Looking for Potential Problems

Shingles are designed to protect against the weather, but the wind, rain and hail that often accompany a storm can cause damage. It’s also important to remember that not all storm damage is obvious and that hidden damage can cause problems weeks or even months after a storm. To be sure you don’t have hidden damage, have your roof inspected by a contractor you can trust to provide an honest assessment.

How to Spot Roof Damage After Strong Winds

Even when a storm produces no rain or hail, your roof can still sustain damage. Strong winds can create stress points on a roof that, over time, can weaken and become compromised. While roofs are designed to resist typical wind loads, they can be incrementally damaged over the years by high winds and debris carried by the wind. Replacing missing shingles and fixing the initial roof damage quickly is important to prevent subsequent water damage and high fuel costs that will inevitably result from a roof system that is not working as it should.


The effect of wind moving over a roof is not uniform. Areas like the corners and perimeter of the roof can be susceptible to higher wind pressures, while the center of the roof might have lower stresses. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA), most wind damage to a roof starts on the edge. Anywhere the roofing material is even a little bit loose, the wind can get below it and push it up, thus giving the wind more to grab onto next time and creating a chain peeling effect. This type of wind damage can start very small, but continue to grow over time through repeated exposure to wind.
Once a whole corner of insulation is exposed, rain can get in and start to cause leaks and water damage. Homeowners can avoid this type of wind damage by making sure materials on the edge and corners of their roof are strong enough and in good condition to withstand high winds.

Flying Debris and Tree Damage

Significant wind events also move debris which can make its way onto your roof. Shards of glass, tree branches, and other debris can sometimes be more damaging than the wind itself. When inspecting the roof after a wind event, investigate what might have blown onto or across the roof. Also, it’s a good idea to check your gutters and downspouts as debris can easily clog them and create other headaches down the road. Keep trees trimmed and away from your roof. Tree branches touching a roof will scratch and gouge roofing materials when the branches are blown by the wind. Falling branches from overhanging trees can damage, or even puncture, shingles and roof materials.


If you have roof damage caused by wind and/or flying debris, it’s important to get it fixed immediately. The longer you wait, the more damage will occur. Roof replacement and roof repair costs a lot less when you don’t have to add in the other costs of repairing leaks and water damage.


Once hail hits the roof, the protective granules are knocked off at the point of strike, and these damaged areas are the sources of roof leaks in the future, if the roof is not fixed within a few years. The roof does not leak immediately. It often takes years. It makes sense to check your roof and get in line for a roof replacement covered by your insurance company.


When analyzing a roof for hail damage, it is important to differentiate between damage caused by hail and damage caused by natural weathering. Additionally, manufacturing defects, damage during construction and/or damage occurring during transportation can often look much like hail damage.

Damage to asphalt shingles from hailstones is typically one of two types:
  • Rupturing of the reinforcing mat
  • Loss of Granules that expose the underlying bitumen

Rupturing of the reinforcing mat represents a potential loss in the shingles water-shedding ability in that a pl of the roof covering is removed by the rupture. The loss in water-shedding ability increases the potential for water to the reach of the roof fasteners, causing corrosion or the butted joints in the sheathing, permitting water to enter the interior of the building.

The loss of granules represents the potential for a reduction in the expected service life of the shingle.

A wood roof that has been impacted by hailstones is typically easily recognized. As the hailstones impact the surface, impact marks where gray-colored oxidation and organic surface growths have been removed, are recognizable new features in the roof’s appearance. However, impacts to wood roofs that do not split or puncture the wood are not considered to cause damage. Studies have shown that wood shingles and shakes that are impacted by a hailstone and do not split immediately upon impact are not print to future splitting.

After a hailstorm, check the trees, shrubs, and plants around your home. If they are stripped of foliage, there is a possibility your roof is damaged. Also, if patio furniture, screens or roof vents are dented, there may be roof damage.

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