When a disaster strikes staying safe is always the first priority. Once the storm passes, however, assessing the damage to your home and property is an important part of the recovery process. There are many things to consider when determining the extent of the damage to your home. Here are some tips to help you through the process.
Examine Your Home Immediately
It is important to check your home as soon as it is safe to do so. Severe tropical storms, high winds, and heavy rain can cause damage to your roof and the rest of your home. Some types of damage can lead to bigger problems such as moisture entering the home and causing secondary damages. Identifying problem areas sooner means you can take steps to help minimize additional tropical storm damage.
Mold and mildew growth can happen in just a few days following a storm. Finding leaks and taking care of damaged roofing, underlayment, carpeting, walls, and baseboards will help prevent mold from growing and potentially spreading to other areas of the home. Clean up any standing water as soon as you find it and use tarps and buckets to prevent water from spreading to other areas of the home.
Perform a Visual Scan
Some problems will be easy to spot but others may not be so obvious. Start at the top of the house and work your way down. Make sure you’re standing far enough back – at least 25 feet – so you can see the very top of the roof. Use binoculars if your roof is very steep or high. As you work your way down the home, step closer so you can inspect more carefully.
Use caution on ladders and avoid climbing on your roof if you are unsure of its safety. You may also find it beneficial to inspect your home at different times of the day. As the sun rises and sets, direct lighting and shadows can provide different amounts of visibility. For example, abrasion and impacts from wind and hail damage can be easier to spot in the early evenings as shadows cause them to stand out.
What to Look For
There are many places on your home that can acquire damaged from a tropical storm’s wind and hail damage. When hail damage occurs, it removes the roofs granules and exposes the asphalt to ultraviolet light which will eventually lead to deterioration. Some things to look for include:
- Shingles and Roofing. Be sure to look carefully anywhere that different areas of the roof intersect, chimneys and along the roofs edge as these are the most susceptible areas for damage. Look for any missing, torn, or loose pieces, bent or damaged metal, or any other signs of damage.
- Gutters and Downspouts. Make sure that all your gutters are still securely attached to the home and that the downspouts have not come loose. Loose gutters will eventually detach completely and can cause serious damage or injury.
- Windows. A broken window may be obvious, but cracked windows are easier to miss. Inspect each window to make sure all of the glass is intact. High winds and hail can also damage the frame and casing surrounding windows and doors.
- Trim and Shutters. Check to make sure everything is still in place. Some loose pieces can simply be reattached while others may require more extensive repairs.
- Around the Perimeter. After you’ve inspected your home for any damage, walk the perimeter of your property. Look for damage to fences, mailboxes, decks, and patios. Also, make sure that there aren’t any large trees that have sustained damage.
Don’t Forget the Attic
Your attic can show signs of leaks and other signs of damage before they are visible from the outside or from other areas inside the home. Along with obvious signs of damage such as wet areas or standing water, look for stained wood, flaking paint or plaster, musty odors, or any other discolorations. Also check ceilings and exterior walls throughout the home for discoloration, peeling paint and wallpaper, or any visible moisture.
What to Do Next
If you have found wind and hail damage that you are unable to repair yourself, or if you are not confident that your home is undamaged, the next step is to contact a qualified contractor in your area. A licensed general contractor is usually your best bet as they will be able to handle all the damaged areas of your home, from fencing to roofing, without having to hire individual contractors for each job. At AJ Wells we are both certified roofing contractors and licensed general contractors.
Professional contractors have the right tools and experience to find wind and hail damage caused by storms to your home. They may also find things that you have overlooked such as hail damage or structural damage. Once a general contractor has completed a thorough inspection of your roof and the rest of your home, they will document all the damage, identify any areas where potential damage is still possible, and provide estimates of the materials and cost to repair your home.
Working With Your Insurance
A licensed general contractor will also have experience working with insurance companies and navigating the process of claims and adjustments. Working with insurance companies can be frustrating and require a lot of paperwork and documentation of roof damage and repairs. Policies can vary from home to home and understanding the processes and fine print is something that contractors do best. They will be your advocate when working with the insurance company to make sure you receive the maximum benefits from your policy.
AJ Wells Can Help
If your home has been through a severe storm such as a hurricane or tropical storm, or even a thunderstorm with high winds, don’t take chances and assume that everything is fine because you don’t see any obvious signs of damage. Schedule an inspection with our licensed contractors who are experienced with storm-damaged homes. They will not only make sure that your home is safe, they will also answer all your questions and concerns so you can feel confident that you’re making the best decisions for your home and for your family.