Common Causes of Storm Damage to Roofs

Storm damage is one of the most common causes of roof damage. Storms can cause various problems, from flying debris to hail damage and even rain or wind-related issues. Therefore, it’s essential to inspect your roof regularly for signs of storm damage and repair it proactively if any is found. Here are some common causes of storm damage to roofs:

Wind Damage

The wind is one of the most common causes of roof storm damage. High winds can cause shingles to be ripped off, leaving holes in the roof. In addition to this, wind-driven rain can also enter through the holes and cause damage to the inner structure of the roof. Let’s look at some more ways wind can damage roofs.

High Winds

High winds are one of the most common causes of roof storm damage. When these powerful gusts hit, they can cause severe damage, including lifting shingles and peeling them off, loosening flashing from around vents and chimneys, lifting the shingle tabs, or creating minor damage such as cracking or denting. Wind-driven rain is another common form of roof damage caused by high winds.

This type of damage occurs when rain enters through areas where the roof has been damaged, resulting in wood rot and water buildup in attics and crawl spaces. In severe cases, water can seep into other parts of your home’s interior. The best way to guard against high-wind roof damage is by having your roof checked before storm season hits.

Tornadoes and Hurricanes

Tornadoes and hurricanes are two of the most significant and destructive weather events that can damage your roof. While these storms can have devastating effects, not all roof damage is caused by them. Tornadoes and hurricanes often bring strong winds, heavy rain, hail, and debris that can wreak havoc on roofing systems. High winds in tornadoes and hurricanes can cause shingle blow-offs, holes in flashings, large tears in membranes or tar paper, and lift decking boards of your roof structure.

causes of roofing damage during storms

Rain Damage

Rain can cause significant damage to roofs, often leading to water seeping into buildings and causing thousands in repairs. Rain can also cause other types of damage, such as hail or wind. Knowing the common causes of storm damage to roofs can help you better prepare for them and protect your property from damage and costly repairs. Let’s look at the common causes of storm damage to roofs due to rain.

Heavy rains

Heavy rain can cause a variety of damage to a roof. Two issues that can occur due to heavy rains are pooling and ponding water. Pooling and ponding are when water collects on the roof’s surface and does not properly drain off due to an inadequate slope or even holes in the roof caused by poor installation or age. In extreme rain storms, this pooling or ponding water can build enough pressure to push or lift shingles from their intended position, allowing water to enter your home or structure.

Heavy rain, commonly associated with severe weather, can also act as a driving force in removing shingles. Hail can often penetrate through a shingle’s asphalt/fiberglass matting, reducing its effectiveness and weakening its adhesion to your roof deck (wood surface). Additionally, fast winds associated with storms can lift and rip singles right off your home. Therefore, you must periodically inspect your roof after extreme weather events such as thunderstorms, hail storms, and tropical cyclones – especially once they become frequent in any given season.

Flash flooding

Flash flooding is a form of intense rainfall that rapidly rises and quickly causes flood damage to unprotected surfaces. Often, flooding during heavy storms can seep through cracks in a roof, creating further leaks and weakening the property structure. Flash flooding can also erode shingles and transition them from their original positions. 

Due to the overwhelming mass of water putting immense pressure on the roof’s materials, flash floods can quickly strip away shingles and underlayment materials from rooftop areas allowing moisture to enter into construction cavities quickly. If left untreated, this can result in severe long-term damage, an expensive repair undertaking.

Additionally, wet insulation or other materials will likely require removal due to the risk of mold growth that could pose health risks. To minimize damage caused by flash floods, a home or business should take steps before storms arrive by reinforcing roofs with tarps/covers, assessing for any known weaknesses beforehand, installing additional supports/flashing around skylights and chimneys, as well as regularly cleaning gutters & downspouts so they won’t become clogged during storms. These preventive measures will help protect your property in case of heavy rainfall and sudden floods like flash floods.

Hail Damage

Hail damage is one of the most common storm damage to roofs. It occurs when hailstones strike your home’s roof and damage the roofing materials like shingles. Hail damage can range from minor scuffs and dents to severe problems like broken shingles and torn-away granules. To avoid further costly repairs, it is essential to have your roof regularly inspected for signs of hail damage. Let’s learn more about hail damage and how to protect your roof.

Hailstone size

The size of the hailstones that cause storm damage to roofs can range from small pea-sized hailstones to golf balls and larger sizes. Hailstone size is determined by the number of water droplets in a rising cloud column, how high those droplets travel into the atmosphere, and how long each droplet remains frozen. In general, hailstone size ranges from one-quarter inch to six inches, with the average size being 0.75 inches in diameter.

Smaller hailstones can cause light cosmetic roof damage, such as dings or dimples that may be visible on shingles or other roofing material. Damage caused by smaller hailstones may not be immediately detectable until it has time to deteriorate, but fortunately, it rarely significantly weakens a roof’s structural integrity.

More giant hailstones have much more force behind them. As a result, they can lead to significant damage, especially when combined with strong winds and torrential rains during a severe thunderstorm or hurricane event. When these larger stones strike your roof, they can sometimes create cracks, splits, and even holes. This damage can significantly reduce your roof’s structural integrity and may require extensive repairs or complete replacement for certain roofs.

It is vital to assess your roof for possible damage after any significant storm event – no matter how small the hail might have been – because untreated problems with your roof can lead to costly repair bills if left unchecked for too long. A qualified professional should always be consulted if you suspect any hail-related damage after a storm event – true experts like Roofer Joe will know how best to assess and repair hurricane or hailstone-related issues for your home’s rooftop protection now and into the future.

Hailstone frequency

Property owners often pay little attention to hail until it causes significant damage to their roofs. However, hailstones can be more frequent than one might think, depending on the size of the storm and its location. Size is essential — hailstones smaller than a quarter inch in diameter are less likely to cause significant damage than those that measure one inch or larger.

Hailstorms become more intense when cold air is added to the mix. Hailstorms get their start in an area called a hail shaft. This is where hail is formed; hail starts forming when supercooled water droplets freeze onto patches of falling snow or rain and then become heavier when they fall closer to the ground.

Ice Damage

Ice damage is one of the most common causes of roof storm damage. During winter, ice can build up on your roof and gutters. This can cause significant damage to your roof and lead to additional problems if it is not taken care of. In this section, we’ll explore the causes and preventative measures to take against ice damage to a roof.

Ice Dams

An ice dam occurs when snow on a roof melts and flows to the edge of the roof, behind which re-freezing temperatures create a standoff or barrier, trapping the liquid water at the edges. When enough water accumulates, it can seep beneath the barrier and into your attic or walls, causing long-term damage like rotting wood and mold.

To prevent ice dams from forming, you should install heating cables along your roof’s valley and eaves. These cables will help melt snow before it forms an ice dam, reducing your risk of damage. It would be best if you also cleared your gutters of debris regularly to allow for maximum flow of rainwater away from your home. Additionally, proper insulation is critical to preventing ice dams. 

Ensure all insulation in attic floors and walls is filled in correctly with no gaps between panels. Properly insulating interior walls can also help regulate interior temperatures so that heat won’t rise into your attic and cause snow to melt prematurely. Finally, cutting off air circulation from vents near peaks or eaves can also help minimize drafts that could cause melting snow inside the walls or around window sills.

Ice Buildup

Ice buildup on the roof is also a common cause of storm damage. Homeowners must inspect their roofs for ice dams, which are ridges or ice walls forming at the roof’s edge. Ice dams prevent melting snow from draining properly and can leak water into your home. As temperatures dip below freezing, snow accumulating on the roof melts and freezes again near the edge, where it’s colder. This causes ice dams to form and grows, eventually leading to damage.

To prevent ice buildup, homeowners should immediately remove all accumulated snow from their roofs. If you have an older house, consider installing insulation, which will help keep your attic and rooftop area warmer and decrease the risk of an ice dam forming. You should also ensure that your gutters are free of debris like leaves so water can flow away quickly instead of pooling up near your roof line and creating an ideal spot for ice formation.

storm damaged roofing structures

Storm Damage Prevention and Repair

Storm damage to roofs is typical, with high winds, heavy rains, hail, and other debris causing damage to various roof parts. However, taking preventive measures and understanding how to repair your roof correctly can help to minimize the potential damage and extend the lifespan of your roof. In this section, we’ll discuss some common causes of storm damage to roofs and the best methods to prevent and repair them.

Inspecting the roof

To protect your home from storm damage, it is essential to inspect your roof regularly for signs that it may need repair or maintenance. Common visual clues include cracked or missing tiles, broken shingles, buckling shakes or siding, moss build-up, or discoloration.

You should also check for signs of moisture penetration, such as water stains on ceilings, walls, and rafters; mold and mildew buildup; wood rot in eaves and fascia boards; or any buckling or distortion of rafters and beams. If you identify any of the above warning signs, you should seek professional help immediately.

Repairing the roof before a storm can prevent further damage caused by rainwater accumulation, wind-driven debris, and other environmental conditions. It is crucial to assess the condition of your roof at least every season so that you can promptly act upon any necessary repair work if required. Regular maintenance will also help you identify potential areas that may be prone to storm damage in the future.

Repairing Storm Damage

After a storm, you must check your roof for any damage that needs to be repaired. Often, storm damage is caused by high winds, hail, lightning, or falling trees. However, even if the wind is not strong enough to topple a tree, small limbs and debris can still cause damage.

Here are some common repairs that may need to be made after a storm:

Don’t hesitate to call an experienced professional for advice on how best to repair any damage you find on your roof after an incident like a storm.

Protect Your Roof Against Future Damage

Roofs are often the most damaged components in areas prone to severe storms. To protect your roof from further damage, it is important to recognize common causes of storm damage and take appropriate measures. These can include inspecting your roof regularly, repairing any existing damage, installing additional underlayment or tar paper before storms to provide an extra layer of protection, and even replacing your current roof with a more robust material such as metal. Investing in good-quality gutters and adequately secured and maintained downspouts is also advisable.

If you need help preparing for and managing the aftermath of a storm, your local hardware store or emergency management agency can provide information and advice. Additionally, many insurance providers offer coverage for storm damage to help offset the costs of repairs or replacements. Proper preparation and planning can minimize the risk of future storm damage to your roof. 

Finally, it is advisable to inspect your roof for any signs of storm damage, such as missing shingles or buckling. If you notice any issues, be sure to call in a licensed and qualified contractor to evaluate the condition of your roof and make any necessary repairs. Taking proactive steps today can help ensure your roof remains strong against future storms.