How to Spot and Repair Storm Damage
A large storm can wreak havoc on your home. Roof damage and other exterior issues can lead to water damage inside, such as attic leaks or mold problems. Whether you are dealing with high winds, hail, or ice, you can mitigate storm damages by identifying and addressing problem areas as soon after the storm as possible.
Roof and Gutters
The roof is designed to protect your home, so it often takes the brunt of any damage that is caused during a storm. Gutter and drainage systems are also prone to storm damage, which can be a huge problem since these systems are necessary for routing away water during storms.
What to Look For
The most obvious signs of roof problems are missing or damaged shingles. Large branches or pieces of debris on the roof could also indicate damage. You can typically spot these from the ground or the top of a ladder — you don’t actually need to get on the roof. Hail damage is less obvious. You may find roofing granules in the gutters, or you may notice sampling or shiny spots on the shingles.
Gutter damage is another issue. Walk the perimeter of your home and survey all the gutters to make sure they are still firmly attached and not sagging or otherwise damaged. Look for debris blocking gutters or downspouts, particularly if the storm produced high winds.
Prompt repair of any damage will prevent water from getting into your home and causing more extensive problems. Damaged shingles can be replaced, although it may be more cost effective to have entire roof replacement if your roof is reaching the end of its expected service life or if it has hail damage.
Gutters can also be repaired, with replacement usually only necessary if the guttering has holes in it. If the gutters were torn from the eaves, you may also need to repair damaged soffits or fascia boards.
Siding and Windows
Hail and wind cause most siding and window damage. Hail can break windows or put holes in vinyl siding. Metal siding isn't immune to damages, either, as hail can dent it badly. Wind may force water up and under siding or through poorly sealed windows. The water that gets in can lead to rot and mold problems.
What to Look For
Siding damage is often obvious, as you will see the hole, crack, or loose siding. Water may be under the siding if you notice any gaps at the siding seams. Another sign of water underneath the siding is the appearance of mildew or algae stains that appear to be leaking from beneath a siding panel.
Window damage is usually obvious if you perform an inspection right after the storm when things are still damp. Look for water inside the house around the window. If you have wooden frames or sills, probe them gently to see if the wood feels soft. If you can insert an awl more than 1/8 inch into the wood, rot may already be setting in.
You may be able to patch or replace a length of vinyl or metal siding if you can find a color match, otherwise full replacement may be necessary. Gaps and holes, in both siding and around windows, can be repaired with caulk and sealants.
Wood rot that has affected window frames or siding can't usually be repaired, so replacement will be necessary. In some cases you can have only the damaged areas cut out and replaced, which lowers your repair costs.
Contact SERVPRO of East Onondaga County for more information on what to do if your home experiences storm damage3