Thunderstorms account for half of all severe roof damage in the lower 48 states.
According to the National Severe Storm Laboratory, severe thunderstorms in Louisville can generate heavy rain, hail, ice, and winds exceeding 100 mph.
Wind damage can occur in big and small ways and bring havoc to your home and roofing system.
When skies turn dark and storms roll through, make sure your roof is prepared and able to sustain storm damage.
Hail is perhaps the most common cause of storm damage.
Even one hail storm can cause long-lasting damage to your roof and property. Hail storms are most common in the spring and the fall and can hit one of the 50 states.
There are two main factors that affect whether or not hail damage is a concern on your roof:
- Size – Any type of hail can cause damage, but hail that is smaller than 1-inch is typically nothing to worry about. If you have larger hail, you’ll want to have a roof inspection.
- Density – Sometimes hail will crush on impact and act more like a snowcone than an ice ball. Other times it can be like marbles hitting your house. The larger, and denser the hail – the more damage it can cause.
How Hail Does Damage to Your Roof:
Hailstorms can cause small damage that may seem insignificant or major damage that may require a full roof replacement.
When not handled properly, even minor storm damage cause hail will increase over time.
- Dents a Metal Roof – Some metal roofs are susceptible to denting from large or dense hail. While this won’t compromise the integrity or efficacy of your roofing, it may look unsightly.
- Exposes Fiberglass/Tile Roofing – Hail can weaken and expose fiberglass and tile causing future damage if not dealt with quickly after a storm.
- Damages Shingles – There are several ways hail can damage your shingles. This is why a roof inspection is always recommended after a hail storm.
Hail can also cause problems like:
- Large hail may tear right through asphalt shingles and allow water to penetrate through to your roof deck.
- Smaller hail can bruise a shingle and push the asphalt granules further down into the shingle surface. Over 6-12 months, this causes the granules to gradually disappear and the shingle itself will deteriorate.
- Hail can act like sandpaper on your asphalt shingles and brush the granules off, causing your shingles to age quickly and making them more susceptible to subsequent damage.
- Fast falling hail can crack the shingle mat and allow moisture through.
Every storm comes with the wind.
While all roofing materials are built to handle wind, excessive wind speeds, or consistent winds over time can still cause significant damage to the corners, edges, and the ridgeline which are especially susceptible to damage.
How High Wind Can Damage Your Roof:
- Missing Shingles – If you notice bare spots on your roof after a storm, you’re likely missing shingles that were blown off during the storm.
- Loose, Cracked, or Damaged Shingles – Sometimes the roof doesn’t appear to have any storm damage, but your shingles have suffered small cracks and lost fasteners that are undetectable from the ground.
- Punctures From Debris – Anything picked up will eventually fall, which means if you had strong winds that picked up nearby trash cans, trampolines, toys, or debris – it may have punctured your roof in the process.
- Moved, Curled, or Lifted Flashing – The flashings around the chimney are a high-stress point. With high winds, these spots may be easily lifted when the wind hits.
- Gutter Full of Granules – If you have asphalt shingles, the granules can blow off during strong winds and rain and quickly clog up the gutter system.
- Tree Limbs on Your Roof – Nearby tree limbs can be a huge potential hazard that causes serious damage to the surface of your roof.
Your roof is responsible for keeping your home waterproof.
Most rainstorms shouldn’t be any problem for your roof. After all, roofs are made for all kinds of weather. However, if your roof is compromised, or if you experience heavy or prolonged rain in the area, your roof can put your entire home at risk.
Rain Damage That Can Happen:
- Wears Down Shingles – Over time, the combination of water and wind washing over asphalt shingles can wear down the surface and destroy the granule coating.
- Pooling Water – Heavy rain can cause pools of moisture to get trapped on the roof in the eaves or in low areas where the drainage system may not be working properly.
- Overwhelms Your Gutters & Downspouts – Heavy rain takes a toll and sometimes it is too much for your gutters to handle. If the gutter system fails, it may cause damage to your walls, siding, and foundation.
- Damage to Supporting Elements – Rain can cause damage to the supports or accents of your roof, which may be difficult to detect. If you have areas where water seems to pool, these are areas worth investigating.
- Mold Growth – Trapped moisture can bring both mold and decay to an aging building. Mold quickly leads to expansion of the wood, deterioration at the joints, and of course, an infestation of bugs.
Heavy Snow and Ice Damage
A winter wonderland isn’t all sugarplums and snowflakes.
Heavy snow and ice can also be a potential risk for your home and cause major damage if your home isn’t prepared.
How Snow and Ice Can Damage Your Roof:
- Too Much Snow – In extreme cases, snowfall can weigh down the roof and cause a collapse. According to construction safety codes, this would take 4 feet of fresh snow falling all at once, which is extremely rare. Even in areas that experience regular snowfall, the roofing codes are designed to handle greater weight.
- Icicles – While they look pretty, icicles are a sign of a major roofing problem. When water freezes along the eaves of your roof, it expands and wreaks havoc. Freezing and thawing ice damages your shingles, opens cracks, and pulls off your gutters.
- Expanding Problems – If there is a crack in your roof, water seeps in rather quickly. When the temperatures dip, that water expands and makes a small crack much bigger.
- Windows Damage – Snow and ice can cause damage to window casings, panes, frames, and crack holes in glass.
- Shingle Damage – Shingle damage can occur through blizzards in the area whipping across the surface of your roof. Often paired with heavy snow and ice, this can cause significant wear and tear on your roof’s surface.
What To Do After the Storm Damage?
After the storm is over, check your home for signs of wind, rain, hail, or snow storm damage as quickly as possible.
You can start with the following steps:
Step 1. Call a Professional for Assessment and Repairs
If you’re unsure of the storm damage, it’s important to stay on the ground and call a professional.
Do not attempt to get on the roof and assess the damage. For a full roof inspection, contact a local roofing contractor.
Once you have a professional roofing contractor on-site, they will check the following areas for potential storm damage:
- Windows and Skylights – Although this is not technically roofing, a roofing contractor should also check the window glass, vinyl trim, glazing (the plastic pieces around the window that hold it in), screens, skylights, and shutters for potential damage.
- Roof & Shingles – The roof should be thoroughly inspected for loose or cracked shingles, broken or compromised fascia, or other areas of vulnerability.
- Gutters & Downspouts – Your gutter system should be inspected for fragments or cracks, limbs, leaves, or small branches, or areas where the gutter has been bent, disconnected, or broken.
- Exterior Damage – Storm damage can also tear the siding off the house, cause paint to peel, and break off the stucco. These areas should be checked for any damage or discoloration.
Step 2: Create Your Own Evidence
Wait until the storm has completely passed and begin to gather evidence of what took place.
Take pictures and videos of the damage to your property and the surrounding areas.
Be sure to document everything and anything from multiple vantage points.
Step 3: Save the Receipts
Any imminent damage that is causing water to pour into your house or shattered glass from windows should be cleaned up and remedied immediately.
A quick fix is designed to prevent further damage before you can get a contractor on site.
Any type of DIY fix should be documented and save all of the receipts for reimbursement from the insurance company with your claim.
Step 4: Stay Organized
Paperwork is critical when filing an insurance claim.
Save anything and everything.
Don’t toss any type of receipts, paperwork, save any emails from your agent, and locate a hard copy of your policy if possible.
Step 5: Call Your Insurance Company to Check
If you have a major storm in your area, call your insurance company immediately but be patient.
Every other homeowner in your area will likely be doing the same thing after the storm. So, stay in touch with your insurance company and follow their instructions to complete your claim.
Your roofing contractor can also help with the claims process.
How Do Storm Damage Insurance Claims Work?
Homeowner’s insurance works similarly to other types of insurance.
Usually, you are responsible for paying your deductible which may be anywhere from $500 to $5000.
After this deductible is paid, the insurance company issues payment based on your coverage and the repairs necessary.
What to Expect During Your Insurance Claim Process
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will likely cover storm damage from hail, wind, fire, or snow. However, they will not cover flood damage unless you have a specific flood policy.
While the claim process can be overwhelming – but a reputable roofing contractor along with a trusted insurance agent can ensure you get all the coverage you’re entitled to.
- Inspection – We recommend having a professional roofing company in your area provide a thorough inspection of the roof. Choose a company that is local and reputable. This ensures that any work done has the best warranties.
- Coverage –After the inspection, discuss the findings with your contractor, share photos, and discuss your coverage. If the damage is too extensive, filing a claim may not be in your best interest. Your roofing contractor can help determine the best method given your insurance coverage.
- Claim – If you opt to file an insurance claim, the insurance company will schedule an adjuster to inspect your roof to approve and process your claim. Schedule both the adjuster and the roofing contractor to attend this meeting together.
- Adjuster – When the insurance company sends out the adjuster, have the roofing contractor present as well. The insurance adjusters have a specific checklist they will follow when determining the damage. Your roofing contractor has a separate list. The adjuster is there to advocate for the insurance company, your contractor should also be present to advocate for you.
- Approval – Once your insurance claim is approved, you can share that approval with your roofing contractor so they know the repairs to complete and can schedule the work to be completed.
- Repairs – Now the contractors can begin work and the insurance company will provide payment directly to you. Once the work is complete, you will be responsible for paying the roofing contractor and any uncovered expenses.
FAQs About Storm Damage