How to safely inspect your roof after a storm
This hurricane season has been historic in its intensity and damage. But it’s not just homes in the storm tracks that may need a roofer’s attention. Punishing winds and debris have been taking their toll on roofs all along the Eastern Seaboard and Gulf Coast. Home and property owners should be arranging for post-storm inspections now, so roofing contractors like you can provide any necessary repairs before the challenges of winter set in.
Here are a few tips to share with your customers as they assess any hurricane season-related damage.
Inside: Begin in the attic, if it’s accessible, during the daytime.
- The first and surest sign of a problem would be sunlight showing through the plywood decking, which may indicate serious holes in need of repair.
- If there are no obvious holes, use a flashlight to inspect the decking for dark stains or streaks, as well as sagging, all of which could be caused by moisture.
Outside: You may be able to see most, if not all, of your roof from ground level. Walk around your house, examining the roof for these signs of damage:
- Missing shingles should be replaced as quickly as possible.
- Cracked or curled shingles are sometimes caused by high winds or flying debris.
- Dark patches where the granules have come off of the shingle. In addition to affecting the overall look of the roof, bare patches like these leave the shingles vulnerable to the sun, which can, over time, dry out the asphalt, and may lead to leaks.
- Bent or detached flashing. Flashing helps keep water from chimneys, vents, and other roof penetrations and should be thoroughly sealed to prevent water intrusion.
- Debris. A branch on the roof may not seem like a big deal, but over time, it can rub the granules loose from your shingles, or may even be covering a crack that it caused as it landed.
Up the ladder: If you are comfortable climbing a ladder and the weather conditions allow you to do so safely, you can get a better look at your roof up close. Look for:
- Loose nails or nail heads raised above the shingle surface may be just one storm away from letting go entirely.
- Gutter debris can contribute to ice dams later in the year. Your roofing contractor may provide gutter cleaning services if you are not comfortable doing the job yourself.
- Flashing on the upslope (or back) of the chimney and penetrations can be seen more easily from the roof itself.
If you find damage: Call a local, reputable roofing contractor right away. After storms, you may receive solicitations from unfamiliar contractors looking for work. To find reputable, factory-certified contractors in your area, visit the GAF contractor locator at: http://www.gaf.com/roofing/contractors.
The sooner you address any hurricane-season damage, the more secure your roof will be for the winter months.