Your homeowners insurance provider will, sometimes, even send their own inspector or assessor to evaluate the repairs needed to be made on your house.
People in the United States have not been immune to storms or hurricanes. In fact, those of you living in the East Coast have had your share of rough weather over the years; more so than the West Coast and there’s a reason for that. Along the East Coast, the Gulf Stream has warm waters that “maintains” the hurricane’s strength and keeps it alive, as you might say. Whereas in the West Coast, the cooler waters don’t provide enough thermal energy to sustain the winds of a hurricane.
Of all the things you need to check on your roof, storm damage should be your primary concern. There are many things a storm can do to your roof that can affect its longevity. Plus, a damaged roof will have a domino effect on other parts of your house, such as your ceiling (potential water spots), walls (water damage on the paint and finish), floors (water weakens wooden floors), and more.
Before you look for damage on your roof, you first need to learn the kinds of damage a storm can do and the types of storm roof damage.
Types of Storms Likely to hit Miami
According to Michael Brennan,the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Senior Hurricane Specialist, Gulf Coast cities are particularly susceptible to hurricanes because of the Gulf of Mexico’s unique underwater geology.
Because of this, homeowners living in Miami or reasonably near it, should be aware of the types of storms that can potentially wreak havoc on their roofs.
If you’ve experienced heavy rainfall, strong winds, mudslides, and floods, then a tropical storm has hit your locality. These storms usually have 39-73 mph winds and can cause medium to heavy damage to your roof.
If a tropical storm has winds that reach 74 mph, then it can be classified as a hurricane. The hurricane can cover an area of up to 400 miles and its eye is usually 20-30 miles wide. Of all the storms that are likely to hit Miami, hurricanes can cause the most damage to your roof.
Here are the things you can do to protect your roof from hurricanes.
- Place plywood or other protective materials on your roof
- Cut down trees close to your home
- Remove loose objects around your house that can be lifted by the wind
- Be vigilant and repairing and maintaining your roof
Thunderstorms and Hail
According to weather reports, Miami experiences thunderstorms 80 days per year. Though strong winds aren’t expected when this happens, there’s a threat of hail. Hail can potentially do moderate to heavy damage on your roof if you’re not careful.
Though Miami does get tornadoes, they’re usually weak and short-lived (F0 to F1), when compared to other areas. These happen most often from May to August. Since the danger from tornadoes is near hurricane-type winds, you prepare for it the same way you protect your roof from hurricanes.
Types of Storm Roof Damage
The type of damage rough weather can inflict on your roof can vary. You should look for all signs and nip it in the bud or you’ll have a lot of problems later.
Of course, hurricane-force winds (74 mph or greater) and gale-force winds (39-54 mph) can cause a lot of damage to your roof. These kinds of winds can tear and remove shingles, leaving the roof deck, underlayment, and waterproof materials exposed to the elements.
On weaker storms, sudden gusts of wind can damage shingles significantly. Shingles are installed in an overlapping way to make it watertight. These winds can lift the shingles and break the watertight seal to make your roof more vulnerable to rain going sideways because of the wind.
When droplets of water freeze at very high altitudes, hail forms. Though a hailstorm doesn’t last long (15 minutes max), it can cause substantial damage to your roof. These pieces of ice can leave pockmarks or dents in your roof and knock shingles loose. Of course, if you want your roof to be aesthetically pleasing, you need to fix it at the first sign of hail damage. For hail damage, roof repairs are absolutely needed.
To be more specific, here are the signs you need to look for when checking for hail damage:
- Small divots (pieces of shingles torn off from the shingles)
- Round black marks (a sign of hail hitting the roof)
- Bruises on the shingles
- Loss of protective granules (new shingles typically show this but older ones don’t)
Without a proper drainage system, roofs can accumulate water in certain areas, especially after heavy rainstorms. This standing water can potentially penetrate the roof’s underlayment and cause moisture to go through your ceiling.
Depending on how strong the storm is, some debris can end up on your roof. This is also possible when tornadoes hit, though not a direct hit as that would total your house completely. It’s especially true for people who are living in the Midwest United States.
Tree limbs that broke off or pieces of wood that were blown away by the wind can leave dents or visible impact signs on your roof. If that happens, it can leave your roof vulnerable to water intrusion. Look for these signs when inspecting your roof after a storm.
1. Make Sure the Storm is Over
Checking your roof for damage while a storm is going on can be very dangerous; not just because of the strong winds but also because of flying debris that could hurt you. There’s also the danger of falling because of the insane wind speeds coming at you. To be sure, check the weather reports and confirm if the storm is really over. If you’re absolutely certain the storm has abated, then you can start your inspection.
2. Follow this Step-by-Step Process
There are many signs to look for when checking if the storm has caused damage to your roof. Don’t just go up there and check for yourself. Remember, checking your roof firsthand after a storm can be very dangerous. The storm may have weakened your roof enough to not support your weight.
✅ Ceiling and Attic
Check your ceiling for damp areas, or worse, water spots. If you have a blacklight, point it at the ceiling, so it’s easier to identify wet areas. Go to the upper level if you have a house with more than two storeys. Attics are the first places you check. Run your feet along the floor to try to find puddles of water that might have dripped from the ceiling.
Most of the time, concrete walls have condensation during wet weather. If the walls become damper than normal, check for water that might be leaking from the ceiling and drips down the walls. Wooden walls often have layers that prevent condensation from accumulating. Damps spots on wooden walls should get your alarm bells ringing! Check your ceilings, as well, when this happens.
✅ Windows, Vents, and Gutters
First, you need to inspect your windows for torn screens and loose-weather stripping. Check the window sills and frames for cracks and loose fittings. The glass should be inspected for cracks or broken sections.
Now, you can go outside the house to scrutinize your gutters and gable vents. Make sure they don’t have dents, and of course, make sure they’re still intact. Overhangs should still be intact and stable when you try to push against it with your hand, when you’re using a ladder.
✅ Area Surrounding the House
Walk around your house’s surrounding areas. The things to look for are broken tree limbs, pieces of roof shingles, or large pieces of wood. If you can see them on the ground, there’s a good chance they hit your roof first.
Check your patio or decks (if your house has them) for hail damage. Wooden surfaces hit by hail will be easy to spot because of visible scuff marks and discolored patches on the wooden surface.
✅ The Roof
While inspecting your roof, walk around your house’s perimeter and watch out for pieces of shingles blown off by the storm. For your overhangs, make sure your shingles are still tight against the underlayment and roof deck.
Often, you can’t see the subtle signs of roof damage so it’s better to ask a roofing contractor to help you. It’s possible to overlook some signs and that will leave your roof (and house) more vulnerable to future storms.
While checking these things, make some notes and take pictures of the roof damage for insurance purposes. Document everything.
3. Pick a Trusted Roofing Contractor
If you’re not an experienced roofing contractor, you may miss some signs that your roof has sustained storm damage. To cover all your bases, have a trusted roofing contractor to do a formal inspection.
After a powerful storm, trusted roofing contractors will be at a premium. Everyone will be clamoring for their services so it’s better to get in front of the line. Enlist their help in inspecting your roof so you don’t miss anything. Look for discounts or good deals offered by these companies. But, remember to bail if something doesn’t add up. Check the contractor’s testimonials and look for reviews on these companies on social media and other sources.
For this task, look for competent professionals who have been repairing roofs for more than 15 years like Century Roofing Specialists. We are a roofing contractor in Miami and we offer these services to our clients:
- Conduct a professional inspection of your roof
- Give a realistic estimate on the repair costs
- Repair (or in some cases replace) your roof within the budget agreed upon
We are a licensed and insured roofing company based in Miami, Florida. Our highly experienced specialists and roofing contractors will provide you with top-class roofing services at very affordable prices.
4. Contact Your Homeowners Insurance Provider
After a storm and you find out that your roof has significant storm damage, it’s better to contact your homeowners insurance provider right away. In doing this, you’ll have a good chance of filing a claim that satisfies their requirements.
As mentioned above, you can make a cursory inspection of your roof (and other parts of the house) to see the extent of the damage inflicted by the storm. The best practice is to take pictures of everything, make notes, and document everything that you see out of the ordinary.
Source: Century Roofing Orlando