Roof Storm Damage

by Jane VanOsdol on August 29, 2011

Most of us have seen at one time or another a severe storm and understand the damage that storms can inflict on homes and other outdoor structures. Roofs are particularly vulnerable. Let’s consider two different types of storm damage and what we need to watch for.


Hail forms when tiny ice pellets collide with water droplets. As the droplets attach to the ice pellet and freeze, the hail grows larger. This can happen several times as the pellets are tossed up and down through the cloud in powerful winds. Finally, the hail falls to the ground, where it can inflict damage, depending upon its size.

Hail that is pea-sized at about ¼ “ does little damage. Marble-sized hail at ¾” can cause threshold damage to a roof, and golf-ball- and softball-sized hail can cause severe damage to roofs and homes.

Fortunately, most hail-related damage is minor, resulting in only cosmetic damage that does not affect the life of roof shingles. However, if you are one of the minority that experiences severe hail, realize that large hail can cause wood splitting, significant granule loss, and penetration and fracture of your shingles. In this case, your best option is to contact a roofing contractor for repairs or replacement of your roof.

Snow and Ice

Snow and ice dams can cause havoc with your roof in the winter months, but homeowners can do a few things to help prevent problems from occurring. First of all, make sure that your attic stays cold. You want heat to stay in your home, not leak up into the attic. If you’re losing heat through your attic, then your attic will warm up, causing the roof to warm up, which melts the snow too quickly. This quick melt can form dangerous ice, which can in turn clog up your gutters, damage your roof and create heavy icicles.

Another preventive measure is to buy a roof rake to regularly clear the snow from you roof so that you don’t have more than a foot of snow on your roof. Rake carefully, being careful not to touch or damage the shingles. Snow is extremely heavy, so you want to be sure it is not excessively building up on your roof.

Overall, once a storm has moved through your area, if you suspect that your roof has incurred storm damage, have an expert check for you. Be especially careful about trying to walk on a roof that may be slick from water, ice or snow. It’s best to leave that dangerous activity to the experts.

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