Storms pose many dangers to roofs, even if they don’t bring heavy rain or hail. Strong winds have the potential to weaken stress points on a roof, which will eventually become compromised if not properly treated. Learning how to quickly spot missing shingles and other compromised roofing elements is the key to preventing serious water damage and high utility bills.
How wind damages the roof
Wind damage on a roof is tricky because it does not affect the roof uniformly. Most damage starts at the edge of the roof. The center of the roof holds up well under high stress, but the corners and perimeters of the roof are susceptible to wind damage.
Roof materials, like shingles, flashing, and gutters that are slightly loose, will gradually get lifted up and pushed around by strong gusts of wind, giving the wind more material to lift the next time, hence creating a nasty chain effect.
Once a large enough section becomes exposed, moisture damage will occur. Homeowners can avoid severe wind damage by checking shingles and edge materials after severe storms.
Severe winds may bring flying debris and other forms of damage
Severe winds may also carry damaging debris onto the roof. Winds often bring out tree branches, garbage, broken glass, and many other forms of debris that may be more harmful than the wind itself. Inspect the roof after strong winds for tree branches and other forms of major debris that may have blown across the roof.
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How to check for wind damage
Start checking for wind damage by inspecting the roof from the ground for missing or damaged shingles. Shingles may be curled, cracked, or completely torn off.
If you notice significant damage, try and estimate if it is less than 30% of the entire roof.
If the damage is localized, repairs should be enough to adequately address the problem. However, if the damage is rather significant, a full replacement may be necessary.
In addition to looking at shingles, check the chimney, flashing, gutters, and chimney for damage.
Inspect roofing components for the following damage:
Composition shingles: missing, curling, granule loss
Flashing: tearing, buckling
Soffit and ridge vents: clogged or cracked vents
Gutters: loose screws, sagging, rust
Chimneys: missing or cracked flashing, and cracked joints
Look for indoor signs of damage
Check the attic for damp rafters and leaks. Ceiling stains and peeling paint could also indicate a compromised roof. A sure-fire sign of new damage on the roof is a surge in utility bills.
What to do if you discover serious wind damage
If severe winds and flying debris have caused serious roof damage, it’s crucial to repair it as soon as possible.
The longer you put off a repair, the worse the internal damage will be. Repair costs can quickly get out of hand if you have to add in the cost to repair severe moisture damage.
Be sure to contact your insurance agent to determine if you should file a claim. Take pictures to document the repair process and keep all the receipts from contractors. If you repair anything yourself, take measures to protect your home, like covering windows or holes in the roof, to ensure you get quickly reimbursed for the claim.
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