Tips to Assess and Repair Storm Damage to Your Roof
Storms can knock trees onto your home, tear off shingles and do other damage to your roof. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Christine H. in Pittsburgh)
Even if a storm didn’t produce a torrent of rain or volley of hail, wind alone can cause enough damage to your roof to warrant repair or replacement. So after a tornado, thunderstorm, hurricane or hailstorm, make sure to check the condition of your roof.
“Every thunderstorm has a straight-line burst of wind,” says Walt Zaleski, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “At 50 to 60 mph, you start seeing damage to homes — trees toppling, power lines coming down, debris blown from your neighbor’s house.”
After a storm passes, make sure to check for roof damage from wind, hail or other sources, document any problems and work with your insurance company and a knowledgeable contractor to fix any issues.
How to spot damage
Thunderstorms, tornadoes, hailstorms and hurricanes can tear shingles from your roof and give your roof a beating with tree branches. Follow these steps to check for storm damage to your roof:
- Inspect your attic for leaks or water damage. Also, if any water stains appear on your ceiling or walls, you likely need repairs or a roof replacement.
- Look for signs of storm damage from the ground. Check for missing shingles or missing pieces of metal fascia, including any metal pieces displaced from around your chimney. Also, assess the condition of exhaust pipes, valleys, outer edges or angles where the roof meets the walls.
- Obviously, you’ll notice if a tree fell on your roof. If so, stay out of your home until a professional can determine whether any structural damage occurred. Consider hiring a general contractor or roofer with a general contractor’s license if your home suffered structural damage, as you’ll need more than roof repairs.
- If the storm produced hail, check for roof damage as well as siding damage. Hail damage commonly comes in the forms of dimples, made by smaller chunks of hail that pound the outer layer of shingles.
- Stay safe — avoid going on the roof to check for damage yourself and instead contact a professional roofer.
Call your insurance agent
If you have damage, contact your insurance agent to assess the situation and determine whether you should file a claim. The Texas Department of Insurance suggests documenting any damage that occurred. Also, keep receipts for all work, including any you do yourself, such as covering windows or holes in your roof to facilitate reimbursement if you file a claim. Many policies will cover these expenses when submitted with a claim, says Jerry Hagans, Texas Department of Insurance spokesman.
Locate the right provider, materials
Need advice on making your home more wind-resistant? Read this.
Find a company that has both a strong claims department and experienced repairmen, says Jeff Ogle, owner of highly rated Radiant Contracting in Fort Worth, Texas. The average roof costs about $13,000 to replace, he says. Homeowners should avoid companies that offer to pay their deductible.
When repairing or replacing a roof, plan ahead by considering alternatives to traditional asphalt shingles to help prevent future storm damage. Metal or composition shingles resist damage better than traditional shingles. They cost more than the asphalt varieties, but insurance companies might offer discounts on the price of your premium, Ogle says.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on February 3, 2014.