Signs of roof damage
Here are the items you should pay particular attention to when inspecting your roof for damage:
Flashing is the metal that connects the chimney, vents and skylights to the roof. Also, it connects porch roofs to the second story. Inspect the flashing every 10 years to ensure it hasn’t corroded or cracked, that rubber gaskets around plumbing vents haven’t deteriorated and that the metal collars on vents used with gas appliances remain tight. Estimated cost of flashing: About $50 per roll.
Check the surface of asphalt shingles to ensure their grains are intact. If they’ve been abraded (by weather or walking on the roof) replace the shingles, then stay off the roof. This is true for cracked tiles, too. Estimated cost: About $30 per bundle, but can vary based on the roof type.
Wind and tree damage
Tree branches that rustle gently in a breeze can also crack tiles, abrade asphalt shingles and damage fascia boards if they brush or strike them. Prevent tree damage by keeping branches at least 10 feet from your home and by ensuring that trees can’t hit your home if they fall during high winds. If a tree hits your home, evacuate until an engineer or general contractor ensures your home is safe to inhabit.
After storms, check your roof for missing shingles, worn spots and cracked or broken tiles. Also, look for broken fascia boards and loose metal sheeting. Estimated cost: DIY prune for free.
Raccoons may be cute, but they can be destructive by ripping off shingles, nesting in attic insulation, compressing it and leaving excrement. Squirrels and roof rats may cause similar problems. Inspect your attic once or twice each year to ensure it’s not home to unwanted wildlife. If critters have invaded, contact a wildlife specialist to remove them, then find and seal their entry points and repair any damaged roofing. Estimated cost of wildlife removal: $200-$500.
Moss on the roof is more harmful than beautiful. Its spores collect between shingles, growing and spreading to form mats a few inches thick. These mats store rainwater, which wicks underneath shingles, soaks the underlayment and, if unchecked, rots the roof sheathing.
If you have moss, remove it. An air broom works nicely. Don’t power wash the roof, because that can drive water underneath the shingles or tiles. Once the moss is gone, apply a chemical treatment or zinc or copper solution to kill any remaining moss spores. Alternatively, install zinc or copper strips at the roof’s peak to kill moss in the coming decades. When reroofing, consider shingles with built-in moss inhibitors. Estimated cost of chemical spray: About $15.
Usually hail is not something that you can miss—it is typically a widespread weather event in a neighborhood and not isolated to just one house on the block. Hail can bruise a shingle causing an indentation that may be hard to see but that can crack the shingle allowing water to infiltrate over time. You may need the assistance of a professional roofing contractor to determine the scope of the damage. If you have hail damage, you will need to file an insurance claim.
If your hail event was significant in terms of widespread damage, you will have roofing contractors who specialize in “storms” knocking on your door within days of the event. As always, you should use your best judgment when selecting a contractor.
Potential signs of hail damage:
- Other collateral hail damage around the house; dents on cars or other items on your house or in your yard.
- A distinct pattern of small round-shaped divots on the edges of the shingles.
- Indentations in the shingle where granules are missing.
- A large pile of granules at the end of your downspout; a small amount is normal, especially on new shingles.
Leaks can occur as a result of storm damage such as heavy rainfall, hail, or snow accumulation. If you live in an area that sees heavy snowfall, you need to be sure that your roof is able to support the weight of the snow and properly sloped so that the snow will not sit on the roof for long periods of time. When the snow melts, it can cause serious harm to the roof. Moisture can leave your home vulnerable to mold infestation as well.
Identifying Wind Damage to Your Roof
If you’ve recently experienced winds of 45 mph or higher, then call us and we will get outside and take a look at your roof for some of the common signs of roof damage. Signs of wind damage on a roof include loose or missing shingles, chimney issues, curling or peeling shingles, granule loss, damaged soffit or fascia and indoor leaks. High winds can also cause tree branches to fall and damage a roof.
Spots of Granules Missing from your Shingles
Like hail, wind can cause loss of granules (the sandpaper-like part of the shingle). The first place we look to determine if you have missing granules is by inspecting your gutters for the granules, as this is where they tend to pile up.
Edge of Roof Curling from Peeling Shingles
The edges and other pressure points on the roof are most likely to sustain damage from wind. During our inspection we’ll look for curling shingles where the wind took hold and began to peel the shingles. Shingles keep out water, so if they’re loose it will lead to water damage and a quickly deteriorating roof.
Entire Shingles Missing from the Roof
One of the easiest ways to tell that you have a wind damaged roof is the loss of entire shingles. If you find shingles in your yard or around your house, you’ll definitely want to have a professional come out and look at what else could cause you trouble. Strong winds can completely rip shingles off leaving your roof vulnerable.
Cracks or Tears in a Flat, Rubber Roof
If you have a flat roof, we’ll look for missing pieces or tears in the material. Wind can lift up the material and rip it away or leave it with bubbles which hurts the integrity of the covering.
Why Your Roof Damage Might Not Be Covered by Insurance
Roof replacement can be prohibitively expensive for many homeowners. A new roof costs just over $7,000 on average in the U.S. but could cost up to a whopping $30,000 if your home has an expensive roofing material, is especially large or possesses a complicated roof shape or slope.
In the event of a storm or falling tree, you would hope your homeowners insurance would cover basic roof damage. However, your insurance company may deny you coverage precisely because roof replacement is one of the costliest home repairs.
Caveat #1: Your Roof Is Too Old
You may assume your home insurance will cover your roof damage in the event of a fire or break-in, and in most cases, that’s a Is your roof too old to be covered in case of disaster? Find out by calling us today! reasonable assumption to make. However, roof coverage might not apply if your roof is deemed “too old.”
Caveat #2: The Damage Was Your Fault
Homeowners insurance usually covers roof damage in extraordinary circumstances beyond your control. However, it is highly unlikely your roof damage will be covered if the insurance company can reasonably put the blame on you for a roof malfunction.
One of the most common instances where roof damage may be deemed “your fault” is if you have a roof leak due to normal wear and tear. For example, if a roof shingle came loose and blew off your roof, exposing the underlayment to rain, and you never fixed the issue, your insurance would likely not cover the resulting water damage. From their perspective, you should have called a roofing professional to inspect and maintain your roof.
Your insurance company may also refuse to cover your roof damage if you attempt to make a minor roof repair and end up making the situation worse. For example, some roof shingles and tiles are delicate and may break or fall off when tread on, or you may try to nail a shingle back in, only to cause a leak by puncturing your roof in the wrong place. Since you directly caused or exacerbated the damage instead of calling a qualified professional, you would be responsible for paying for repair or replacement.
Caveat #3: Your Roofing Material Is Too Financially Risky to Cover
The ultimate goal of an insurance company is to make money, so they generally don’t want to cover roofing materials that are highly expensive, easily damaged or both. Wood shake roofs are a particularly high risk because they cost a fair amount of money, have a similar or shorter lifespan than shingle roofs and burn easily. Many companies won’t cover wood roofs at all because of their susceptibility to wildfire and water damage. If you have a wood roof, be sure to do thorough research before committing to an insurance policy.
Metal roofs, while fire resistant, are also quite expensive to replace and can be easily dented by hail. Slate roofs are luxurious but heavy and costly to install. With these types of roofs, insurance companies may try to dismiss damage as “cosmetic” so they don’t have to replace the costlier roofing materials. They may also charge a premium for coverage of a more expensive roof.
On the flip side, insurance companies often reward homeowners with impact-resistant or wind-resistant roofs with better coverage and other incentives, as these roofs reduce the chance that they’ll have to pay for hail and windstorm damage.