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How Do I Know if My Roof is Damaged After a Storm?

by Sherriff-Goslin on July 16, 2012

Unfortunately, that’s a question not enough people ask.

Yet, after the past few weeks, from late June’s pelting hail storms  to last week’s derechos ( pronounced “Dey-ray-chos” or land hurricanes) in parts of the Midwest, it’s a wise homeowner who does ask this question.  Derechos may be a relatively new meteorological phenom in the Midwest, but the power of 50+ mph winds should be nothing new to homeowners. It’s high time to think about inspecting your roof.

Three Super-Compelling, Money-Saving Reasons You Want To Inspect Your Roof  After a Storm

First,  if there was  damage making your home vulnerable to  leaking ,  you’re more likely to be able to contain that damage and prevent any  physical leakage from occurring if you catch the damage early enough. That’s money in your pocket, folks.

Second, if your home did suffer storm-related damage, the sooner you inspect the roof after the storm, the more likely you’ll be able to establish the evidence needed for an insurance claim.  Many insurance policies in fact have a time limit for establishing a claim.

Third, increasingly, roof inspections from professional roofing companies are free. (Hey, we may be biased, but check our free offer out!)

I hope you’re saying now, “Okay.  Prevent costly damage?  Use available insurance money? Free inspections? I’m in.” But maybe you’re the sort of person who doesn’t take action unless there are physical signs of damage. In today’s tough economy, heck, that position makes some sense. And with today’s busy lifestyles, some of us conserve energy, not “bustin’ a move”, so to speak, unless we have reason to suspect there’s a problem. As the old saying goes, “Don’t fix what ain’t broke.”

So Just How Do I  Know If  My Shingles are Damaged?

Well, we wish we could say this was simple.  For instance, let’s say the storm just occurred and you go outside your house. You see shingles on the lawn.  Damage?  No brainer: You definitely have a reason to call a roof inspector, even though damage may be slight.

But does that mean if you find no shingles on the lawn that there’s no damage?  Well, unfortunately, you may have a great deal of damage.

The plain fact is that sometimes it means damage and sometimes it doesn’t.

Simple Visual Signs of Roof Damage

1. Let’s take hail. With hail, some significant damage is extremely easy to spot:  If you see holes in your pool screen, you might also check for dents in the metal flashing (the metal strips that run along your roof) and lead boots on your roof. (Lead boots? We’re not talking galoshes. See any vent pipes from your attic protruding over the roof top? Well, those metal pipes are affixed to the roof by “lead boots”, part of the flashing.)

2. Other Signs of physical destruction to shingles. Here’s a simple test:  Were your gutters clean before the storm but are now filled with mineral granules, (aka the nubby, pebbly material)  that used to be on the shingles? As Scooby Doo of cartoon fame used to say, “Roh Roh”. That could mean “degranulation” is taking place.  Now if there’s a significant loss of those materials off your shingles, roof replacement  under your home owner policy may be warranted.

Our photo above comes courtesy of the smart folks over at the Extreme How-To website, where you can learn a bit more about do-it-yourself inspections and repairs.

Now the DIYer  homeowner’s dilemma here is  still this: If you see these signs, just how much degranulation means your roof protection is in trouble? That brings us to…

The Dreaded, Not so Obvious Forms of Roof Damage

The problem is that many roofs look just fine from the ground… even though they may have been totally compromised by storm damage.  Indeed, here at Sherriff-Goslin, in our over 100 years of roofing experience, we’ve seen cases where not a single shingle was blown off the roof and yet there was significant damage. Here are two examples of the dilemma.

1.  Storm damage or Aging Roof? Many homeowners, unfamiliar with roofing materials,  have difficulty visually distinguishing hail damage from a storm from the general wear and tear on the roof.  For instance, it can be difficult  for an untrained eye to tell shingle rash blistering, cracking and granule loss associated with aging from specific damage associated with a storm.

2. Sealing Strip Damage. Now this one’s plain tricky.  You see, shingles have a sealing strip between them. And with a storm, the wind may lift the shingles, breaking this strip. But – here’s the tricky part – after the storm, the shingles settle back onto the roof and everything looks normal. Looks okay? Good. Functions okay? Well, if the sealing strip is damaged, it may take a year, even two years, before the roof will start leaking. (Ooh wee. Now you’re up Shingle Creek.)

Now we are not trying to give you  post-storm “roof paranoia” here.  But to paraphrase the 80 ‘s Kink’s song ‘ Destroyer’,   “[No ] pa-ra-noia will destroy ya”.

Yowza! What Actions Can I Take?

1. To be conservative, even where you see no physical damage from the ground or even have no fear in getting up on a ladder on your roof and see no damage, get a roof inspection by a qualified and experienced roofing professional. (Did we say that we offer free roof inspections? ;-) )

2. Still want to handle this as a Do-it-Your-Selfer? Whether or not you call in a roof professional ( and I hope we’ve given you some good reasons to do so), it’s good homeowner practice to visually inspect your roof at least once per year. That gives you a baseline for assessing any damage that may occur after a storm. So enter a roof inspection in your family Google Gmail calendar or Outlook  calendar  as a repeating event to occur once per year.

3. Want to be able to cross-check your professional roof inspection? Sources like Inspectapedia are a great start towards understanding the technical ins and outs of roof damage. (Hey, where possible, we like homeowners too to be as knowledgeable as possible about their roof, a major home investment.)

Oh No!  I Need to Replace My Roof! What Shingles Should I Look For to Avoid this Again?

If you like the look of asphalt shingles , you should check into hail damage resistant shingles which are rated  ”Class 4.”(Class 4  or IV is per the ASTM D2218 Roofing Test Standard, a test which propels steel bearing balls of various sizes at high velocity against the shingle material.) Take heart, my friends.  Many home insurance companies in parts of the US actually  provide discount premiums when Class IV shingles are installed in place of regular asphalt shingles.

Need examples? Well, here at Sherriff Goslin, we provide several brands of Class IV shingles: Our Art-Loc(R) Second Century shingles, are manufactured with SBS. (SBS stands for the chemical term for the polymer, Styrene Butadiene Styrene, a rubberized substance applied to shingles that not only enhances flexibility, durability, impact resistance for storms, but also provides crack resistance and resistance to the hot sun’s ultraviolet radiation.)

Take a look also at our StormMaster series, StormMaster(R) Slate for that estate-home solid rock look or StormMaster(R) Shake for a more  country-home woody look.  Available in a wide range of colors, these shingles not only provide superb hail impact resistance but are also treated with Scotchgard(TM) Protector. This means your roof will  have that “new roof” look ,streak-free of algae stains for many, many years forward.

It gets better. Even if you have suffered storm damage to your roof, there’s a possible happy ending here, folks. For running until Nov 5, 2012, please note our Great Art-Loc Debate Free Roof Giveaway: You can enter that contest and possibly get your new replacement  (Class IV) roof for free!

The Team at Sherriff Goslin




6 Comments Leave one →
  1. We were recently in a huge hail storm. It lasted for a long time, and the hail was very large. I didn’t even think about the damage it might have done to the roof. I didn’t realize that catching damage early could prevent leaks and the damage that they cause. I will have to have somebody come and check it out.

  2. New science new enhancements I do favor the coatings most what provides protection in any season to our home by defensive our roof. Particularly roof repair cost has given too several blessings.

  3. Janie permalink

    All of these are good suggestions. After a huge thunderstorm hit our area (Chicagoland) we did the inspection ourselves. We wrote down all damages, bumps, dents, etc (we could see), took pictures, took notes, etc. We looked at various websites (including: ) and comments to see what we can do right after a storm. Before submitting anything to your insurance, talk to your agent first. Find out if your premiums will go up.

  4. JustJoannie permalink

    I agree wholeheartedly with the comment above. I looked into a local roofing contractor after a big storm in my area. They were looking at things I wouldn’t have considered, let alone known what to look for. Always a good idea to consult a professional when it comes to possible structural damage!

  5. First and most importantly do not get up on your own roof to inspect for storm damage. This is best left to those of us who do this for a living.

    Here’s what you can do. There are tell-tails signs of hail damage that you can look for from the ground.

    Note the date of the storm
    Look for the presents of shingle granules on the ground or near down spouts.
    Look for dents on soft metal, like gutters
    Look at the peeks of the roof or missing granules or dent. This area is the hardest hit.
    Look for “dents” in the shingles. The areas pelted by hail may have a small impression.

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