How to Spot Roof Damage After Strong Winds?
Whether your region experiences moderate gust or sustained winds, any high winds can cause havoc to your building’s roof. While most roofing systems are built to withstand common wind events, sustaining little or no damage, it’s the less obvious cracked, missing or damaged roof shingles, flashing or tile that actually causes the biggest problems during the next rainstorm.
Additionally, repeated exposure to high winds can create stress points on a roof, and over time, this can compromise the whole roof structure. Aside from age and missing pieces, another less obvious reason why commercial roofs can get overwhelmed during rainstorms is due to poor workmanship from a previous roofing contractor.
Nonetheless, regular maintenance and replacement of your roof is vital to prevent subsequent water damage as well as the high fuel costs that will inevitably result from a roof system which is not working as it should.
Damaging effects of the wind
High winds do not hit your roof evenly across the surface. The corners, edges of the roof and the ridge lines are more prone to wind pressure and damage, compared to the center of the roof. The National Roofing Contractors Association, NRCA (http://www.nrca.net) asserts that most wind damage to a roof begins on the edge. The wind can get under a corner or small piece of the shingle, curl it or rip it off completely, leaving your roof exposed.
Another danger of high winds to your roof is “lifting.” Your shingles or tiles might look intact from the ground, but high winds coming up over your roof can create a suction effect and lift the shingles upwards, loosening the nails holding them into place. Once your roof is exposed, water can start leaking into the building, which can destroy your property. However, you can avoid roof destruction from high winds by ensuring that your roofs, specifically the materials on the edges, are robust and secured in place.
Flying Debris and Tree Damage
At times debris blown around by the wind ( tree branches, shard of glass, lawn decorations, garbage, deck furniture, etc.) can be more damaging to your roof than the wind itself. Falling trees and branches, in particular, can puncture, gouge, and scratch your shingles. So, be sure to cut or trim any trees overhanging your roof before any storm, or high winds get the chance to hit it.
Checking for wind Damage
1) Perform outdoor inspection
In case there was any roof destruction after a windstorm, you should be able to spot “curling” shingles, cracked, torn or missing shingles on your roof or around your building. If the damage is localized and covers less than 30% of the total roof structure, you can arrange for roof repair. However, if the destruction is more than that, you might need a complete overhaul of your roof.
Aside from the roofing, keep in mind that the chimney, gutters, ventilation pipes and fencing can also become compromised so be sure to inspect them for damage as well. If you suspect your roof is damaged, here’s a list of what to look out for;
- Flashing: look to see if the chimney flashing is torn, split or buckled along roof penetration
- Soffit and fascia: look for decay and stains
- Composition shingles: look for curling, loss of granulation, or missing shingles
- Wood shake: Look for mold or decay and splitting or curling
- Roofing cement: presence of excess cement and crumbling indicates roof damage
- Gutters: Look for excessive shingle granule in the gutter, leaky seams and missing section
- Chimney: loose, leaning or missing flashing may indicate roof damage
2) Perform indoor inspection
Some of the indoor signs to look for include moisture marks, yellow/grey stains, and peeling paint. You can also check the attic for leaks and damp rafters. Finally, if you experience a sudden surge in your energy costs, this could also be a sign that your roof ventilation is compromised.
3) Call an expert
Getting on your roof is not recommended, particularly after a windstorm. You should call professionals who have the expertise and knowledge to properly and safely conduct a professional and thorough inspection.
Steps to take in case your roof is damaged:
In case your roof is damaged by the wind, it’s crucial that you seek professional help as fast as possible. First, you avoid further destruction to your property; remember the longer you wait, the more damage will occur. Roof replacement/repair is much cheaper when you do not have to add the cost of repairing the leak or water damage. And if you have insurance coverage for your property, you can contact your insurance provider to assess the situation and determine whether you should file a claim.
Choosing a Roofing Contractor
Always tread with extreme care when choosing a commercial roofing contractor. Like any other industry, the roofing world is also full of sham roofers who do not keep up their word and are out there to fleece gullible property owners. It’s always recommended that you go with locally based roofers who have a history of being in business in one location. Additionally, they should provide you with their business licenses, certification and should help you with your insurance claim, should you need one.