Thunderstorms account for half of all severe roof damage in the continental 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. Wind damage can occur in big and small ways and bring havoc to your home and roofing system. Your roof is easily susceptible to storm damage that, if left untreated, can turn into a major repair. When skies turn dark and storms roll through, make sure your roof is prepared.
Wind Storm Damage
Your roof can suffer from wind damage in all kinds of ways. This is because when high winds hit, it doesn’t simply hit your roof evenly across the surface. The corners, edges, and ridgeline are especially susceptible to damage from high winds.
How High Wind Can Damage Your Roof:
- High Winds Can Blow 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.
- Storms Can Damage and Loosen Shingles – Sometimes, even if your roof appears to have survived the storm, wind, rain, and hail can damage and loosen shingles leaving your roof susceptible to further damage.
- Debris Picked Up by the Wind Can Damage & Puncture the Roof- 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.
- High Winds Can Move Flashing Out of Place – The flashings around the chimney are a high-stress point and these are easily lifted when they are hit at the right angle.
- Shingle Granules Can Blow Into the Gutter System – Even if the shingles appear to be undamaged – oftentimes the granules can blow off and clog up the gutter system.
- High Wind Can Break Branches and Trees – If the storm winds are high enough to break off branches from nearby trees, they will inevitably fall on the roof, causing damage to the surface that will need to be repaired.
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 compromised roofs.
Rain Damage That Can Happen to Your Roof
- Rainstorms Can Damage Roof 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.
- Heavy Rain Can Cause Moisture to Get Trapped on the Roof – 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.
- Trapped Moisture Can Cause Mold and Decay – Mold can grow between the cracks and crevices of your roof, which exacerbates any existing issue. Expanding, deterioration, and bugs all get worse with the presence of mold.
- Heavy Rain Can Damage 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.
- Gutter and Downspout Damage – 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 has 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 they 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.
- Hail Can Damage the Top Layer of Shingles – If you have large and sharp hailstones, it can tear right through the upper layer of your asphalt shingles and allow water to penetrate through to your roof deck.
- Water Leakage Due to a Cracked Shingle Mat – 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.
- Small Hailstones Can Bruise Your Shingles – Bruising occurs when small hailstones hit the shingle and push asphalt granules further down into the shingle surface. Over time, those granules will disappear and the shingle itself will deteriorate. This can happen within 6-12 months.
- Hailstorms Can Lead to Granule Loss – The granules are the sandpaper-like coating on your shingles. When strong hail hits, it can brush these granules off and cause your shingles to age much quicker and make them more susceptible to subsequent damage.
- Hail Can Damage and 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
- Snow Overloading Can Collapse Your Roof – This is extremely rare, but it’s still technically possible. According to the Insurance Institute for Business and Home Safety, 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 a greater weight.
- Ice Dams Can Cause Big Issues – 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Missing, Creased, or Split Shingles – Shingle damage can happen anytime and is partially determined by the strength of the substrate below the shingle.
What To Do After the Storm?
When storms blow through Louisville, KY, it’s critical that you check your home for signs of wind damage as quickly as possible. You can start at home with the following steps:
Step 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 roof 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:
- Window Damage – Check the glass, vinyl trim, window glazing (the plastic pieces around the window that hold it in), window screens, skylights, and shutters.
- Roof Damage – 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 Damage – 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.
Step 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.
Step 3: Save Receipts, Stay Organized
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. Save receipts of anything you purchase and keep these items organized.
Step 4: Don’t Throw Anything Away
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.
Step 5: 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 roofing contractor can help you file the claim correctly and get all the coverage you’re entitled to.
- Do a Thorough Property Inspection – We don’t recommend getting on your own roof after a storm. Have a professional roofing 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 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 both the adjuster and the roofing contractor to 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 roofing contractor and schedule the work to be completed.
- Start Home Repairing 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.
How Do Storm Damage Insurance Claims Work?
Typically, you are responsible for paying your deductible which may be anywhere from $500 to $5000. After this deductible, the insurance company issues payment based on your coverage and you are responsible to pay the contractors who perform the work.
FAQs About Storm Damage