You shouldn’t blow off roof wind damage
Most roof shingles can withstand windstorms when installed properly. However, less obvious cracked, missing, or damaged roof tiles or shingles can cause homeowners a big headache when the next rainstorm comes along. Poor installation or repairs from a previous roofing contractor and flying debris are two leading causes of roof, skylight, and gutter damage during high wind events.
Roof wind damage is most likely to happen to your property when wind speeds surpass 50 miles per hour (mph), when rainstorms generate strong wind gusts, or when winds resulting from hurricanes or tornadoes exceed 70 mph. Once the wind passes, we encourage every homeowner to safely walk around their property from front to back and inspect their roof from the ground, ensuring that nothing is out of place and there is no visible damage to the roof or gutter systems.
How to Check Your Roof for Wind Damage
When it is safe, one of the first steps to identify wind damage to your roof is to thoroughly inspect your roof, gutters, chimney, and the surrounding areas of your property.
“The most common sign of wind damage among asphalt shingle roofs is when you see multiple missing shingles or parts of shingles across the roof,” says Tyler Keezer, Expert Review Board Member and Home Energy Specialist at Switch Electric Home Energy in Lake Stevens, WA. “If you inspect the roof closely, you will find that these shingles lift, crease, and eventually break off. If the roof was installed improperly and the shingles were not nailed correctly, you will find that full strips of shingles will come loose and fall off the roof.”
One of the most visible signs of roof damage will be on your roof itself. Step outside, and look up and search for missing, loose, or lifted asphalt shingles, roof tiles, roof metal, or roof slates, depending on your home’s roof materials. Using binoculars, take a look at the ridge caps and vents and check for missing pieces. Pay close attention to the roof edges. This part of the roof tends to be more susceptible to damage from high winds. Lastly, keep assessing and examining the following items if you have them in your house:
Roof-mounted AC units
Large pieces of debris
Strong winds can loosen or blow your gutters away if not fastened properly. Flying debris from severe winds can hit the gutters and create dents. Plus, loose shingles’ granules can clog the gutters and downspouts as well. A loose, dented, or clogged gutter is another sign that your roof may have experienced wind damage.
Check your chimney for loose mortar or bent or missing flashing on the chimney cap.
Sometimes the wind damage to your roof may not be visible from the outside. If the winds are due to a rainstorm, make sure to inspect your attic and carefully look for water leaks. And check your ceiling for wet areas as well; some of the water damage may not appear right away, but you may notice it soon as stains start to show up on your ceiling.
Walk around your property’s perimeter and look for debris, such as roof shingles, metal flashing, and other components of your roof on the ground. In addition, see if there is any missing or loose siding or big tree branches on the ground that may have hit your roof.
What to Do if There Is Wind Damage to Your Roof
If after you have carefully self-inspected your roof and property surroundings, you have identified signs of roof damage, take the following steps:
Document the storm damage by taking pictures for insurance purposes
Hire a local roofing contractor to inspect your roof
Review your insurance policy and contact your insurance company to initiate a claim
If you need roof repairs or a roof replacement, get a cost estimate from a pro
Hire a roofing contractor who has experience with insurance claims
How to Prevent Wind Damage to Your Roof
Prevention and maintenance are essential to safeguard the life of your roof even when natural events happen. Take these measures to reduce the chances of wind damage to your roof during the next windstorm.
Have a roofing professional repair loose or missing shingles
If a roof replacement is due soon, select windproof materials
Trim any tree branches near your roof
Clear any debris from your gutters and roof
Fasten any small objects outside of your home that could potentially fly away
Review your homeowner’s insurance policy