10 Tips for Inspecting Your Roof After a Hurricane

As the proverbial dust settles after the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, now is the time to pick up the pieces and carry on.

Hurricanes hit with incredible force and hold no mercy for those in their way. And chances are, your home is now in need of inspection and repair.

Let’s take a look at ten tips for inspecting your roof after a hurricane.

Tip 1: Clear All Debris as Soon as Possible

It can be easy to put off inspecting your roof after a hurricane. The time. The effort. The hassle. The money.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that those you love are safe before you start surveying the damage.

But the longer you allow branches, leaves, and other debris to rest on top of your roof, the more chance there’ll be for damage. Lying debris harbors moisture underneath that can quickly turn to mildew, mold, and rot.

The debris can hide significant issues like missing shingles or holes that could lead to expensive water damage inside your home during the next rain.

You’ll want to clear all debris from your roof as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.

Tip 2: Watch For Popped Nails

When you examine your roof after a hurricane, check for any nails that may have popped up during the hurricane. The wind, rain and relentless pressure on your roof can eventually drive nails to the surface.

In addition to looking on the roof, inspect around your yard and driveway for nails. These could do damage to lawn equipment, vehicles, or children. Use a metal detector if needed to avoid this hazard and protect your family.

It can be hard to know what to do to keep your roof safe during storm season. There are a few excellent measures you can take in the future to prevent nail popping during a hurricane.

For instance, there are specially designed nails to protect roofs during hurricane season. These nails offer great preventative measures to help your roof survive the intense impact of hurricanes.

Tip 3: Check Your Attic

An indirect, yet just as important, task to remember when inspecting your roof after a hurricane, is to thoroughly examine your attic for water spots or leaks.

You’ll want to check your attic’s insulation, especially in the corners and crevices where pools of water can easily lurk just outside of view. Look for wet spots, potential leaks or any other damage.

When water spots are forming on your ceiling, your attic is likely where it started. This is because the water has to go through your attic from the roof to get to your ceiling.

Water in the attic may lead to mold and mildew problems down the road. So if there’s even a small leak, it needs to be addressed immediately.

Tip 4: Watch for Water Pooling In Your Fixtures

When you inspect your roof after a hurricane, always closely examine your light fixtures, especially ones that are connected to exhaust fans. If your flashings are damaged, water could begin pooling in through your fans or other ceiling fixtures.

The flashing are a protective piece of metal that goes around the pipes that protrude from your roof. These pipes allow heat to escape from your home. You also have these exhaust pipes coming out from your stove fan and your bathroom exhaust.

When the flashing cracks, water may pool on the stove or in a fixture.

Fixtures that are not attached to fans may also collect water because water moves toward the lowest places in your home.

Check each ceiling fixture to ensure no water is getting through.

The dangers of water collecting around your fixtures include:

  • Electrical fires
  • Collapsing pieces of your ceiling
  • Electrocution
  • Mold, mildew and eventual rot
  • Signs that there’s a much bigger leak you haven’t found yet

You don’t want to ignore even the slightest of dampness surrounding your fixtures. Take note and get it fixed immediately.

Tip 5: Inspect Your Gutters And Leaf Guards

When you inspect your roof after a hurricane, check for any fragments or shingle granules gathering in your gutters. Look for any dents on your gutters or any other damage. If gutters are pulling away from the roof, have them refastened to avoid a bigger repair project down the road.

After you’ve cleared all the visible obstructions from the gutters, check the flow by running water from your hose at the highest point towards the downspout. If the flow out the downspout is slower than the pressure from the hose, there’s a blockage to be cleared.

It’s also a good idea to periodically check the downspout for any delayed trickling. This indicates that something is caught and needs to be removed.

Word of caution: gutters can conduct electricity, so if there are any downed trees or collapsed power lines, be sure to wait until these are cleared away or contact a professional.

Tip 6: Examine Your Shingles

When you examine your roof after a hurricane, look for rifts or more obvious cracks between the shingles and the metal flashing. Note any missing or broken shingles.

From the road, you may see dark spots that indicate your shingle got whipped up by the wind and were broken. In these cases, your roof may only be protected by a thin layer of roof underlayment fabric. This fabric only provides you with short-term protection once exposed.

Your roof needs immediate attention if you’re seeing these dark spots. They’re a solid sign that things can go downhill fast.

If you’re examining your shingles from the ground with binoculars, these spots may be difficult to see. Check for pockmarks up close. Pockmarks are caused by hail and fast-moving debris that leave craters in the shingles.

If pockmarks are the extent of the damage, they aren’t of immediate concern. But they will significantly reduce the life of your roof.

It’s likely that, even in the mildest of storms, some shingle replacement will be necessary. Be sure to take note of the extent of the damage before pursuing services to fix this.

Tip 7: Check for Leaks and Current or Potential Water Damage

Remember that the source of the leak may not be where the water actually ends up. Be sure to thoroughly examine all areas of your roof, walls, and ceiling.

Use a flashlight and closely examine your walls for water stains, as well as your ceiling. Be on the lookout for signs of moisture behind your walls that you may not be able to see.

This may come in the form of a damp feeling around the base of your walls or black mold beginning to creep out and across the paint.

If you have water in your walls, you may have a bigger problem on your hands than just a roof. But getting the roof fixed will at least stop further water from entering the home.

Run an industrial de-humidifier if you have one to get the indoor moisture levels down so that your home isn’t hospitable to mold, mildew, and creatures who like wet, rotting wood.

Tip 8: Investigate the Area Around Your Chimney and/or Skylights

When you check your roof after a hurricane, be sure to closely examine your chimney and skylights, if you have any. These are prime spots for water damage, mold, and mildew to begin building up.

Also, be sure to take note of any areas where you roof comes to a “V” where water may be pooling.

Chimneys and skylights will also have flashings and other barriers that prevent leaking. These may have been damaged during the storm, so be sure to check them out.

Tip 9: Monitor Your Ceilings For Several Weeks Afterwards

Even though the worst is over, issues could creep up over the next few weeks. If your roof and ceiling appear to be fine upon inspection, there still could be unseen damage that may crop up later.

Continue to monitor your roof, gutters, attic, ceiling fixtures and ceiling for several weeks following the hurricane. Issues may come to light, and you want to be able to remedy the situation as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Tip 10: Write It Off

Most of us don’t really care for tax season. But you might as well get the most out of the time, energy and money it took to repair your roof after a hurricane. You can write off hurricane damage for that year’s taxes.

This can mean significant savings on the tax bill or even a large refund to help you recoup some of what you’ve lost.

So keep up with how much you spend on repairs and document everything.

Protecting Your Roof After a Hurricane

The stress of a hurricane is about as much as many people can bear. And you don’t have to add to the stress by putting off inspecting your roof until the damage is extreme.

If you’re looking for help in repairing your roof after Hurricanes Irma, check us out at Westchase Roofing.