A guide to how storms and snow can affect your roof

September 24, 2014

Storms and snow can affect your roof in more ways than one. Read on to find out how to determine if your roof has been damaged by storms, and how to avoid it next time.
Roofing experts agree that paying attention to your roof after storms can save you loads of money and headaches in the long run. During any season, the structural integrity of your roof can fall victim to:

• Thunderstorms
• Windstorms
• Hailstorms
• Snowstorms

All can be equally damaging to your roof.

A guide to how storms and snow can affect your roof

Check and repair immediately

If your roof is even slightly compromised, leaks will cause water damage and potentially wood rot in the wooden framing underneath. That’s why it’s important to repair damage as quickly as possible before the expense multiplies.

Don’t let wind blow your dollars away

Believe it or not, hard winds can blow the granules on shingles away, exposing your roof to water damage. Wind has even been known to rip shingles off – and you can imagine the damage that size opening in your roof can cause. Always replace or repair shingles immediately, before the job becomes much bigger and much more expensive.

How to spot hail damage

How can you tell whether your roof is compromised after a hailstorm? A quick visual inspection will show actual dents from the hail – each indention about half the size of the hailstone that hit it. On asphalt shingles, hail can “bruise” the shingle, leaving a soft spot. Also, look for fracture lines on the underside of the shingle.

If your roof is made up of wood shakes/shingles, hail can split them. To tell whether or not splits are a result of the recent hailstorm, look inside at the colour exposed. Does it look like new wood, or is it weathered and aged-looking?

Get rid of that snow

Snow damage is easy and cheap to avoid if you invest in a relatively inexpensive snow rake, which can be used to remove roof snow safely while you’re on the ground.

How much snow is too much for your roof to bear? It depends on your location. In heavy snow areas such as the mountains, roofs are made to weather heavier burdens. But generally for residential roofs, 9 kg (20 lb) per square foot is the limit.

If your roof slope is greater than 8 cm (3 inches) for every 31 cm (12 inches) of horizontal distance, melting snow will run off adequately. But don’t forget that new snow falling on top of old, packed snowfall weighs more heavily. So while your roof may be able to withstand 1.2 meters (4 feet) of fresh snow with no damage, yesterday’s packed snow is twice as heavy.

Look for ice damage

And don’t forget ice dams! As heat is lost through your roof and the resulting snow melt flows downward, ice forms on the bottom edge of your roof and backs up your gutters. Water collects between your shingles, causing considerable and costly damage.

Contact your insurance carrier

No matter what type of storm has befallen your area, your homeowner’s insurance will probably cover the expense of roof repair or replacement (after you pay the deductible). Check your policy if you need details on your roof coverage.

The material on this website is provided for entertainment, informational and educational purposes only and should never act as a substitute to the advice of an applicable professional. Use of this website is subject to our terms of use and privacy policy.
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