We have 5 tips for severe weather preparation for your home and family!
– and then 8 action steps after a severe storm has hit + 5 warning signs to avoid storm chasers.
Severe weather happens in all parts of our country. The roof is your home’s protection against these powerful forces of nature. Your region likely produces a certain type of severe weather that could result in roof damage. Maybe it’s hail, wind, ice or broken tree limbs. These 5 preparation tips could avert even more serious outcomes for your family and home.
Tip #1 – Severe Weather Family-Plan
Make a plan, put it in writing and make sure everyone knows it. Identify a meeting place if the home gets damaged. Select a contact person, outside your area, in case local phone service is down so family members can locate each other.
Tip #2 – Emergency Kits
Prepare a kit for each person that contains: flashlight, radio, batteries, essential medicines, first-aid kit, nonperishable food, bottled water, clothes, cash and a copy of the emergency plan.
Tip #3 – Tree Trimming
Trees pose potential severe damage in ice and wind storms. Branches near your roof should be pruned. Consider removing any trees that high winds might blow onto your roof.
Tip #4 – Clear Gutters
Leaves and other debris can build up in gutters blocking drainage. Standing water can create serious roof problems. Set a schedule to check and clean gutters, especially after the fall season.
Tip #5 – Property Preparation
Secure or remove items that high winds could turn into projectiles damaging your home or causing injuries.
If you think something may have damaged your roof, here are common signs to look for:
✓ Missing shingles
✓ Gaps in flashing
✓ Dented shingles
✓ Cracked/broken shingles
✓ Loose granules
✓ Dented vents
We published a roof inspection article you might find helpful. Arranging a professional inspection can reduce your concerns and often is free. If a severe storm has unfortunately hit your home, what’s next?
Here are some immediate action-items that can answer concerning questions about your roof. They can assist you in determining if contacting a roofing professional would be advisable.
✓ Start on the ground checking for roof damage. What? Small pieces of shingles can be torn off by the storm and left lying in the yard. After heavy hail, check near gutter downspouts for shingle granules.
What’s up with granules? Keep reading to find out!
✓ You found damage. Take some photos! Document any damage you find in case you need it later to show insurance or your roofing contractor.
✓ Some damage can be seen from the ground. Look for missing or out-of-place shingles from various angles in your yard. (or from upper-story windows)
✓ Are any tree limbs on your roof? Before removing them, note their location for later close inspection of the area. If the branch is large or still partially attached, consider hiring a professional, since heavy wood and a steep roof is a dangerous combination.
✓ Was it a hail storm? Hail can dent your shingles without creating a visible hole. That may not seem serious, but a severe dent can cause a crack which allows water to later penetrate.
✓ Hail! Yes, it can also damage just the shingle surface causing the granules to detach. If enough granules come off, it will shorten the lifespan of the shingles. Check in your roof gutters to see if there are lots of granules.
✓ Your roof has vents, which are typically a thin metal. Check if they are lying flat and sealed to the surrounding shingles. If they are severely dented and deformed, they might leak.
✓ Flashing is the flat metal sealing the roof to a wall or chimney and in the bottom of valleys. Has hail or strong wind pulled it away and broken the seal? If it is gapped or bent, then water will likely be able to get in at that point.
✓ Shingles – These are overlapping rows of material, sealed together, blocking the outside weather. They are most likely made from asphalt and fiberglass. If the rows of shingles have become unsealed due to age, damage or a sagging roof deck, they may become unable to stop moisture penetrating.
Don’t Get Scammed by STORM-CHASERS
Have you watched videos of “storm-chasers” getting close up shots of tornados? Scary stuff! Most people want to avoid tornadoes.
But there is another kind of “storm-chaser” and you need to avoid them. These are individuals who follow severe storms and offer quick roof repairs to unsuspecting homeowners.
They have a great sales pitch about little or no cost to you, or eliminating your insurance deductible, or claiming being sent by your insurance company. Some will make an inspection, identify damage, ask for a deposit, but then never return. Or, they may accept your payment and do the work promising insurance will reimburse you, but using cheap materials and doing shoddy workmanship.
If a roofing contractor comes to your home:
✓ and you didn’t call them…
✓ if they use high-pressure sales tactics…
✓ if they want a quick decision…
✓ if they ask for pre-payment…
✓ if they promise insurance claim reimbursements…
Don’t sign! Don’t agree on the spot! Take some time and…
✓ Ask for their business license or certification
✓ Call your insurance company
✓ Check with the Better Business Bureau
Find out if they are a legitimate business with a good reputation. Check out our article on how to choose a quality roofing contractor.
Severe weather and storm damage are stressful events. Prepare with these tips beforehand.
Implement these steps after a storm to get back to normal as quickly and smoothly as possible.