Hearing about a big storm coming in the forecast is enough to shake homeowners with fear. With imaginations running wild, we picture winds throwing lawn chairs and garbage cans down the road. And while it’s impossible to prevent a storm, we can take certain precautionary measures to reduce its damage.
Since a storm causes the most damage to our property, we need to learn how to monitor and identify storm damage to our house. This article will be your ultimate guide on understanding different types of storms, the damages they cause, and what you can do before and after a storm.
Different Types of Storms
A thunderstorm is a dangerous combination of lightning and thunder. About 10% of the total 100,000 thunderstorms that happen every year in the United States are classified as severe.
These severe thunderstorms produce hail the size of a U.S. quarter or larger, winds of 58 mph or stronger, dangerous lightning, flooding and tornadoes. They are enough to cause significant damage to even the most well-built structures.
A hailstorm is a weather condition where frozen raindrops called hailstones fall to the ground repeatedly, at a high speed. These hailstones can be as small as 0.2 inches or as large as 6 inches in diameter.
The damage caused by hailstorms depends on the size of hailstones, your roofing materials, age of your roof, and adjacent structures and barriers. Most times it’ll take a trained eye to spot damages after a hailstorm. To help you understand how a hail damage looks, let’s dive into some details on how to identify hail damage.
Identifying Hail Damage
Hailstorms can cause massive damage to your vehicles and your house. You can expect dents on your vehicles, your chimney, gutters, and metal flashing.
Below are a few tell-tale signs you should look to identify hail damage:
- Dents in the gutter, gutter screens, or downspouts.
- Loss of granule, that might be collected in the gutters and downspouts.
- Dark, discolored, or bruised shingles.
- Broken fiberglass mat underneath the shingles that was hit by a heavy hailstone.
- Weakened self-seal strip due to high winds.
Apart from these, hail can cause many other smaller damages that might not look significant at present. But they can affect the structural integrity of your house in the future. If you are unsure about the damage caused by a hailstorm, it’s best to hire a professional roofing company for a free roof inspection.
Hurricanes are tropical storms formed over the warm ocean waters. They are known to have wind speeds ranging from 74 mph to more than 155 mph.
Once a hurricane hits land, it weakens and dumps many inches of rain and causes a lot of wind damage before dying out. Some roofs might be able to withstand these damages while others might get dismantled completely.
To understand the damage caused by hurricane winds, let’s take a closer look at how you can identify wind damage to your roof.
Identifying Wind Damage
Strong winds can cause absolute havoc on your roof. The intensity of hurricane wind damage to your roof will depend on several factors like the age and quality of the roofing materials, shape of the roof, building height, etc.
Sometimes the damage can be very small, but if it’s left to grow for a prolonged period of time, your roof will start to leak and rot. Therefore, you need to look for the following signs to identify wind damage to your roof:
- Curled, broken, damaged, or missing shingles.
- Loss of granules, like in a hailstorm, might pile up in the gutters.
- Fallen trees, branches, or other debris collected on your roof, gutters and downspouts.
- Warped or loose metal flashing around the chimney.
- Water spots or discoloration on your ceiling inside your home.
How to Prepare for a Storm
The storm is inevitable, hence we need to keep ourselves prepared for its repercussion. In this section, we’ll discuss how we can stay prepared for a storm. What steps you need to take in order to minimize the damage to your house.
- Secure the doors and windows to avoid any flying debris from entering your house.
- Clean the gutters and downspouts, so they don’t get clogged or collapse during the storm.
- Tie up any loose item in your yard or move them to the garage as they might take flight and hit your home.
- Inspect any damage around chimneys, vents, fascia, decking, skylights.
- Get the trees around your house trimmed, so they stay at least six feet away from your roof.
- Check for missing shingles that can create a gap to allow winds to damage adjacent shingles.
- Review your insurance policy to make sure there are no coverage gaps, and you fully understand your policy terms.
What to do After a Storm
After a storm goes calm, it’s time to check the damages your house has sustained. If you took all the precautionary measures I recommend above, you’ll have minimal damage to your property. But you’ll still need to get them fixed immediately, so they don’t get worse over time.
Follow my 5 step plan immediately after a storm:
- Check for slippery surfaces, broken or exposed electrical wires, the smell of gas, loose floorboards or ceiling tiles. Notify the proper authorities if you find any life-threatening damages and consider moving to an emergency shelter or a hotel.
- Take pictures and record videos of the damages for an insurance claim.
- Call a licensed roofer to perform temporary repairs and ask them to quote a cost estimate for the insurance adjuster.
- Get in touch with your insurance company.
- Find a professional roofing contractor to help your repair or restore your roof.
Get a Free Roofing Inspection
Getting regular roofing inspections is a great way to protect your roof against storm damage. We offer free roof inspections to help you uncover even the smallest problem areas that need attention before and after a storm. By identifying and repairing these damages in the early stages, we’ll help you save a lot of time and money in the future.