There is nothing quite as destructive as Mother Nature when she unleashes her full fury during a storm. It could mean debris flying around, your roof being pounded by rain or hail, or even a blizzard. In the aftermath of the storm, you need to take stock and check for roof damage.
A lot of people think that if the roof didn’t leak during the storm, and there are no shingles missing, there is no need to check any further. In this article, we will walk you through assessing your roof for damage after a storm and getting it repaired.
Check for Roof Damage from the Outside First
Start by walking around your home and look for obvious signs of damage. Check for debris and see if there is any obvious damage. If you cannot see the whole of the roof from ground level, you may need to climb up and have a closer look.
If you are climbing onto the roof, please remember that safety must come first. Use a good ladder and have someone there with you to hold it and to call for help if you fall off. If you are not comfortable climbing onto the roof, get a professional to come and have a look at it for you.
Here is what you want to look at:
- Start with the flashing. Is it buckled anywhere? Has it come loose? Is it broken or torn?
- Check the gutters. Are they out of alignment? Do they seem to have any damage? Do they seem to be weighed down? Are they clear of debris? When checking from the roof, take a few golf balls or similarly small-sized balls with you. The ball should be small enough to easily fit in the downpipe, with room to spare. Roll them into the downpipe of the gutter to make sure that there are no blockages. Get your partner to check when do this so you don’t have to climb off the roof and onto it again for this.
- If you have a chimney, examine it. Can you see signs of obvious damage? Does it seem to be leaning, even a little? Are there any bricks missing? Does it look cracked? Does the flashing seem to be okay?
- Do you have any ventilation pipes in your roof? Do they look damaged or do they seem to be leaning at all?
- If you have shingles, are they all still there? Do any look damaged? Do you see signs that they are curling, or have any started swelling or cracking? Have any split? Do you see obvious signs of decay? (While you are up there, you may as well have a good look from a general maintenance angle as well.)
- If you have a flat roof, do you see any tears or cracks? Are there any wrinkles or blisters?
- Check the roofing cement. Does it look solid? Has it started crumbling?
Check for Roof Damage from the Inside
Once you have checked the outside, it is time to move inside. Check the ceilings for:
- Stains of any color
- Damp spots
- Bubbling of paint
- Check inside the attic and see if you can see any open spots or damage. Check the rafters to see if any are damp.
- Another sign of damage could be that it takes more energy to cool or heat your home.
When to Call in a Professional
If you suspect that there is some roof damage, you should call in a professional roofer to properly assess the situation. They will be able to do a quick assessment for you and will check for issues you may not have thought of.
If you aim to claim from your insurance for the cost of the repairs, you will need to have a professional assessment and quote given.
Once you have the quote for repairs, check your home owner’s policy and find out how you can file a claim. Insurance will normally pay for damage caused by a storm, but they may not pay for normal wear and tear, so don’t leave it too long.
Also, the earlier you can catch potential problems, the easier it will be to repair them and keep everything in tip-top shape. Your home is one of the biggest investments you make in your lifetime and maintaining the roof is going to help it retain its value.
It makes good sense to have your roof assessed annually after the storm season has passed, even if you don’t see obvious signs of damage.
Repairing Your Roof
If it is the odd shingle or two that is missing, and you are quite handy, you could go about repairing it yourself. If you decide to do this, work in a two-man team as we suggested before to ensure that, if you fall, you have someone that can call for help.
You can also try to clean out the gutters so that there is less chance of the downpipes being clogged.
In general, though, roof repairs should be left to a professional. Climbing up that high can be a dangerous endeavor, and professional roofers have safety equipment that helps them stay safe.
It’s not only injury to yourself you need to worry about. What if you step in the wrong place and fall through? That would cause even more damage.
But the most compelling reason for calling in a professional is that you want the repairs to be done right the first time. The problem with repairs done on the fly is that they might mask the symptoms of a bigger problem.
So, you might be able to put in a new shingle, but what happens if the seal weathers badly? Or if you miss a smaller crack? Small leaks don’t show obvious signs until the damage starts to become quite far advanced.
You could end up having to replace ceiling boards, repaint walls, or having to worry about mold if a slow leak isn’t repaired properly the first time.
Whether you decide to get a professional to help with the storm damage or you decide to try to assess the situation yourself, do yourself a favor and don’t wait too long to get the problems repaired.