A severe storm can wreak havoc on your home, and your roof is frequently the first line of defense against the elements. Wind, rain, hail, and falling debris can all cause significant damage to your roof, resulting in leaks and potential structural issues. Knowing what to do in such situations can make a significant difference in preventing further damage and ensuring the safety of your home and family. In this blog, we’ll go over what to do if you have a roof emergency due to a storm.
1. Make Safety a Top Priority
Prioritize safety for yourself and your family before rushing to repair roof damage. Storms can create hazardous conditions, and hidden dangers may exist:
- Stay Indoors: If the storm is still raging or there is a risk of falling debris, stay inside and away from windows. No roof inspections or repairs should be attempted until it is safe to do so.
- Turn Off Utilities: In severe cases with significant damage, it’s a good idea to turn off utilities like gas and electricity to reduce the risk of electrical fires or gas leaks.
- Determine Structural Integrity: If you suspect that your roof has been severely damaged, avoid entering the affected areas of your home. Because structural damage can cause a building to collapse, proceed with caution.
2. Photograph the Damage
Document the damage for insurance purposes once it is safe to do so. Take detailed photographs and videos of the affected areas, both inside and outside your home. When filing an insurance claim, this documentation will be required.
- Interior Damage: Look for signs of water leaks or damage on the ceilings, walls, and floors. Photograph any visible water stains, dampness, or pooling water indoors.
- Exterior Damage: From the ground, inspect your roof for visible damage such as missing or damaged shingles, dented gutters, or fallen tree branches.
- Personal Property: Document any personal belongings that have been damaged as a result of roof leaks. Furniture, electronics, and valuables are examples of such items.
3. Mitigation and Temporary Tarping
If you notice a leak or significant damage to your roof, you must act quickly to prevent further water intrusion and damage to your home’s interior. The following are the steps to take for temporary tarping and mitigation:
- Gather your materials: A tarp, nails or screws, a hammer or drill, and some boards or furring strips are required.
- Safety Gear: Wear appropriate safety equipment, such as gloves and non-slip footwear.
- Locate the Leak: If possible, identify the source of the leak from the inside. Mark the area so that it can be identified from the outside.
- Tarp Positioning: If safe, carefully climb onto the roof and position the tarp over the damaged area. Extend it far beyond the damaged area to ensure complete coverage.
- Secure the Tarp: Nail or screw the tarp to the roof, making sure it’s securely fastened. If you have furring strips or boards, use them to securely anchor the tarp.
- Examine the Roof for Additional Damage: While on the roof, look for any additional damage or loose materials that could pose a hazard. As needed, secure or remove them.
- Interior Protection: Place buckets or containers inside your home to catch any water that is still dripping from the leak. This will help to keep your ceilings and floors in good condition.
4. Make Contact with Your Insurance Company
Contact your homeowner’s insurance company as soon as possible to report the storm damage. Provide them with all of your documentation, including photos and videos of the damage. They will walk you through the claims process and may send an adjuster to personally assess the damage.
It is critical that you follow the insurance company’s instructions and keep a record of all communication regarding your claim. Be ready to provide any additional information or documentation that they may require.
5. Temporary Repairs vs. Professional Assistance
In some cases, the damage is minor and repairable with temporary measures. However, it’s critical to understand your DIY capabilities and when to seek professional assistance:
- Minor Damage: If the damage is limited to a few missing shingles or minor leaks, you may be able to make temporary repairs if you have the necessary skills and equipment. Always prioritize safety and consider the dangers of working on a slick, damaged roof.
- Major Damage: If your roof has sustained significant damage, such as a large section of missing shingles or structural issues, it’s best to hire a professional for roof repair Cleveland to handle the repairs. Attempting major repairs without the necessary expertise and equipment can be dangerous and may exacerbate the situation.
- Safety First: Regardless of the extent of the damage, never put your safety at risk by attempting repairs. If you have any doubts or concerns, it is best to seek professional assistance.
6. Future Preventive Measures
Once the storm has passed and your roof emergency has been resolved, take the following preventative measures:
- Regular Inspections: Schedule regular roof inspections to identify and address any problems before they become emergencies. Professional inspections can aid in the detection of hidden issues.
- Trim Trees: If you have trees near your house, trim any branches that could fall on your roof during a storm.
- Upgrade Roofing Materials: If your current roof is aging or damaged, consider upgrading to more durable and storm-resistant roofing materials.
- Maintain Gutters: Keep your gutters clean and in good condition to ensure proper drainage and to prevent water from backing up onto your roof.
- Secure Loose Items: Secure loose items in your yard, such as outdoor furniture and debris, before a storm to keep them from becoming projectiles in high winds.
- Emergency Kit: Prepare an emergency kit with items such as a flashlight, first-aid supplies, and contact information for emergency services and your insurance company.
A roof emergency caused by a storm can be stressful, but taking the proper precautions can help you protect your home and minimize damage. Prioritizing safety, documenting the damage, and acting quickly to prevent further water intrusion are all critical. Contacting your insurance company and, if necessary, seeking professional repair assistance are critical steps in the recovery process. Preventative measures can also help reduce the likelihood of future roof emergencies caused by severe weather events. Remember that safety should always be your top priority, and it’s fine to seek professional help when necessary to ensure the safety of your home and the well-being of your family. For more guidance on handling roof emergencies and repair services, view the FairWeather Roofing Cleveland’s website.