As the first line of defense against the elements, your home’s roofing system is the most susceptible to storm damage. In South Carolina, we experience everything from hailstorms and strong winds to tropical storms and hurricanes. These can cause new damage or expose already existing weak spots. In the aftermath of a storm, you should first step outside and assess your roof for signs of damage.
Some forms of storm damage are easy to spot, like water coming through your ceilings or a tree that has fallen on your roof. Others are hard or impossible to spot, especially from the street level. Either way, early detection of damage is crucial when preventing costly, wide-scale repairs down the line.
7 Signs Will Help You to Know Your Roof Has Storm Damage
Here are common signs of storm damage to a roof.
- Missing or Damaged Shingles or Metal Panels
One of the easiest ways to spot storm damage to your roof is by seeing damaged or missing shingles.
Often, missing or damaged shingles are visible from a ground inspection, and you may easily spot pieces of roofing materials scattered around your home. High winds can cause shingles to loosen or blow away. Similarly, hail or flying debris can dent or crack shingles upon impact. In other instances, shingles may curl upward following storm damage.
While metal roof panels do not have as much trouble as shingles, they may still receive dents from large debris and hail. In most cases, the dents will be an aesthetic concern. But if the metal roofing is weakened, the dents can lead to more severe problems. Large objects that fall on the roof can cause punctures, the separation between panels, and structural damage, which may expose the material underneath to premature deterioration.
- Loose Granules
Granules are little bits of stone embedded into asphalt roofing shingles to give them their color, make them fire-resistant, and protect them from the sun’s harmful UV rays. They are crucial to the performance and longevity of your roof. However, extreme weather – especially hail – can cause significant granule loss.
To spot the loss of granules, look for dark spots or areas of discoloration on the roof. You can also check the gutters to find out if there’s an accumulation of granules. Loose granules on the ground around the downspout are another sign of hailstorm damage. If the hail is strong enough to cause excessive granule loss, your roof’s integrity is compromised, and it may be time for a replacement.
- Visible Leaks
If water is pouring in through your ceiling, that’s a pretty obvious sign of storm damage. In some cases, however, moisture infiltration is often more subtle, leading to more serious problems. This may include rot, mold, and mildew.
After a storm, take a flashlight and head up to the attic. You might notice dark spots, stains, or dampness on ceilings, walls, framing, or insulation. Water leaks create wet insulation, causing it to stop performing effectively and potentially requiring premature replacement.
Also, inspect the rafters and trusses for water or structural damage, especially after a snowstorm, rainstorm, or windstorm. If the framing has signs of water damage or the roof appears “saggy” in some areas, this is a sign of storm damage.
- Damaged Flashing, Gutters, and Downspouts
The flashing, gutters, and downspouts can also take a beating during severe storms. If hit by huge pieces of hail, plastic gutters, and downspouts may crack or break, while the metal ones may dent. Flashing can loosen or dent as a result of high winds and hail. Any damage to these important roofing components can lead to water leaks.
It’s easy to spot damaged gutters and downspouts, but flashing is difficult for the untrained eye to identify.
- Crooked Chimney
Severe storms can cause problems with the flashing seal around the chimney, creating channels for water to get inside. If water enters your fireplace after a storm, the flashing around the chimney is likely lost or damaged.
Water damage in and around the chimney also causes the chimney structure to deteriorate, making it unstable, crooked, and unsafe to use. And where water infiltrates, there likely is mold and mildew growth.
- Debris and Debris Impact
Tree branches or falling debris can land on your roof during some storms. If your roof has a lot of debris on its surface or there are huge tree limbs, it has likely been damaged.
Any damage to the siding could indicate storm damage to your roof.
- Ice Dam Formations
A roof that is not adequately ventilated is prone to ice dams. These develop when heat from the attic space melts the snow on the roof. The snowmelt flows down the roof and refreezes on the colder eaves, edges, and gutters. The thaw and freeze cycle leads to the formation of an ice dam, which prevents water from leaving the roof.
The ridge of ice can break under the roof and pull down the gutters. Backed-up snowmelt can flow under shingles and lead to internal water damage. Cracks, leaks, or those icicles hanging from the roof are some signs of ice storm damage.
Time to Get Fixed Up
After an extreme weather event, you can never be sure of the state of your roof. Your best bet is to get a reliable local roofing contractor to inspect your roof. Our roofing experts at Trico Exteriors offer professional and stress-free roof inspection, repair, and replacement to homeowners in Charleston, SC. We can assess your roof and help you understand the full scope of the damage. We can also help you file a claim with your insurance provider and handle whatever damage you’re facing. Contact us today to find out more or schedule a roof inspection.