When your home has been hit by a storm, it’s crucial that you assess and repair any damages that may have occurred as soon as possible. If you’ve recently been struck by wind, hail, heavy rain or any other type of damage-inducing storm, there are certain steps you should take to handle it.
How to Assess Roof Damage
Hail storms, thunderstorms, tornadoes and hurricanes can seriously damage elements of your roof, from the gutters to the shingles to the attic and ceilings inside your home. Follow the steps below to check if storm damage has affected your roof.
1) Inspect the roof from the ground
Once the storm has cleared and it’s safe to venture outside again, visually inspect your roof as well as you can from the ground. If you sustained any serious damage, it should be fairly easy to spot without even going up on the roof itself. Check for loose, fallen or missing shingles, pulled-up metal flashing, and damage to the chimney. Analyze the edges of your roof and under the eavestroughs, as well.
While major damage should be noticeable, if you don’t notice anything right away, that doesn’t mean your roof didn’t sustain any damage. Some problems can be hard to see at a distance.
2) Inspect your gutters
Using a sturdy ladder, climb up to your gutters and take a look at their condition. Check for physical damage to the gutters, such as loose hangers and disconnected drainage pipes. In addition, check the inside of your gutters for signs of roof damage, as well. In some cases, heavy storms can loosen the granules on your shingles and wash them into your gutter system. If you find shingle granules in your gutters, your roof has experienced storm damage, and it may be time for a professional assessment.
If you don’t take care of gutter issues immediately, your house can’t divert water away from itself as effectively. This can cause moisture build up, mold growth and worst of all – water infiltration on the inside of your home.
3) Get a close-up look at the shingles
While you’re inspecting your gutters, you should also take a look at the shingles. High winds can tear and remove shingles, leaving the roof deck, underlayment or old shingles from a previous roof exposed to the elements. Wind can also lift and curl shingles by breaking the seal that bonds them together, leaving a roof vulnerable to water infiltration. Make sure that your shingles appear in good condition so it can do its job – protecting your home.
If you cannot access the roof safely, call a roofing contractor to help you out. This is a good time to take a photo to document the damage for insurance purposes.
4) Check the attic and ceilings
Sometimes, you won’t see any physical damage to your roof while analyzing it from the ground – however, the interior of your home could tell another story. After a storm hits, go up to your attic and take a look around for any signs of damage. The most important thing to look for is water spots and active leaks. This type of damage can mean huge future repair bills if not taken care of right away.
Additionally, check ceilings and light fixtures for signs of water or dark spots, as this likely indicates that you’ve suffered roof damage.
5) Inspect for hail damage
According to Angie’s List, hail damage is one of the biggest causes of roof damage from storms, because they frequently include both high wind and falling objects. No matter how small or large, any size of hail can cause damage to many different parts of your home’s exterior. Even small chunks of hail can dent and destroy shingles, flashing, gutters and siding, among other things.
To inspect for hail damage, check your roof and exterior property for signs of denting. Shingle damage comes in the forms of small indentations or dimples, made by smaller chunks of hail that pound the outer layer of the shingles.
6) Check for standing water
if the storm caused extended power outages and your home uses a sump pump, you may experience standing water in your basement. If this is the case, turn off your power breakers before going into the water to avoid getting electrocuted. Remove the water by re-engaging the sump pump.
7) Remove debris when it’s safe
Once you are certain that the storm is passed, you can start cleaning the debris caused by wind, rain, lightning, etc. Using proper safety equipment like gloves, goggles and protective shoes, remove any debris from your roof and gutters, deck and patio, detached buildings and landscape. Make sure downspouts are working to keep water away from your foundation and property.
8) Inspect the rest of your property
Continue inspecting other areas around your property to pinpoint more damages. Fallen tree limbs can knock down fences, power lines and sheds, while elements like hail can cause damage to decking, patios and lawn furniture. Another thing you should do is inspect your windows for cracks, loose weatherstripping and torn screens.
When you have a full idea of the extent of the damage, it makes it easier to work with both the contracting company who will be performing repairs to your roof and the insurance company who will compensate for those repairs.
9) Contact your insurance company
Once you have a detailed view of the damage caused to your property, contact your homeowner’s insurance agent to file a claim. It always helps to provide notes, pictures, even video documentation, to support your case. If the damage to your home is significant enough to require filing a claim with your insurance company, your roofer will advise you to call them.
When reporting the damage, always make sure to include the day and time of the storm, verified by local weather reports. In addition, provide the names of neighbors who also suffered damage from the storm.
Once reported, the insurance company will likely send out their own professional contractor who will develop a professional assessment.
10) Look into federal disaster assistance
You may be eligible for federal disaster assistance if your area was declared a storm disaster area. This is mostly for those homeowners in more weather-volatile areas like the coastal regions. Federal disaster assistance helps homeowners struck by major storms, providing loans that can help rehabilitate properties back to their former quality. Even if you do have a good homeowners policy, you may still be eligible for more federal disaster assistance to aid you in the cost of repairs.
Visit the federal disaster assistance website here to find out more information about the relief program.
11) Always make safety a top priority
In general, we recommend you avoid going on your roof yourself to inspect for storm damage. Unless you have property safety equipment, you put yourself at risk for severe injury when working at heights. Instead, you can hire a professional roofing contractor who will have all the necessary equipment and experience to provide a damage assessment. Many contractors can arrive within the hour and some even provide their inspection services for little to no charge.
12) Call Your Local Roofing Contractor
Contact your local roofing contractor, Northface Construction, as soon as possible to request a thorough inspection of the damage to your roof and home, immediately after a big storm hits. With an expert’s help, you can get your home back to normal order and your life back on track.
To find a contractor that’s right for you, consider the following criteria:
- The contractor’s references – do some personal outreach to understand other customers’ experiences with the contractor. Any contractor that’s worth working with should be more than happy to hand over some names, numbers or emails of past clients that will speak to the quality of work that was performed.
- The contractor’s reputation online – poke around review sites, like Angie’s List, Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Facebook and the Home Builders Association to see what people are saying about them. People online are often more willing to share their honest opinion than they would be in person, so it provides good insight into the actual workings of the contractor’s approach to business.
- The contractor’s certifications, licensing and insurance – always ask the contractor for proof of certifications, licensing and insurance to ensure that their work is backed up by third-party organizations. If a worker gets hurt on your property, for example, you could be held liable for the costs incurred if they don’t have workers compensation insurance.
Looking for a reputable roofing contractor in MN?
Contact the professionals at Northface Construction today!
We’re the premier provider or storm damage services in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. We offer comprehensive storm damage repair, roof installation, rehabilitation and more for every type of property. It’s our goal to ensure your satisfaction is exceeded, no matter how challenging your upcoming project is. Contact us today to find out why Northface Construction is Minnesota’s leading storm damage contractor. Get in touch!