Roof Damage and Leaks: How to Spot and Prevent Storm-Related Roof Issues

Severe storms can wreak havoc on your roof, leading to extensive damage and leaks if preventative measures aren’t taken. Being able to identify potential issues before and after storms can help you take quick action to mitigate costs and avoid headaches down the road. This guide will overview what to look for and how to protect your roof against storm-related damage.

Inspecting Your Roof Before a Storm

The best defense is a good offense when it comes to storm prep for your roof. Taking the time to thoroughly inspect for existing trouble spots or areas needing repair is key.

Look For Previous Repairs: Carefully inspect surfaces for any previous repairs, patches, or sealing. The materials or application methods used may not be as durable or weather resistant. These patches are more likely to become points of failure during storms.

Check Flashing: Flashing details around chimneys, vents, joints, valleys, and eaves are common leakage points. Look for cracked, loose, or missing flashing seals. Also, check for areas where flashing may have pulled away from the roof surface.

Examine Shingles/Tiles: Shingles or tiles that are cracked, cupped, or deformed need replacement. Curled-up edges or corners indicate loss of adhesion. Also, look for any missing or broken shingles/tiles that leave the roof deck exposed.

Clear Gutters and Downspouts: Clogged gutters can’t effectively divert water off the roof. Prune overhanging tree limbs, remove debris, and make sure downspouts are securely attached with water directed well away from the foundation.

Trim Overhanging Trees: Check for tree limbs or branches extending over the roof surface. Trim them back to avoid abrasion damage and keep excess leaves/debris off the roof.

Seal Exposed Fasteners: Exposed nail heads, staples, or screws create ready entry points for leaks. Brush waterproof caulk over and around exposed fasteners.

Inspect and Repair Vent Boots: The rubber boots around plumbing vents tend to crack over time. Look for signs of aging and re-seal using roofing cement or urethane sealant.

Check for Exposed Roof Deck: Curled back or missing roofing materials can leave sections of the vulnerable roof deck exposed. This needs patching prior to any storms.

Address any issues found without delay. It’s also smart to capture images of the roof’s condition before a storm for comparison later if damage occurs. Thorough prep work leads to better storm resilience.

What to Look for After a Severe Storm

Once the winds die down and the clouds part, get up on the roof again ASAP after a major storm. Look for the following trouble signs:

Wind Damage

  • Shingles/tiles that have blown off or become dislodged
  • Debris impact damage, like punctures from blown objects
  • Roof coverings peeled up or ripped along the edges
  • Sections of ridge cap blown away
  • Gutter hangers detached, causing whole sections to fall away
  • Evidence of wind turbulence, like patterns of missing granules scoured from shingles

Water Intrusion

  • Water stains on interior ceiling surfaces directly below the roof
  • Blistering or bubbling of interior paint near roof/ceiling joints
  • Buckling or sagging of drywall along the ceiling line
  • Mold or mildew developing around ceiling areas

Compromised Roof Deck

  • Visible daylight from the attic through the failing roof deck
  • Water dripping from previously secure nails/screw penetrations
  • Cracked or splintered roof decking is visible when inspecting attic
  • Soft, spongy, or weakened areas when walking on the roof surface

Flashing Leaks

  • Watermarks or staining on siding near flashing joints
  • Rust streaks originating from flashing details
  • Visible gaps, separation, or spreading where flashing meets the roofing
  • Missing or degraded caulk at seams and joints

Don’t delay addressing any storm damage spotted. Even small issues like a few blown-off shingles can progress to major roof problems if not repaired quickly. Prioritize trouble areas directly above living spaces prone to water intrusion when deciding where to start repairs.

Prevention Tips to Limit Storm Damage

Aside from inspection and repairs, some other preventative measures can bolster roof resilience:

  • Invest in impact-resistant shingles designed to withstand high winds and resist penetration from debris blows. Architectural-style shingles provide more durability than basic 3-tab shingles.
  • For flat roofs, coatings like urethane foam increase weatherproofing and help resist punctures during storms.
  • Have large trees near the roof professionally trimmed and thinned out to remove weight and wind resistance from branches.
  • Brace gable end framing with extra blocking to provide shear strength against roof failures along gable ends during high winds.
  • Add supplemental roof framing members and hurricane clips to strengthen critical joints prone to uplift and failure in high winds.
  • Install zinc strips at valleys and change roof planes to resist corrosion and leakage from stormwater runoff.
  • Caulk and seal all flashing, skylights, vents, and around chimneys prior to storm season using long-life flexible sealants.
  • Clear all roof drains, gutters, and downspouts before storm season to allow unobstructed drainage.

Applying preventative measures along with vigilant inspection before and after storms offers the best assurance of weathering storms with minimal roof damage. But even with diligent maintenance, unexpected damage can occur.

Seeking Help from a Storm Damage Attorney

If your roof suffers significant storm damage, you should be covered by your property insurance. But if they deny or delay claim payment, a storm damage attorney can advise you through the process. An attorney experienced with storm insurance claims may be able to:

  • Review your policy language and determine if the damage described should be covered.
  • Negotiate directly with your insurance company and their adjusters to gain claim acceptance and/or improve settlement amounts.
  • Assist you in compiling the necessary documentation and evidence to support your damage claim.
  • Represent you in litigation or settlement hearings if a fair claim resolution cannot be reached otherwise.

Don’t struggle alone if your insurance provider is unresponsive to a valid storm damage claim. Seek guidance from a qualified storm damage attorney to protect your interests and maximize claim resolution.

You can visit our office at 200 Lake Morton Drive, Suite 300, Lakeland, FL 33801.

Or call us today for a free consultation on (833) 941-7867.


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