8 Signs of Storm Damage on Your Roof

Gemma Johnstone
Written by Gemma Johnstone
Reviewed by Ami Feller
Updated December 29, 2021
A roof of a house with nice windows
Photo: karamysh / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Damage to your roof and siding is common after storms

  • Hail can cause dents, cracks, and movement

  • High winds can rip parts of your roofing material away

  • It's not uncommon to see damaged or missing shingles that lead to water ingress

  • A professional roof inspection is sensible after a severe storm

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In the aftermath of a hurricane, hail, or snowstorm, you’ll likely just be breathing a sigh of relief that it’s all over. However, even if there are no obvious signs of problems, like a tree falling on your roof or water coming through your ceilings, it’s still important to do a wider assessment of potential damage. 

Roofs are the area most likely to require repairs following a storm. Calling a vetted local roof inspector for a professional evaluation after a severe or prolonged storm is always wise. Not all damage is easy to spot for the untrained eye, and the pros can access this elevated space safely. Assessing potential roof storm damage allows you to take prompt action, contact insurers to file a claim in a timely fashion, and prevent more costly, wide-scale repairs further down the line.

Check out these eight signs that you have a storm-damaged roof to help prevent any nasty surprises.

1. Missing Shingles

High winds frequently result in entire shingles tearing from your roof, especially if they already had cracks or were peeling. Missing shingles are often visible from a ground inspection, and there may even be pieces of roofing material scattered around your property.

2. Shingle Damage

Roof shingles have been damaged by strong storms
Photo: J.A. / Adobe Stock

Shingle damage isn’t something to ignore—it can lead to water ingress in your home. Roof hail storm damage often results in cracks, dents, or holes, whereas strong winds lead to tears, peeling, or lifting shingles. This type of damage can be difficult to spot from the ground, which is why taking on the cost of a roof inspection following a storm can be helpful.

3. Noticeable Shingle Granule Debris

Asphalt shingles have a layer of granules on their surface which help protect your roof—primarily from damaging UV rays. A small amount of granule loss over time is normal, but stormy weather—especially hailstorms—often results in excessive scattering. You should replace shingles with a lot of granular wear to prevent problems with weatherproofing.

“Most insurance companies say you have to file your claim within 6 to 24 months of the hail event—so by the time it leaks, it's often too late,” says Ami Feller of Feller Roofing. “Most roofing companies won't charge for a hail inspection. Definitely get it inspected.”

If you see a thin horizontal indented line on your shingles, this is a sign of granule loss. You may also spot a large pile of granules gathering in the gutters or downspouts.

4. Soffit, Fascia, Gutter, or Flashing Damage

It’s not just the shingles that take a battering during storms—look out for signs of damage on the other areas around your roof, too. Soffits, fascias, gutters, and flashing can suffer too, and they’re all designed to keep water away from your home's interior. 

Wind can cause fittings to come loose, gutters and downspouts can clog with storm debris, and flashing can shift out of place, breaking the seal. After a hailstorm, look for signs of dents, cracks, or loosening of these integral roof sections. The larger the hailstones, the more severe the damage can be.

5. Tree or Other Debris Damage

If a major storm causes an entire tree to collapse onto your roof, it isn’t something you’ll miss! However, tree limbs or other natural debris can get thrown onto your roof during high winds, and this may not be as obvious without a thorough visual inspection. Aside from the wreckage being a safety hazard, the impact can cause shingle damage or even major structural issues for your roof.

The debris could strike your roof and then blow elsewhere during the storm, so you might have to look for evidence of its impact rather than the object itself. Broken shingle patterns, holes, or dents are all red flags. If you are uncomfortable getting on the roof yourself, you should hire a pro to look into these issues.

6. Crooked Chimney

Major storms can lead to problems with the flashing seal around your chimney and subsequent water ingress. When this happens, the chimney may no longer sit straight, but at a crooked angle. It isn’t likely to look like the Leaning Tower of Pisa, so you need a keen eye to spot minor changes in its position from the ground. Many chimney leaks are not visible to the naked eye, however, so it may be best to call in a chimney pro to take a look.

7. Leaks in the Attic or Ceilings

If you have water pouring in through your ceiling after a storm, that’s a pretty obvious sign of damage. However, signs of moisture penetration are often more subtle, and even small pools of standing water or minor damage to shingles can lead to water damage.  

After a storm, head up to the attic with a flashlight. You might notice discoloration or dampness on walls, ceilings, insulation, or lumber. If you ignore slow water ingress, this usually leads to problems with dangerous mold and mildew formation and can compromise the integrity of the roof supports. Note that you’ll likely always get small amounts of water blowing in through the roof ventilation—if you see that, don't be alarmed. You should look for water drops, in particular,specially around penetrations like the chimney, and in valleys.

If the roof has different levels of ventilation, it is possible that the roof will suck in snow during a storm.

“If you live in the south especially, and it snows, I would check your attic for drifts,” says Feller. “A little snow won't hurt anything, but if there is a lot, it could collapse the drywall underneath it when it melts.”

8. Ice Dam Formations

A common roof problem relating to winter snowstorms is the formation of ice dams. These develop when the snow on the roof melts due to escaping heat from the attic space. The water then refreezes when it hits the colder roof edges, eaves, and gutters. The continuing thaw and freeze cycle results in the ice dam growing quickly and moving back up the roof. 

If you don't deal with this ASAP, the ice can break under shingles, pull down gutters, and won't allow the gathering melting snow to fall off the roof. This process can lead to internal water damage, and it can be dangerous when the heavy blocks of ice eventually break off.

Keep an eye out for the early signs of ice dams forming, as they’re trickier to remove safely once a heavy buildup of ice has formed. It's a good early indicator if you see small icicles forming on your eaves and gutters.

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