Storms can damage a roof in a number of ways. The most common sources of damage to a roof during a storm are hail, high winds, rain, and falling debris. Hail and falling debris can damage shingles, while high winds call rip shingles right off your roof. Heavy rains can cause water to pool, creating or worsening leaks.

Checking Your Roof for Storm Damage

Hurricanes and tornadoes are obvious culprits for wind damage. But even a thunderstorm will have straight-line burst of wind that can cause damage. In addition to direct damage from wind, debris that is blown around by the wind can damage your roof. In a hailstorm, hail larger than 1 inch can cause damage to shingles.

To check for damage from a storm, follow these steps:

  • Look for any signs of damage visible from the ground. Check for shingles that have been blown off or are missing. Pay special attention to metal flashing around chimneys or in valleys. Look for peeling or missing flashing. Also, be sure to check any vents, exhaust piping, or other protrusions for obvious damage.

  • Check inside your home for leaks. Leaks may appear first in an attic, so be sure to check there. Of course, if any water spots or leaks appear on the ceiling or walls of your home, it could be a sign that your roof has sustained damage in a storm.

  • Check for hail damage. If a storm produced hail, damage could result in the form of dents or dimples in the shingles. Also look for bits of material that has been broken off from the edge of individual shingles.

  • Consider safety first. Any roof can be a dangerous place to walk around. A roof that is wet, mossy, or damaged can be even more dangerous. Slips, falls, and roof damage are real concerns. Stay on the ground and hire a roofing contractor like Eagle Watch Roofing to do a rooftop inspection.

Wind Damage to Your Roof

A hurricane, tornado, or even a strong thunderstorm can cause wind damage to your roof. There are two ways that a roof can be damaged by wind. Strong winds can blow off individual shingles. Even a single missing shingle can cause leaks that lead to serious damage if left untreated.

Sometimes winds from a particularly storm can blow off an entire roof. In that case, it is rarely the wind that blew off the roof. Instead, the damage is due to air pressure differences above and below the roof. Fast moving air from a storm creates low air pressure. Meanwhile, the still or slower moving air inside the house maintains higher air pressure. This difference in air pressure causes lift as the roof is “pulled” toward the low pressure zone. This is the same way an airplane wing can lift a heavy jetliner high into the sky. But in case of your roof, this pressure difference can lift the roof right off your house. This is also the cause of burst windows during storms with high wind, as the glass is pulled outward toward the zone of low pressure.

Hail Damage to Your Roof

Most roofing materials begin to sustain damage from hail when it reaches about 1 inch in diameter. The damage from hail will usually look like pock marks or small dimples on shingles. Hail can also break of bits of shingle or tile around the edges of the shingle or tile. Larger hail will cause more severe damage. The amount of time the hail falls also makes a big difference. A short burst of hail above 1 inch in diameter will cause some damage, but a sustained hailstorm can seriously damage a roof, requiring extensive roof repairs or even a full replacement.

Metal roofs are generally more weather resistant than other types of roofs. But large enough hail can dent some metal roofs, depending on the material and the type of roof. Copper is a soft metal and is the most likely to be affected by falling hail. If you have a metal roof, be sure to inspect for dents after a severe hailstorm. Steel roofs, the most common type of metal roof, are coated with zinc or a zinc alloy to protect the steel from rusting. A large enough dent can pierce that coating, leading to rust and eventually a leak. Eagle Watch Roofing can inspect your metal roof for free to be sure there is no damage that threatens its long term integrity.

How to Prevent Shingles from Blowing Off Your Roof

There are some simple things you can do to lower the likelihood that shingles will blow off your roof. Damaged shingles are much more susceptible to high winds than shingles in good shape, so be sure to keep an eye on your roof to spot any damage before a shingle is blown away. Signs of damage include curling around the edges of a shingle or loss of granules on an asphalt shingle. Shingles damaged by hail or falling debris are also due for replacement. Replacing damaged shingles will keep your roof safer in a storm.

Besides repairing existing damage, you can prevent wind damage to your shingles proactively by installing shingles with a high wind rating. Check both the average wind speeds and the peak wind speeds for your geographic location. A shingle with a 100 mph wind rating will withstand gusts of wind up to 110 mph, so making the right choice early on can save you on costly repairs in the future.

Filing an Insurance Claim for a Damaged Roof

Typical homeowners insurance covers damage to a roof from unpreventable incidences, like fires or vandalism. It should also cover unpreventable “acts of God”, such as severe weather and storms. Every insurance plan is different, so if you are unsure of what your plan covers, be sure to check with your insurance company.

To help in insurance claims, take some “before” pictures of your roof and property. Make sure to take new pictures any time your property is updated, like after a roof repair or replacement. If your roof is damaged by a storm or severe weather, you can take “after” pictures and compare them with your “before” pictures as proof of your insurance claim.

Filing an insurance claim for a damaged roof can be a complicated process. Eagle Watch Roofing is dedicated to our customers, and we will make sure you get a fair deal. Eagle Watch Roofers will come to your property to meet the insurance adjuster and help file your claim. We will ensure that you get a fair and thorough investigation and all damage is covered at industry standard rates. Because we are there to work with you and your adjuster, after the claim is filed we can make all the necessary repairs for the cost that your insurance coverage has provided. If there are upgrades, you will pay only for the cost of the upgrades, not the initial repair.

Keep Your Roof in Good Condition with Eagle Watch Roofing

Some amount of roof repairs are inevitable over the lifetime of your roof. However, keeping an eye on your roof and making repairs at the first sign of damage will keep repair costs down and help prevent larger problems from developing. Eagle Watch Roofing is here for all your repairs. When you’re ready for a new roof, we can provide the excellent service, knowledge, and expertise and get your job done right. Contact us today for a free inspection and estimate.

How Storm Damage Affects Your Roof [infographic]