How to Check Your Shingles for Damage

by Michael Franco
roof repair

A routine roof inspection should already be a part of your annual home maintenance checklist, but if not, inspecting your roof after a storm and other severe weather should be a priority.

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While it’s never fun to realize you’ve got roof issues, repairing the damage before the problem gets worse and you notice your roof leaking can save you lots of money in the long run.

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What Should You Look for When Checking Your Roof for Damage?

Fortunately, you don’t need to be a professional roofing contractor to inspect a roof for damage. After severe weather, like hail, thunderstorms or even strong winds, check for debris that may have blown on top of your roof. And because climbing up onto your roof comes with certain inherent risks, inspect from the ground with a pair of binoculars to get a better look before hiring a pro. Damage from severe weather, like wind and hail, can present in a number of different ways, according to the type of roof you’ve got on your house.

Asphalt Shingles

An asphalt shingle roof is the most common type of roof out there. While they typically offer comprehensive protection against a variety of weather hazards, they can still incur damage in the right scenario. When assessing an asphalt roof for damage, take a look for any missing shingles. When wind gusts exceed 60 miles an hour, shingles can crack, peel and eventually blow off. Even if all shingles are still intact after a storm, look closely for shingles that have started to peel or crack, as these can allow opportunities for water to seep through the next time it rains. Because of the potential for structural damage, any missing, cracked or peeling shingles should be replaced immediately.

Hail can cause significant damage to a shingle roof as well. If you notice random small black spots that appear with no discernable pattern, your roof could have incurred possible hail damage. Additionally, if you notice any larger spots that appear shiny, it could indicate a loss of granules caused by hail. Like damage caused by wind, even a relatively small amount of hail damage can soon lead to costlier structural issues. If you suspect your roof has suffered any hail damage, you should contact a roofing professional for a repair.

Wood Shingles or Shakes

Wood shingle and shake roofs are some of the most aesthetically pleasing roof materials available. And while they make for durable roofing systems, they aren’t immune to weather-related hazards. Unlike asphalt shingles, wood shingles require more routine maintenance and care from homeowners, even more so after a severe weather event.

Every three years, wood roofs need protective treatments added to them to keep them from cracking, rotting and warping. Despite their all-natural appearance, wood roofs hold up surprisingly well in severe weather. That said, older wood roofs are prone to damage in an intense storm. For example, a dead limb landing on your roof could easily break an old, brittle shingle. If not replaced immediately, a broken wooden shingle leaves your roof vulnerable to water-related damage. Left untreated, you may start seeing wet spots on your ceiling the next time it rains.

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Metal Roofs

It’s widely recognized that, in terms of sheer durability, metal roofs are hard to beat. It’s true that metal roofs hold up unbelievably well in severe weather. What’s more, metal roofs also last decades longer than traditional asphalt shingle roofs. Still, for all their longevity and durability, metal roofs aren’t invincible. That’s why you should make it a priority to inspect these types of roofs routinely, especially after severe weather.

Metal roofs can withstand intense wind, holding up far better than their counterparts, but they have a tendency to dent easily. Depending on the type of metal roof, denting can happen fairly easily. For example, aluminum and copper roofs can be easily dented by hail, fallen tree limbs or other debris. If you notice that your roof has been dented by any of these elements, you’ll want to get it patched immediately. Not only does a dented roof lower the aesthetic value of your home, but it can cause long-term damage to your roof. Rain can pool in the dents, creating drainage issues that can cause panels and fasteners to rust, corrode and eventually fail. Like any other type of roof damage, it’s best to act as soon as you see signs of damage.

Tile Roofs

While tile roofs can be expensive, they’re also an incredibly durable roofing material that can last for the better part of a century. They also hold up well in hot climates and are common throughout desert regions. A tile roof can hold up well under large amounts of rain, but loose, cracked or missing tiles can allow water to leak onto the roof decking. Because tile roofs are considerably heavy, water-damaged decking can fail, and you’ll need to replace your roof entirely. Keep a lookout for any debris that has landed on your roof after severe weather. Even unassuming materials like small rocks and limbs can cause tile to crack or knock loose.

Keeping Tabs

It’s a good idea to assess the condition of your roof on an annual basis, but you should also make it a point to inspect your roof after any big weather event and keep tabs on those small repairs before they escalate and inevitably become costlier.

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