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How to Check Your Roof for Storm Damage

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Lightning, thunder, rain, wind, and hail. All things we commonly associate with intense storms. 

Another thing homeowners should probably start thinking about with storms, is roof damage. 

The busiest time for any roofing contractor is immediately after a large storm, when several homes and roofs receive damage from wind, hail, and flying debris. We see first-hand how often storms cause significant damage to roofs. 

So when a storm comes, what steps should you take to repair any damage to your roof? 

In this blog, we’ll go over how to check for damage to several different areas of your roof, and discuss what kinds of damage different roofing materials will face. 

Storm Damage to Different Roofing Materials

The kind and extent of damage that you’ll receive during a storm will change a lot depending on what materials you have on your roof. 

Asphalt Shingles

If you have an asphalt shingle roof, you’ll want to look for any places where you can see shingles are missing, broken, or cracked. Shingles can be broken or knocked off by wind, flying debris, heavy rainfall, and especially hail. So regardless of the storm or time of year, if you have an asphalt shingle roof, you should at least give it a look while walking around your home. 

weather-damaged roof with holes, missing shingles, and exposed wood

Whenever a section of shingles becomes damaged, the rest of the roof system can become vulnerable, as now your roofs decking would be more exposed to the elements, which is not something you want. 

Metal Roofing Panels

Metal roofing is a little bit of a different story. depending on the metal roofing system you have, damage to it may not always need to be addressed or replaced right away. Standing seam metal panels may be dented by debris or hail, but against rain and wind, it should stand it’s ground well. 

damaged metal roof

Screw-down panels on the other hand, are at a much greater risk for a roof leak because of their exposed screws and fasteners. Because of this, and a couple of other reasons we cover in our blog about the types of metal roofing systems, we do not recommend having a screw-down panel roof over your home, or other heated structures. 

You should still keep an eye open for any rust, holes in the metal, or openings between metal panels, as they’ll need to be fixed up pretty quickly if they do pop up. 

Wood Shakes

wood cedar shake

Wood shakes and shingles are more often seen in milder climates, as they have a natural look, and are more environmentally sustainable than other roofing materials. They aren’t quite as durable as their asphalt counterparts, so after a storm, it’s a good idea to look for any damage. 

You may encounter some missing, broken, chipped, or cracked shakes or shingles in your inspection. If so, the best next step to take is to call out a roofing company and have them patch up that area with the same material that was there before. 

Ceramic or Slate Tile

Ceramic or slate tile roofs are some of the most durable roofing materials in good weather, with the individual pieces lasting well over 50 years. However, if faced with a strong storm, these roofs may have several tiles receive damage, and need replacement.  

Ceramic tiles are particularly vulnerable to hail and wind damage, as they are lighter than their slate counterparts, and can be more easily blown off the roof during intense wind. 

Slate tiles on the other hand, are very heavy, which helps reduce their risk of being blown off, and are strong enough to resist most hail and rain damage. Not everyone can get this type of roof however, as the structure beneath it must be strong enough to bear the immense weight a full slate roof will bring. 

Storm Damage to Gutters & Roof Penetrations

Your gutters and roof penetrations are also at great risk during a strong storm. These parts of your roofing system are truly the only parts not protected by your main roofing materials. 

Gutters can face loads of dents from hail and flying debris, but the real risk of damage comes when your gutters haven’t been cleaned out, and get clogged during the storm. If there is a clog somewhere in your gutter system, the rainwater will back up, and overflow, either on to your roof, or down onto the ground in a place it’s not supposed to go.  

Clogged gutters

If it backs up on to the roof, it can wear down your shingles, or get up under them and damage your roof decking. If it overflows down to the ground, that water can flood your yard, and potentially damage your home’s foundation.  

Roof penetrations like vents, pipes, and skylights also face damage, but they are more vulnerable to hail and flying debris.  

pipe boot repair

Vents can become dented, reducing their effectiveness, especially if they are a powered vent. The part of the pipe that is most vulnerable to damage and leaks is the boot that covers the opening the pipe comes through, especially if the boot has aged a bit, or isn’t a high-quality material. If this is struck during a storm, you’ll need to replace it as soon as you can, otherwise the broken boot will start to let water in, and cause damage to your roof's decking. 

Skylights, when hit by hail or debris, may become cracked and start to leak, causing all kinds of problems inside your home. The seal around the skylight could also start to wear down and fail, in which case the leak may appear inside your ceiling, instead of streaming through the glass. 

Need an Roof Inspection After a Storm?

If you have recently experienced a storm, it’s a good idea to call up a roofing contractor to get an inspection done. Professional contractors see this type of stuff every day, so they’ll have a great sense of what to look for, and how to fix it. 

On Tops Roofing has been serving the Raleigh, NC area since 1991, so we’ve seen our fair share of storms, and replaced and repaired all kinds of roofs. Whatever storm damage you are facing, we are happy to help!

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