How To Spot Roof Damage After A Strong Storm?
Many homeowners are not aware of the types of damage that can occur after a strong storm to their roof. Depending on the seasons of the year homeowners can expect to have wind damage, water damage from rain, hail damage, ice and snow damage. After each storm homeowners should walk around to inspect their roof from the ground to see if they have any visible damage. Here at Tims roof contractors, we will be glad to go up on your roof and inspect it for you to make sure there is no damage after any strong storm.
HERE IS YOUR STORM DAMAGE CHECKLIST
Don’t worry. This helpful guide will walk you through everything you need to know — and everything you need to do — to make your roof replacement go smoothly.
- Assess your roof for storm damage. Walk around the perimeter of your home and photograph or take note of any damage. Obvious signs of damage may include dented, torn, curled or missing shingles.
- Check gutters, roofing accessories and windows. Though your shingles may appear undamaged, dents in gutters and roof vents may point to hidden roof damage. Also be sure to inspect windows for cracks, loose weather stripping and torn screens.
- Inspect the area around your home. Check for fallen tree limbs, broken fences and damage to lawn furniture and exterior decorations. Look closely at flat surfaces such as patios and decks for signs of hail damage.
- Look for leaks and water spots in your attic and ceilings. Even though your roof may appear undamaged from the outside, wind and hail may have caused leaks that can lead to problems later. Check ceilings and light fixtures for signs of water and inspect your attic closely with a flashlight.
- Call a contractor you can trust. After a storm, there may be a lot of contractors competing for your attention. Make sure you choose a contractor you can trust — such as an Owens Corning™ Roofing Preferred or Platinum Preferred Contractor — to assess your damage, provide an estimate and replace your roof using proven products.
- Call your homeowner’s insurance company. Refer to your notes, report a claim with your insurance company and arrange for an inspection.
NOTE: We recommend that you do not attempt to climb up on your roof. Especially after a storm, the roof structure may be weakened, and shingles may be slippery. If you suspect roof damage, call a professional contractor you can trust to assist you with your assessment.
How Wind Damages Your Roof
The effect of wind moving over a roof is not uniform. Areas like the corners and perimeter of the roof can be susceptible to higher wind pressures, while the center of the roof might have lower stresses. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), most wind damage to a roof starts on the edge. Anywhere the roofing material is even a little bit loose, the wind can get below it and push it up, thus giving the wind more to grab onto next time and creating a chain peeling effect. This type of wind damage can start very small but continue to grow over time through repeated exposure to wind.
Once a whole corner of insulation is exposed, rain can get in and start to cause leaks and water damage. Homeowners can avoid this type of wind damage by making sure materials on the edge and corners of their roof are strong enough and in good condition to withstand high winds.
Flying Debris and Tree Damage
Significant wind events also move debris which can make its way onto your roof. Shards of glass, tree branches, and other debris can sometimes be more damaging than the wind itself. When inspecting the roof after a wind event, investigate what might have blown onto or across the roof. Also, it’s a good idea to check your gutters and downspouts as debris can easily clog them and create other headaches down the road. Keep trees trimmed and away from your roof. Tree branches touching a roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials when the branches are blown by the wind. Falling branches from overhanging trees can damage, or even puncture, shingles and other roofing materials.
How to Check for Roof Wind Damage
Perform an Outdoor Inspection: Look for missing and damaged shingles (damaged shingles might be curled, cracked, or torn) on your roof or around your property. If this type of damage is localized (i.e., it covers less than 30 percent of the entire roof), roofing repairs might be able to address the problem. More extensive damage might necessitate roof replacement. Also keep in mind that not only the roof itself, but the chimney, ventilation pipes, roof flashing, gutters and fencing can also become damaged. Be sure to inspect them for damage as well. If you suspect that your roof is damaged, here is a basic list of what to look for:
Composition shingles: curling, loss of granulation, broken, damaged or missing shingles.
Wood shingles/shakes: Mold or decay, splitting or curling.
Flat roof: Obvious patches, cracks or tears, several blisters and/or wrinkles (also check patched areas from inside the attic).
Flashing: Tears, buckling around roof penetrations.
Roofing cement: Excess cement, crumbling.
Soffits and fascia: Decay, stains.
Soffit and ridge vents: Clogged or damaged vents, flashing and shingles around them curling or missing.
Gutters: Decay or rust, leaky seams, loosely attached to structure, bent or sagging, missing sections of gutter or downspout, filled with debris. Clogged gutters can easily freeze shut and cause excessive weight on gutter fasteners, ice dam conditions, and slippery walks below.
Chimneys: Leaning, lose or missing flashing, damaged bricks, cap or cracked joints. Chimney flashing is especially prone to tearing because a chimney settles independently from the house.
Perform an Indoor Inspection: Moisture marks, brown, yellow, or grey stains, and peeling paint on walls and/or ceilings could all indicate a damaged, leaking roof. Also check your attic for damp rafters or leaks. And if you experience a sudden surge in energy costs, it could be a sign that your roof ventilation has been compromised.
Call in a Professional: Call in a roofer for a professional inspection. Getting on your roof yourself is not recommended as it can lead to personal injury and further damage to your property. A trained professional also has the tools and safety techniques to get up on your roof and check for damage.
What to Do if Your Roof has Wind Damage
If you have roof damage caused by wind and/or flying debris, it’s important to get it fixed immediately. The longer you wait, the more damage will occur. Roof replacement and roof repair costs a lot less when you don’t have to add in the other costs of repairing leaks and water damage. Contact your insurance agent to assess the situation and determine whether you should file a claim. Thoroughly document any damage that occurred and keep receipts for all work, including any you do yourself, such as covering windows or holes in your roof to facilitate reimbursement if you file a claim. Many policies will cover these expenses when submitted with a claim.
specifically identified as legitimate damage related to a storm, so that you’re protected against insurance fraud and its heavy penalties.
HOW TO SPOT ROOF HAIL DAMAGE
In 2016, the United States experienced 5,601 large hailstorms, as documented by the NOAA Severe Weather Database.
One of these storm clusters was a record-setting beast in North Carolina.
That dropped – larger than softball sized – 2.5-inch hailstones.
Between April 10 and 12 of 2016, multiple giant hailstorms ripped through North Carolina and caused combined damage of $3.5 billion.
The National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) said, “this ranks as one of the costly hail events to affect the United States.”
What we’ll discover in this article.
Is that even much smaller sized hail… can and does cause roof hail damage.
Many homeowners are not aware of hail damage on their roofs. Hail damage to roof tops often cannot be seen from the ground, and that’s a big reason why the idea of hail damage hardly ever crosses a homeowner’s mind.
Today we will show you EXACTLY what to look for when inspecting a home for roof hail damage.
WE’RE GOING TO ANSWER QUESTIONS LIKE…
- What are some signs that hail damage has occurred at a house (even before stepping foot on the roof)?
- What are some of the signs of hail damage on a roof?
- What does hail damage look like on shingles?
- What size hail causes roof damage?
You will also learn how to identify and mark out hail damage for insurance claims.
As always… practice safety first.
Before inspecting a roof, make sure you have a good pair of soft-soled shoes or roofing boots. Always check that your ladder is in perfect working condition and bring a few sticks of chalk to help mark any hail damage you might see.
And, of course, don’t forget your camera.
IF YOU ARE A HOMEOWNER…
You will also learn how to tell if you have hail damage on your roof and what to do.
Homeowners: Inspecting a roof can be dangerous. It’s very important that you have all the proper safety gear and knowledge. Many contractors offer a free roof inspection, so please don’t hesitate to contact a professional before jumping up on your own roof.
FIRST – WHAT IS HAIL AND HOW DOES IT FORM?
Hail is a type of precipitation that occurs when air updrafts (upward air currents) in thunderstorms carry raindrops into the upper level clouds where temperatures are below freezing. A small particle of ice forms around some type of nucleus. It could be a tiny ice crystal, speck of dust, frozen raindrop or something else.
The ice particle then drops within the cloud back below freezing temperatures, where it picks up more moisture from rain drops and water vapor. Eventually it gets caught in another updraft and freezes again.
The stronger the updrafts, the longer a hailstone circulates up and down… growing larger and larger until gravity no longer allows it to remain lofted.
At that point, the hail falls toward the ground, where it can inflict damage on people or property.
TELL-TALE SIGNS OF HAIL DAMAGE ON A ROOF
Although you cannot fully determine the amount of hail damage on a roof from the ground, there are some signs that a trained eye can point out and help determine if there may be more damage up top.
The presence of one or more of these may indicate a situation where the homeowner needs a full roof replacement instead of a simple roof repair. Here are a few things to look for.
ONE – look for dented gutters, gutter screens, or downspouts
This is not always the case, but many times, if a roof has significant hail damage up top, the gutters will have some impact damage. This above picture shows a heavily dented gutter but be on lookout for small impacts as well.
TWO – look for damage to siding and windowsills/casings
You can also check the home’s siding and windowsills/casings for dents, dings or other signs of impact. These are places where, if there’s significant damage to the roof, there will most likely be damage to these things as well.
Look also at any other exposed metal surfaces, like metal fascia on the roof eaves for signs of hail damage impact, even if it looks like a faint ding.
THREE – look for damage to air conditioners or other outdoor items
As we’ve discussed, it’s important to check every area of the home for hail damage. We’ve done the roof, gutters and siding, but there’s another area to check… the air conditioner.
In addition to offering a quick glance sign of further hail damage on the roof, a damaged air conditioner may qualify for insurance replacement.
As an inspector, it’s your job to make sure you make note of everything that was damaged on the homeowner’s property. This could be a shed, patio cover, porch, decking, anything that the insurance may cover.
FOUR – look for damage to decks or painted wood surfaces
Decks and other painted surfaces surrounding the home may have sustained hail damage. If you see chipped paint, it may be the result of hail impact. For more tell-tale signs of hail damage, check out this big checklist of items that point to roof hail damage.
NOW… LET’S GET ON THE ROOF.
HAIL DAMAGE TO ROOF VENTS AND SHINGLES
Once you’re up on the roof, there’s going to be a few things to look for. Vents, chimneys, sky lights, other features and shingles are on our inspection list.
Check out all the roof vents and features to look for any damage. Look for dents, dings, chipped surfaces, etc.
For the harder to see impact areas like the chimney covers (below), run your chalk sideways over the surface and it will uncover the hail impact points. For the softer metal vents, the damage will be much more obvious.
The last, but most important thing to check is the shingles. Hail damage to roof shingles are what buys the roof. You’ll never get a solid insurance claim without shingle damage.
WHAT DOES HAIL DAMAGE LOOK LIKE ON SHINGLES?
Hail damage to roof shingles can be obvious or very difficult to uncover. It takes a trained eye to spot hail damage to roof shingles.
As you can see on the first image below, the surface granules have been knocked off the shingle very clearly.
The rest of the pictures make it much harder to notice that the shingle has sustained hail damage.
What’s the big deal if a few granules come loose?? There’s not a hole in the roof!
You may be surprised at the force it takes knock the surface materials off a shingle. When this is discovered, the integrity of the shingle has been compromised, and a water leak can develop over time. Even the smallest hail impact on a shingle can lead to a roof leak.
Now it’s your job to determine if there’s enough information here to make an insurance claim. Most insurance companies want to see 8+ hits on the roof within a 10ft x 10ft square on at least 3 sides of the roof.
Mark each hit with chalk so you can accurately determine if there is enough damage to have the homeowner make a claim.
Take pictures of the hail hits to show the homeowner whenever you’re done inspecting the roof. You can also show these pictures to the insurance adjuster whenever they come out for their inspection of the roof.
Now, you should have enough information to determine whether the homeowner will need a roof replacement.
METAL ROOF HAIL DAMAGE
Shingles can be tricky when it comes to spotting hail damage, but they’re not the only type of roof out there. You have others like wooden shake, clay, slate and metal roofing.
Wood shingles will split right down the middle after being struck by hail. Clay & slate roofing will have cracks and/or gouges, and metal roofing will have impact dents like we saw on the gutters at the beginning.
Metal roofing is one of the easiest to spot for hail damage.
Here are some examples of hail damage on a metal roof.
WHAT ABOUT HAIL SPATTER
Hail spatter – sometimes called hail splatter – results when “slushy” type hail leaves discolored marks or stains on your roof or appliances like AC units.
Spatter is evidence of hail on the property and it can be used to determine the size and direction of the hail, but the spatter marks themselves usually do not result in claimable damage.
WHAT DOES HAIL DAMAGE DO TO A ROOF?
The severity of hail damage to a roof depends on several factors, including:
Type of roofing materials, age of roofing materials, roof slope, quality of construction…
…as well as hail size, hail density, and hail shape and the velocity and angle of its fall.
Hail damage can also be affected by the number of shingle layers on a roof. Second layer shingles are more susceptible to damage than first layer shingles, because the surface directly underlying the shingle is less supportive than dense wood.
Hail damage can either be ‘functional’ or ‘cosmetic’ in nature.
Functional hail damage refers to damage that affects the integrity and longevity of the roof. Cosmetic hail damage refers to damage that does not affect the viability of the roof to perform its function.
In 2013, the American Association of Insurance Services, introduced a “Cosmetic Damage Exclusion” to allow insurers to avoid coverage for cosmetic damage. However, sometimes, a roof that has been functionally damaged will be passed off as only cosmetically damaged by the insurance company.
A qualified, trained roof inspector will know the difference and can assist the homeowner to make sure the insurance designation is properly assigned.
INTERESTING FACT: BASEBALL SIZE HAIL STONES FALL AT NEARLY 100 MILES PER HOUR.
Wood shake, clay, concrete and other dense roofing material types can be instantly cracked or shattered by large hail stones.
Hail damage to asphalt shingles may consist of punctures, tears, fractures (bruises) or the more common displacement of granules.
Displacement of granules occurs when granules have been knocked off by the impact of hail stones hitting the roof. The loss of protective granules exposes underlying asphalt to damaging sun rays.
When asphalt is directly exposed to the sun, without a protective layer of granules, the shingle becomes vulnerable to UV light degradation, which can accelerate cracking, blistering, algae formation, edge damage, and water leaks.
WHAT DO I DO IF I THINK I HAVE HAIL DAMAGE?
If you’re a homeowner and think you may have hail damage, the first thing you should do is call a professional contractor for a free roof inspection.
If the inspector thinks you may have damage, your next step would be to file an insurance claim with your homeowner’s insurance company. A lot of people ask: “Will insurance pay for a new roof?” This depends on your policy and who you have on your team. A trained professional can determine whether the damage is functional or cosmetic in nature.
Homeowners: It’s very important that you have your contractor come out and inspect the roof with your insurance adjuster. You must remember the insurance company is looking for reasons NOT to replace your roof. That’s why it’s important to make sure your contractor inspects the roof with the adjuster.
Hail damage inspections are vital skills for professionals working in roofing sales and project management. Equipped with the right information and resources, you’ll have a trained eye to spot hail damage for homeowners and commercial companies and help them get fair coverage for the losses they’ve sustained.
Make sure to ask the homeowner if they have been experiencing any leaks in the home that could have resulted from the hail damage to roof shingles. Our job is to assist the homeowner to get full and fair settlement for all parts of the home that have sustained damage as a result of hail or wind.
Choosing a Roof Contractor
After any storm, there will be “fly-by-night” outfits going door to door and claiming they are legitimate roofing companies. Most of the time, they do the work quickly and get out of town even faster before you have a chance to address any issues or problems, leaving you little recourse. Always ask to see their business licenses, proof of insurance, certifications, permanent business address and Better Business Bureau rating.
A reputable roofing contractor should be based locally and have a history of being in business in one location. They should also be able to help you with your insurance claim and know what is covered, what is excluded, and how to help prevent you from spending more than your deductible out-of-pocket. More importantly, the roofing contractor should ensure that everything on the claim is clearly