All types of roofing materials – from asphalt shingles to metal roofing and everything in between – have an expected lifespan. But that expected service life is more of an estimate than a certain number of years. Roofs are exposed to the elements 24/7 their entire service life, and those elements differ based on location.
Roofs exposed to sea air, for example, might have shorter lives than those that are not. Roofs in locations that have freezing temperatures for most of the year also tend to suffer more water damage. In arid areas, heat is typically the reason behind damage. Where there are strong winds, roofs can suffer more wind uplift damage. And, all roofs can also be destroyed – partially or fully – by a strong storm.
Signs of Roof Storm Damage
Storms typically have significant effects on the integrity of any residential or commercial roofing system. If you’re lucky, your roof might be spared from major damage, but roofs subjected to the rage of a storm invariably exhibit some obvious signs. Here are some of them.
Storms that bring winds in excess of 50 miles per hour (mph) are very destructive. These are “straight-line” winds, which differ from tornadoes. When tornadoes hit, almost nothing is spared.
If your home is hit by upwards of 50-mph winds, your roof may exhibit these signs:
- Missing shingles – A newly installed metal roofing system has a better chance of repelling wind uplift, but there is never an assurance that your roof would be safe regardless of material. With a shingle roof, it’s common to spot areas where the shingles are missing. Older roofs are especially susceptible because shingles are already cracked or peeling.
- Granule loss – If you have an asphalt shingle roof, you might be familiar with the granules on the surface of each tab. Shingles normally shed some of those granules during installation, but the rest of the granules should stay on the shingles throughout their effective lifespan. A storm, however, can remove granules in horizontal lines. This means the affected shingles are partly torn off (the seals are broken). They lose granules due to flapping in the wind and rubbing with other surfaces.
- Leaking – A healthy roof should be able to handle a strong downpour for a reasonable length of time. What usually leads to leaks is wind damage. Even if a shingle is missing, the underlayment should be able to provide some protection against water infiltration. But during a storm with strong winds, even the underlayment might be compromised, leading to unchecked leaks.
Hail and Snow Damage
- Cracked shingles – A metal roofing system might suffer some small dents due to a hailstorm, but it can still remain largely intact. As for an asphalt shingle roof, the impact from hail can remove the protective granules, crack the shingles or tear entire tabs off the roof. This will expose the underlayment, which is now also at the mercy of the elements.
- Ice dams – A snowstorm can lead to the formation of ice dams. This is often the result of a lack of maintenance or inadequate attic ventilation. Snow at the top half of the roof melts, flows to the cooler edges and refreezes there to form ice dams. Ice dams trap water, which backs up and enters the underside of shingles. This leads to leaks.
- Moisture – Your roof might seem to do a good job at protecting your home from the storm, but if you check closely, moisture might be present in the attic. This can be the result of poor or excessive attic ventilation or roof leaks. It might not always be obvious, but it can lead to discoloration, mold and mildew growth, insulation damage and rot.
When your roof suffers storm damage, you may have to face a complete or partial roof replacement. If you’re lucky, you might be able to get away with minor repairs. Whatever type of damage you’re facing, now is the time to be thankful that you have homeowners insurance. Storm damage is a common “named peril” when it comes to home insurance, and most – if not all- insurers cover it.
Before calling your insurance company, however, you might want to consider these things:
Do a Preliminary Inspection
When the storm has subsided, and it’s safe to inspect your home, refrain from touching anything just yet. Get a camera, and take photos and videos of all the damaged items in your home. Don’t go up to your roof; it might not be safe to walk on it. Document everything from the ground and from the attic (if it’s safe). You can present your photos and videos to the property damage inspector, and use them as proof when you talk to the insurance adjuster.
Get a Full Inspection
Get in touch with a property damage inspector for a full inspection of your home. Make sure to call someone who is certified for this type of work. The inspector will provide you with a list of things that require repairs or replacement, together with an estimate of the cost of each item.
Hire a Restoration Contractor
Ask your roofing contractors if they provide restoration services for storm-damaged homes. If you’re asking whether it’s better to call a contractor approved by the insurance firm or to go with someone more independent, the safer move is to go with the latter. If a contractor is approved by your insurer, that contractor might have an incentive to keep the costs of the insurance payout down, and that’s not good news for you, the homeowner who paid full insurance premiums.
Many contractors might offer to handle your insurance claims for you, but this is something that you must do yourself to avoid getting defrauded. Also, always be mindful of your insurer’s claim filing deadline. If you miss that deadline (usually a couple of months after the storm), you’ll end up paying for the replacement or repairs out of pocket.
Bay Valley Contractors can help you with your residential and commercial roofing needs. Get in touch with us if you need repairs or replacements after a storm. Call us today at (925) 705-7889, or fill out the form on our contact page.