5 Savvy Ways to Determine Storm Damage Without Getting on Your Roof

Reviewed by Keith Jacob
Updated April 20, 2022
Shingles on a gabled roof of a brick house
Photo: tamas / Adobe Stock

Your roof shelters you from storms, but sometimes it needs a little TLC too

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Rainy days are perfect for cozying up on the couch and watching movies. But once the storm has passed, it’s easy to overlook the impact it had on your roof. Since storm damage isn’t always immediately evident, we’ll show you how to find out if your roof is in need of repair—without having to get on the roof yourself.

1. Do a Visual Inspection

If you’ve experienced a severe thunderstorm, then once the storm passes, you need to do a walk around and visually inspect your home’s exterior siding, gutters and downspouts, and whatever you can see of the roof from the ground. Using binoculars is a great way to get a good view.

You’ll want to look for signs of wind or hail damage on the roof, such as dents, dimples, or dings in your exterior siding, damage to your guttering, or torn or missing shingles. And, of course, if you have downed trees in your yard, you know your roof has taken a punishment.

You should also check your yard and your guttering for shingle fragments, since high winds can easily rip shingles away, exposing your roof’s underlayment to damaging moisture. You may also find pieces of metal debris coming from your roof’s metal flashing or fascia or from around your chimney.

2. Check the Interior

If your home has an attic, then you should do a walk-through to see if anything is in need of repair. Look for signs of water leaks or damage. You should also note whether you see any light streaming in where it shouldn’t be. And, of course, if you find outside debris, such as bits of roofing, leaves, rocks, or twigs, then wind and hail have probably poked a hole in your roof.

If you don’t have an attic, you should still take a look at the walls and ceiling at the highest level of your home. Water stains can indicate a storm-related roof leak.

3. Check the Weather Report

Stucco house with stormy skies above
Photo: Tom Penpark / DigitalVision / Getty Images

Storm-related roof damage isn’t always visible, even with the most careful visual inspection. So if you’ve had a severe storm, particularly a hail storm or wind storm, then you should check the weather reports to confirm just how significant it was. 

Hailstones smaller than half an inch in diameter may only create minor cosmetic damage. Anything larger, though, can inflict significant damage on your roof. And if the hail in your area was more than an inch in diameter, you can pretty much guarantee your roof has suffered some storm damage that will need repair, even if you can’t readily see it yourself.

4. Get a Roof Inspection

If you’ve had a severe storm, it’s not a bad idea to hire a roofing company to do a professional inspection. This will help you protect your home by ensuring you’re aware of and able to quickly address any damage you may not have seen. It’ll also make the repair process easier when it’s time to file a storm damage claim with your insurance company.

If you spot hail the size of a quarter or larger on your property, you should call a roofer who has expertise in hail damage roof inspections. They can help you decide whether to file a claim with your insurance company.

“We recommend doing this before filing a claim, because a trustworthy roofer can help you avoid filing a claim you should not file,” says Keith Jacob of Integrous Roofing & Restoration, Inc. in Littleton, CO., “I would ask them to provide pictures of what they do—or do not—find on the roof. Real hail damage is typically easy to show with good photos. Also it is important that the customer know the timeline they have to file a claim in order to be covered.”

5. Use a Drone to Inspect Roof Damage

Not quite ready to hire a roofing company? Break out your drone and use it to assess storm damage on your roof. This is a savvy way to look for missing shingles, hail and wind damage, standing water, and much more.

This is also a much safer way to check to see if your roof is in need of repair without having to get on a ladder yourself. Stay safely on the ground while learning a lot about the state of your roof.

It’s important to keep in mind that while a drone can provide some help, it can only spot very obvious roof damage. Most pros still recommend a thorough roof inspection to verify less-noticeable damage caused by hail.

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