note that the wind speeds experienced in real-life circumstances may not directly align with the results of this test. ASTM D3161 does not account for building height, mean roof height, building exposure, building importance factor, or risk category.

Evolution of the Standard:
Initially published in 1972, ASTM D3161 has undergone several revisions to enhance its effectiveness. The original version focused solely on testing at 60 mph, but subsequent updates included testing at higher velocities of 90 mph and 110 mph, introducing new classifications.

Proven Performance:
Throughout its history, asphalt shingles that have successfully passed the ASTM D3161 wind-resistance test have consistently demonstrated outstanding durability and performance in real-world conditions.


What is ASTM D7158, and why Does it Matter?

ASTM D7158 provides a method for calculating the uplift force exerted by the wind on a specific shingle and comparing it to its mechanical uplift resistance. By determining the shingle’s rigidity and bond strength, this test helps determine its ability to withstand wind forces.

Originally published in 2005, ASTM D7158 was formulated using the ASCE 7-02 methodology. It divided shingles into Class D, G, and H based on their ability to withstand specific wind speeds, with Class H providing the highest resistance at 150 mph.

Since then, ASTM D7158 has undergone revisions, and the 2016 version now references ASCE 7-10. This update resulted in changes to the wind-speed classifications, aligning them with ASCE 7-10’s ultimate design wind speeds (Vult). Class D now signifies resistance up to 115 mph, Class G up to 150 mph, and Class H up to an impressive 190 mph.

While the classifications of ASTM D7158-16 apply to Category I through IV buildings, Ground Roughness B or C, and building heights up to 60 feet, different parameters require additional engineering calculations. For reliable results outside the standard parameters, consult shingle manufacturers to obtain the necessary data.

By utilizing ASTM D7158, you can ensure the utmost durability and performance of your asphalt shingles, providing peace of mind in the face of challenging wind conditions. Stay ahead of the curve with this indispensable standard for wind resistance assessment.


The Science Behind Wind Resistance

The science behind wind resistance involves the interaction between the wind and the roofing system. When wind blows over a roof, it creates positive and negative pressures on the surface. Positive pressure lifts the shingles, while negative pressure pulls them down. Asphalt shingles are designed to resist these forces by their structural composition and interlocking features. The ability to withstand high winds depends on the shingle’s design and fastening system.

One important aspect of wind resistance is the role of the roof’s shape. A steep-sloped roof, for example, is more resistant to wind uplift than a flat or low-sloped roof. The steep slope helps to redirect the wind, reducing the pressure on the shingles. Additionally, the quality of the materials used in the roofing system also plays a significant role in wind resistance. High-quality asphalt shingles, properly installed and maintained, can provide excellent wind resistance for a roof.

Moreover, the installation techniques employed during the roof installation can greatly impact wind resistance. Properly installed shingles with adequate fasteners and correct nail placement ensure that the shingles are securely attached to the roof deck. This reduces the risk of shingle uplift during strong winds. Additionally, supplementary wind-resistant features such as adhesive strips or sealants can further enhance the wind resistance of the roofing system.

Importance of Wind Resistance in Roofing

The wind resistance of a roofing system is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures the roof’s longevity by preventing shingle damage or displacement during wind events. High winds can cause shingles to lift or even tear off, leaving the roof vulnerable to water infiltration and other damage.

Secondly, wind resistance plays a significant role in protecting the roof’s overall integrity. When shingles are lifted or damaged by wind, openings and weak points can lead to leaks and water intrusion. This can result in costly repairs and potential damage to the interior of the building. With high wind-resistant asphalt shingles, homeowners can minimize the risk of water damage and maintain a dry and secure living environment.

Furthermore, a wind-resistant roof provides peace of mind to homeowners, knowing that their property is protected even in adverse weather conditions. Strong winds are common in many regions, and having a roof that can withstand these forces provides a sense of security. It eliminates the worry of potential roof damage and the associated costs and inconveniences that come with it.

Understanding the science behind wind resistance and implementing proper installation techniques and maintenance practices can significantly enhance the ability of a roof to withstand high winds. High wind-rated roof shingles not only ensure the longevity and integrity of the roof but also provide homeowners with peace of mind, knowing that their property is protected even in challenging weather conditions.

Asphalt Shingles: A Popular Choice

Asphalt shingles are one of the most common roofing materials in the United States. The popularity of asphalt shingles is due to their affordability, versatility, and ease of installation. They are available in various colors and styles, making it easy to find a shingle that complements any home’s architectural style. Additionally, asphalt shingles offer excellent wind resistance capabilities when properly installed and maintained.

Composition and Features of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles comprise a fiberglass or organic felt mat coated with asphalt and topped with mineral granules. These granules provide additional protection against UV rays and enhance the shingles’ aesthetics. The fiberglass mat adds strength and stability to the shingles, making them more resistant to tearing and uplift caused by high winds. Asphalt shingles also come with self-sealing adhesive strips that bond the shingles together and provide added wind resistance.

Varieties of Asphalt Shingles

Various asphalt shingles are available, including three-tab, designer, and architectural shingles. Three-tab shingles are the traditional choice, featuring a flat, uniform appearance. Architectural shingles, also known as dimensional or laminated shingles, have a multi-layered, textured design that adds depth and visual appeal to the roof. Architectural shingles often provide superior wind resistance due to their thicker composition and enhanced durability.

Wind Resistance Capabilities of Asphalt Shingles

The wind resistance capabilities of asphalt shingles depend on several factors, including the shingle’s design, installation techniques, and maintenance practices. Understanding these factors can help homeowners make informed decisions about their roofing system and ensure it can withstand strong winds effectively.

Factors Influencing Wind Resistance

Several factors influence the wind resistance of asphalt shingles. The shingle’s fastening system is critical, including the type and number of nails used. Proper fastening ensures the shingles remain securely attached to the roof deck during wind events. Inadequate fastening can lead to shingle uplift and subsequent damage. The roof’s slope and angle also affect wind resistance, with steeper roofs generally offering better resistance. Additionally, the quality of installation and the roof’s overall condition can impact its wind resistance capabilities.

Testing Methods for Wind Resistance

Roofing manufacturers subject their asphalt shingles to rigorous testing to determine their wind resistance capabilities. One common testing method is the ASTM D3161 standard, which measures the shingles’ resistance to wind uplift. The results of these tests are used to assign wind ratings to the shingles, providing consumers with valuable information for comparing different products. It is important to select asphalt shingles with wind ratings appropriate for the wind speeds experienced in your area.

Enhancing the Wind Resistance of Asphalt Shingles

Proper installation techniques and regular maintenance are essential to enhance the wind resistance of asphalt shingles. By following these practices, homeowners can maximize the lifespan of their roofs and ensure their ability to withstand high winds.

Installation Techniques for Better Wind Resistance

During installation, adhering to manufacturer guidelines and local building codes is crucial to ensure proper installation techniques. This includes using the correct number and type of fasteners, aligning shingles correctly, and properly sealing the edges and joints. Additionally, installing features such as wind-resistant starter strips, high-wind adhesive strips, or reinforcing strips can further enhance the shingles’ wind resistance.

Maintenance Tips for Sustained Wind Resistance

Regular inspections and maintenance are necessary to maintain the wind resistance of asphalt shingles. Inspections should be performed after severe weather events to identify loose or damaged shingles. Prompt repairs or replacements can prevent further damage and ensure the roof’s overall wind resistance. Furthermore, keeping the roof free from debris and ensuring adequate attic ventilation can help reduce the risk of shingle damage and improve the roof’s overall performance during wind events.


In closing

The wind resistance of asphalt shingles is an important consideration when selecting roofing materials. Asphalt shingles, known for their affordability and versatility, can provide effective wind resistance when installed and maintained correctly. By understanding the factors influencing wind resistance, homeowners can make informed decisions and enhance their roof’s ability to withstand high winds. Regular inspections and proper maintenance practices are essential to sustaining the wind resistance of asphalt shingles and ensuring the long-term protection of the property.


Whether you’re looking for a high-quality roof installation, repair, or new gutters and siding, AIC is here to help. We believe in and practice the best customer service possible, including showing up on time, following through on what we say we’ll do, and treating people with common decency and respect.

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