Roofs are designed to withstand the elements, but they’re not indestructible. The roof is a critical part of a home’s structure and protects one from the elements, so staying on top of any damage that may occur is essential. Here are some of the most common sources of damage to a roof during a storm:
1. High winds
The wind is the most common cause of roof damage, whether from tornadoes or hurricanes. When high winds come along, they can uproot trees and send them flying through the air, taking out anything in their paths—including shingles on the roof. If a tree lands on the roof, it can destroy several square feet of shingles and any other material on top of the roof. By contrast, wind can lift shingles right off the roof and send them flying into nearby trees or across the street, leaving one with a big mess to clean up. If you are worried about the roof during a storm, securing everything around it is best. Trees and branches should be trimmed to keep them from getting close enough to do damage, and if one has an attic space above the living space, make sure that all its contents are properly stored so that they don’t get blown around and fall onto the roof below or inside the house. One might even consider boarding up windows and doors to protect everything inside if you will be in a region prone to frequent storms.
2. Lightning strikes
Lightning strikes during a storm can potentially cause damage to your roof. When lightning hits a building, it can travel through the electrical wiring or metal components, such as gutters or antennas, and can create a surge of electricity. This surge can lead to electrical fires or damage to electrical systems, including the wiring in your home. Additionally, the intense heat generated by a lightning strike can cause structural damage, such as cracks or holes in the roof. It is important to ensure that your roof is properly grounded and protected to minimize the risk of damage from lightning strikes.
3. Roof overhangs
When heavy winds and rain get unleashed on the shingles, it’s only a matter of time before something suffers. Often, it is the roof overhang which sits underneath the eaves of the home and protects the area below from leaks and water damage. The most common way that damage to a roof overhang occurs is when tree limbs or branches are blown into the area by strong winds. The weight of the debris combined with the force acting upon it can cause roof overhangs to crack or break off from their moorings. This damage typically affects gutters and other areas such as downspouts and vents. If a home has a flat roof, storms can also be damaging in other ways—the rainwater may pool in certain areas, causing structural problems with the flooring due to the added weight placed on the area. This is an especially big concern for apartment complexes since most roofs are flat, and this extra weight can cause leaks when it pools in spots without enough drainage. That’s why loss prevention firms recommend buildings have more than one way to eliminate excess water from their roofs.
4. Debris from trees and other objects hitting the roof
A storm can be an exciting event for all the senses with its bright flashes of lightning, the loud pounding of rain, and gusts of wind that knock over trash cans and make tree branches dance. It’s also an exciting source of damage to a home’s exterior. The worst damage is caused by tree debris and other objects hitting the roof. That could mean a branch or entire tree landing on it or a whole array of smaller items: leaves, twigs, pine needles, granola bar wrappers—you name it! Tree branches can pack a punch when they hit the roof. As many homeowners know, they’re especially dangerous because they often shatter upon impact. With the weight and force behind tree branches, as they fall from high above, even a small branch can cause severe damage to shingles or even to the underlying foam or plywood substrate below. The best way to protect a home is to ensure that the roof is in good shape before storms. With regular maintenance and an eye on the surroundings (particularly if there are trees near the house), one can catch potential problems before they become big issues.
Neglecting regular inspections and maintenance of your roof makes it more vulnerable to storm damage. Pre-existing issues such as loose shingles or deteriorated flashing can worsen during severe weather conditions.
To minimize the risk of damage during a storm, homeowners should take proactive measures such as:
Ensuring proper drainage systems are in place.
Regularly inspecting and maintaining their roofs.
Trimming trees near their homes to prevent falling branches.
Reinforcing the roof structure to withstand high winds.
Installing impact-resistant roofing materials.
By being aware of these potential sources of damage and taking appropriate precautions, homeowners can protect their roofs from storms and minimize costly repairs in the long run.
Identifying the signs of damage when it occurs is extremely important since some roof issues require immediate attention. The most common are the examples mentioned above. The damage to the roof may not always be severe, but it can still can cause the roof to leak and increase dampness within the house. So if you suspect any roof defects, it’s best to get your roof inspected by a roofing contractor especially when most roofing contractors offer free inspections. Stay safe during storms!