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, KY can generate heavy rain, hail, ice, and winds exceeding 100 mph.
If you reside in and around Louisville, KY, keep an eye on the skies during the stormy season. You never know how hard it’s going to hit your area. When the skies start to turn dark and storms roll through, make sure your roof is prepared.
Storm damage can occur from wind, rain, hail, or heavy snow.
Wind Storm Damage
Wind can damage your roof in all sorts of ways. When high winds hit, it doesn’t simply hit your roof evenly across the surface, it hits the corners, edges, and ridgelines that are especially susceptible to damage.
How High Wind Can Damage Your Roof?
- Blown Off Shingles – This is the most obvious way your roof gets damaged from storms. The high winds can quickly pick up shingles that are loose or damaged.
- Cause Damage or Loosen Shingles – If your roof shingles don’t blow off, there is a chance that there is still damage. Loose and damaged shingles can leave your roof susceptible to further damage.
- Puncture – High winds can pick up all kinds of things. From sticks and twigs to branches and trampolines. Anything picked up by the storm will eventually fall and can potentially damage your roof.
- Move Flashing – The flashings around the chimney are a high-stress point and these are easily lifted when they are hit at the right angle.
- Shedding Shingle Granules – Even if the shingles appear to be undamaged – oftentimes the granules can blow off and clog up the gutter system.
- Broken Trees – If the winds are high enough to break off branches from nearby trees, they will inevitably fall on the roof, causing destruction to the surface.
Rain Storm Damage
Your roof is responsible for keeping your home dry during a rainstorm. While most rainstorms shouldn’t be any problem for your roof, significant heavy or prolonged moisture can cause damage to a compromised roof.
Rain Damage That Can Happen to Your Roof
- Damaged Supports or Accents – Damage to supporting elements can be difficult to detect. If you have areas where water seems to pool, it could be a sign of underlying issues.
- Trapped Moisture – Occasionally with torrential downpours, rain can get trapped on the roof, especially in the eaves or areas where your drainage may not be working properly.
- Mold and Decay – Mold can grow between the cracks and crevices of your roof, which worsens any existing issue. Expanding, deterioration, and bugs all get worse with the presence of mold.
- Damaged Shingles – Rain damage to shingles is typically sporadic and unpredictable. Water and wind washing over your shingles for hours at a time can cause damage very quickly.
- Damaged Gutter and Downspout – Heavy rain takes a toll on your gutter and downspouts. Clogs and cracks in the gutters can lead to damage to your walls, siding, and foundation.
Hail can cause a surprising amount of long-lasting damage to your roof and property. Vehicles, siding, shingles, and gutters can all be negatively affected by hail.
The Factors That Cause Hail Damage
- Size of the Hailstones – Any type of hail can cause damage, but hail that is 1-inch or larger have the greatest negative impact.
- Density and Shape of the Hailstones – Hail is made from raindrops in the higher-level clouds that freeze and clump together. As they fall, they grow to create hard balls of ice and particles. The larger, and denser the hail – the more damage it can cause.
How Hail Does Damage to Your Roof
Hailstorms can cause a wide range of damage to your roof.
Many times, a hailstorm causes damage that is so small, it seems insignificant at the time – but the damage increases over time until you have a major issue to deal with next time it storms.
1. Damaged or Bruised Shingles – If you have large and sharp hailstones, they can tear right through the upper layer of your asphalt shingles and allow water to penetrate through to your deck.
Bruising occurs when small hailstones hit the shingle and push asphalt granules further toward the surface. Over time, those granules will disappear and the shingle itself will deteriorate. This can happen within 6 to 12 months.
2. Water Leakage – Even if it is small – fast falling or dense hail can crack the shingle mat. It is not visible from a distance but up close it looks like small crescent-shaped black lines that allow moisture through.
3. Expose Fiberglass Roofing – Fiberglass is becoming a popular option for flat roofs on commercial buildings. However, hailstorm damage can weaken and expose this fiberglass causing future damage if not dealt with straight away.
Heavy Snow and Ice Damage
A snow blanket makes a beautiful, picturesque setting, but the reality isn’t always so cozy. Snow and ice can also be a potential risk for your home.
How Snow and Ice Can Damage Your Roof?
1. Roof Collapsing – This is extremely rare, but it’s still technically possible. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS), it takes 4 feet of fresh snow (or 2 feet of old, compressed snow) to create enough weight to stress a roof.
Keep in mind, in areas of the country that typically see these snowfall amounts, the roofing is reinforced to handle much greater weight.
2. Ice Dams – Icicles are actually a sign of a much bigger problem.
Ice dams occur when you get a buildup of ice along the eaves of your roof. When water freezes, it expands and damages your shingles, opens cracks, and pry off your gutters.
3. Freeze and Thaw Cycles – If there is a crack in your roof, water seeps in and then freezes. When this happens, the crack can expand making a small crack much bigger over time.
4. Broken, Chipped, or Cracked Windows – In addition to the roof damage, snow and ice can cause damaged window casings, shattered windows, cracks and holes, broken panes, and a damaged frame.
What To Do After the Storm?
When storms blow through Louisville, KY, it’s critical that you check your home for signs of storm damage as quickly as possible.
You can start at home with the following tips:
1. Call a Professional for Assessment and Repairs
We do not ever recommend you get on your roof yourself, especially if you’re unsure of the damage you may find.
For a full inspection, always call a trained professional with the tools and safety techniques to check for damage. They will safely assess what kinds of repairs you may need.
Areas to Check:
- Windows – Check the glass, vinyl trim, window glazing (the plastic pieces around the window that hold it in), window screens, skylights, and shutters.
- Roof – Check for loose or cracked shingles.
- Clogged Gutters – Check for fragments of limbs, leaves, or small branches that can get jammed along the gutter and in the downspout.
- Exterior – Storm damage can also cause the siding to tear loose, paint to peel, and stucco to break free. Check for any potential damage or discoloration on the exterior of your home.
2. Take Pictures
Wait until the storm has completely passed and then take pictures and video of the damage on your property the best you can from your vantage point.
3. Save Receipts, Stay Organized, and Don’t Throw Anything Away
If you have imminent damage or major leaks, you’ll want to fix it right away to cover broken windows with plywood or a tarp.
Paperwork is critical when filing your insurance claim and so is proof of damage. If there is anything that may help your claim process, don’t throw it away. Save receipts of anything you purchase and keep these items organized.
4. Call Your Insurance Company to Check
If you have a major storm in your area – you may have a hard time getting in touch with an agent. Stay in contact with your insurance company to check your coverage and follow claim instructions.
Storm Damage and Insurance Claims
Your homeowner’s insurance policy will likely cover weather damage from hail, wind, fire, or snow. The claim process can be overwhelming – but a reputable contractor can help you file the claim correctly and get all the coverage you’re entitled to.
- Thorough Property Inspection – Have a professional company come out and provide an inspection of the roof. Be sure to choose a company that is local and reputable. Don’t fall for gimmicks or cold calls offering a free inspection. Using a local contractor will ensure that any work done is of the highest quality with the best warranties.
- Meet With Your Contractor – Once you’ve had your roof inspected, meet with your contractor to discuss their findings, share photos, and discuss your homeowner’s coverage. If the damage is not as great as you think, filing a claim may not be in your best interest.
- File Your Insurance 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 a time where both the adjuster and the roofing contractor can attend this meeting together.
- Meet With Your Adjuster – The insurance adjusters have a specific checklist they will follow when determining the damage. Your roofing contractor should advocate for your repair needs and make sure that the adjuster is aware of all damaged areas to maximize your claim value.
- Claim Approval – Once your insurance claim is approved, you can go over the details of the insurance coverage with your contractor and schedule the work to be completed.
- Start Project – At this point, you are ready to sign the contract with your roofing company and get the work scheduled to begin. The insurance company will provide payment directly to you and then you will be responsible for paying the roofing contractor and any uncovered expenses for the repair.
FAQs About Storm Damage