How to identify roof damage from a storm

Roof damage from storms – particularly hail – causes more than $1.6 billion worth of damage each year in the U.S., according to the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes. Roof damage from a storm can be hard to spot – so, take a walk around your house and look for signs of damage to the exterior of your home.

Miscellaneous items

Roof hail damage goes beyond shingles. Hail dents soft metals on your roof before it damages the shingles, so be sure to check the vents, exhaust caps and the flashing. Rain gutters and spouts with bends, or dings are also an indication of roof storm damage. Don’t forget about the cooling fins of the exterior A/C condensing unit, fences and pergolas. Also, look for leaks in your roof or ceiling. Torn or split seams can result in serious water damage, ultimately leading to mold formation and wood rot.

Broken, chipped or cracked windows

Damaged window casings are the most common signs of damage. Some other common signs of window damage include: shattered windows, cracks and holes, broken panes and a damaged frame. Check the glass, vinyl trim, window glazing (the plastic pieces around the window that hold it in), window screens and skylights.

Missing, creased or split shingles
Shingle damage is partially determined by the strength of the substrate below the shingle. A more structurally sound decking will not flex as much during impact, thus lessening the damage to the shingle. If you have easy access to your roof and non-excessive slopes, take a look at your roof. A circular area where shingle material is missing is a sign of roof hail damage. If you have 10 hits in a 10 ft. square, your roof most likely needs replacing.

Granules washed or forced off your roof
Granules protect the asphalt layer under your shingles from UV damage – losing them indicates damage and aging of the roof. Check in and around your driveway, gutters and the downspouts for excessive tile granules or shingle mineral deposits. This could be roof storm damage or it could be due to the age of the roofing material. In both cases, your roof will need repair or replacement.

Talk to your neighbors
Are your neighbors seeing signs of roof storm damage? If so, work together to help each other identify damage and qualified roofing contractors. Be careful to avoid “storm chasers.”

If your roof has any damage whatsoever, you have a valid insurance claim that should be filed with your insurance company. It’s important to identify these damages early on, so that you can report a claim within the time constraints and not end up paying out of pocket.

Keep in mind that 95 percent of all roof storm damage cannot be seen from the ground level, so do not assume that your roof has “weathered the storm” because it appears to have escaped damage. Call a roofing expert and schedule an appointment for a free roof inspection. What steps do you take after a storm hits the area?