Recent windy weather might have caused some roof damage to your home or business. That means a forecast of rain in the coming weeks might have you sweating – even when the calendar says, “Winter’. Strong winds can cause stress points on a roof. Those weak areas can become compromised over time, and create a serious expense you weren’t counting on. Making sure missing shingles are replaced and fixing roof damage before it becomes worse are important to prevent further damage down the road.
How Does Wind Damage Your Roof
Although it may look smooth, your roof isn’t completely flat. And anywhere there is unevenness, those areas can be affected by wind. For instance, the corners and perimeter of the roof can be susceptible to higher wind pressures, while the center of the roof might have lower stresses. Most wind damage starts on the edge, according to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). Any roofing material that is even a little bit loose is likely to be susceptible to damage as wind get up under it, pushing it up even more. Sure enough, the next time it’s windy, this gives the wind more to grab onto, creating a peeling effect. Damage like this starts small, but then continues to grow over time through repeated exposure.
Speaking of exposure, once a whole corner of shingle protection blows away and is exposed, rain can leak in, causing water damage. Homeowners and business owners can avoid this type of wind damage by making sure materials on the edges and corners of their roof remain strong and in good condition following a period of high winds.
Tree Damage & Flying Debris
Significant wind can also blow debris onto your roof, damaging it. Broken tree limbs and branches, and debris from nearby yards can also end up on your roof, tearing at your shingles. It is also wise to check your gutters and downspouts. Blowing debris could have easily ended up in there, clogging them. Keep trees trimmed and away from your roof. Not only do they make handy “highways” for squirrels and other pests to get to your roof and eventually into your attic, tree branches scratching a roof will, over time, gouge roofing materials with every breeze. Branches that fall from overhanging trees can damage, or even puncture, shingles and other roofing materials.
Checking for Roof Wind Damage
(Remember, only attempt inspections on your own if you feel comfortable and confident you can do so without injury. Never climb a ladder without another adult “riding shotgun” in case of an accident.)
- Perform an Outdoor Inspection: Look for damaged or missing shingles on your roof or around your property. Shingles that are damaged might be cracked, curled or torn. If the damage covers less than 30% of the entire roof, it means it is localized and simple roofing repairs may be able to address the situation. If there is more extensive damage, a roof replacement might be in order. Beyond the roof, the chimney, ventilation pipes, roof flashing, gutters and fencing might also be damaged and deserve a look.
- Composition shingles: loss of granules, curling, broken, damaged or missing shingles
- Wood shingles: Splitting or curling, mold or decay
- Flat roof: Tearing or cracking, obvious patches, blistering and/or wrinkling (also check patched areas from inside the attic)
- Flashing: Tearing or buckling around roof penetrations
- Roofing cement: Excess cement, crumbling
- Soffits and fascia: Stains or decay
- Soffit and ridge vents: Damaged or clogged vents, curled or missing shingles around the flashing
- Gutters: Decomposing or rusting, leaky seams, bending or sagging, loosely missing sections of gutter or downspout, clogged with debris.
- Chimneys: Loose, leaning or missing flashing, damaged brickwork, cracked joints or cap. Chimney flashing is especially prone to tearing because a chimney will settle independently from the house.
- Perform an Indoor Inspection: Moisture marks, brown, yellow, or grey stains, and peeling paint on walls and/or ceilings are all indications of a leaking, damaged roof. Check your attic for damp rafters or leaks. Also inspect your energy bill! If there is 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. Also, it’s not that we don’t trust you, but you might inadvertently cause further damage to your property. A trained professional also knows what to look for, and has the tools and safety techniques to get up on your roof to check for damage.
If Your Roof has Wind Damage, Can It Wait?
Roof damage caused by wind or flying debris should be fixed immediately. More damage will occur the longer you wait. Roof repair and even replacement cost much less when you don’t have to add in repairs for leaks and water damage when the eventual rains come. Your insurance agent can help you assess damage and gauge if you need to file a claim. 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. This will facilitate reimbursement if you file a claim. A lot of policies cover those expenses when you submit them with a claim.
Choosing the RIGHT Roof Contractor
It is common that following a storm there are “fly-by-night” contractors who go door to door and claim they are legitimate roofing companies. Surprisingly, Texas does not require roofers to have licenses. Most of the time, these unlicensed workers do the job quickly (maybe) and then they’re off chasing the next storm system, leaving you holding the bag if there are any issues with their work. Hire a roofing company that is willing to show you their business licenses, proof of insurance, certifications, permanent business address and Better Business Bureau rating. Go to their website and read reviews from satisfied customers. It may eat up the clock a little when you need a repair, but it’s time well spent in the long run.