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Home Maintenance

After the Storm: A Comprehensive Guide to Assessing Roof Damage

After the Storm: A Comprehensive Guide to Assessing Roof Damage

After a storm, assessing damage to your roof is essential for protecting your home and ensuring its longevity. However, it can also be costly and come with potential wait times. Knowing what to look for and how to assess the damage can save you time and money, especially if the damage needs immediate repair.

This guide will walk through all you need to know to safely self-assess roof damage after a storm. We’ll cover the best approach to take, what to look for, and how to assess the extent of the damage. Storm-related roof damage can be scary, but this guide has you covered. If you still have questions, you can always speak to a team member at Rough River Hardware for further advice.

Safety Precautions

Safety comes first! If you think something is unsafe, or you don’t have the appropriate equipment, hire a professional.

What You’ll Need

A few critical pieces of gear for assessing roof damage are:

  1. Extension ladder. If you have a ladder gutter guard or ladder stabilizers, that's even better.
  2. Harness, lanyard, and rope (depending on the pitch of your roof).
  3. Work gloves. A well-fitting pair that doesn’t hinder your finger dexterity or grip.
  4. Safety glasses.
  5. Safety shoes. These are better than large, clunky boots that can trip you up yet provide protection through steel toe and shank.
  6. Notebook and camera, or another means to record your findings.

Safety Best Practices

If you feel unsafe at any point during your inspection, stop immediately. If the area you are walking on is highly damaged, unstable, creaking, or groaning, cease your inspection. When setting up a ladder, remember the 4:1 rule. This rule states that for every 4’ of height, the ladder should be 1’ foot from the wall. Therefore, if you have a 16’ roof, the base of your ladder should be 4’ from the wall.

When to Call a Professional

If you can’t safely conduct your inspection or have to stop due to safety concerns, call a professional for help. Depending on the extent of the damage, you may need specialized equipment like a bucket truck or boom lift to assess the damage.

Assessing the Damage

Conduct a Thorough Walk-Around

The first step to assessing roof damage is to perform a thorough walk-around of the property. Note anything you can see from the ground so that you have points of reference to work from when you inspect the roof surface and attic interior. Take note of anything you see.

What to Look For

Look for anything out of place:

  • Utility lines – hydro, internet, telephone
  • Organic debris – tree branches or limbs and leaves
  • Trash and other storm debris

It may be necessary to clear your eavestroughs of leaves and other debris after a storm. This can clog your downspouts and lead to overland flooding if water backs up and spills over during heavy rain.

Look for damage to:

  • Shingles, tiles, or panels (depending on the roofing material)
  • Roofing underlayment
  • Sheathing (the plywood under the shingles)
  • Chimney (if you have one)
  • Roof penetrations and openings like skylights, roof vents, and plumbing vents
  • Soffit, fascia, eaves and downspouts.

Assess from Above

Climb onto the roof (if safe) and tie off your harness if you are using one. Look for the same items as when you conducted your walk-around. If you had previously noted anything, give those items a closer look for a thorough assessment. You should also look for more minor things you wouldn't have noticed from below, like damaged or missing sealant around roof penetrations. It's also an excellent time to take note of any overhead tree branches that need to be trimmed or removed. Record your findings and make reference points to ease your next part of the inspection.

Check the Attic

Checking the attic is crucial in assessing roof damage after a storm. An issue that appears minimal from the outside can be more severe underneath.

When in the attic, check for signs of leaks or damage. Look for dampness or water stains on the underside of the roof sheathing, framing, and insulation. Inspect the roof framing for signs of cracking, splintering, or breakage. Check the sheathing for damage or excessive sagging. Document findings with photos or videos if possible.

We understand that assessing roof damage after a storm can seem intimidating. Yet, having this guide on your side will give you the confidence to take action. Knowing what to look for and the steps to inspect your roof can save time and money if an assessment is urgently needed. Be sure to visit us at Rough River Hardware, and a member of our team can assist in getting your storm assessment ready today.

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