How to Check Your Home for Storm Damage
How to Check Your Home for Storm Damage
Inclement weather can cause extensive damage to your home and often comes on unexpectedly. Unfortunately, there’s no accurate way of identifying what type of property damage a storm can bring, but conducting a thorough check after every storm is a great way to stay proactive and address any damage early on. Even if you don’t suspect a recent storm has caused any damage, it’s encouraged to do a thorough check of your roof from the ground, windows and doors, exterior, and driveways or walkways as you may reveal a hidden problem that might not have otherwise been seen.
Your home is protected from storms by your roofing structure, meaning it’s the prime target during inclement weather. After any significant storm, it’s encouraged to contact a professional to thoroughly check your roof and attic or crawlspace for any signs of damage. There are a few ways you can check without getting on the roof yourself. When doing so, you should be looking for the following:
- Holes in the roof
- Raised or missing shingles
- Lodged debris
- Split seams
After checking the exterior portions of your roof, you should also have a professional inspect your attic or crawlspace to ensure there aren’t any water leaks or areas where sunlight comes through. Doing so will allow you to fix any issues quickly before they turn into a bigger problem.
Windows and Doors
The windows and doors on your house are fragile and susceptible to storm damage. After a storm, you should examine all windows and doors from both sides. Check for any cracks, holes, broken panes, and frame damage. Open and close windows and doors to check for sticking or further frame damage. If you have shutters, awnings, window caps, or cladding, these should also be checked. Many of these home features are the first signs a homeowner can identify hail damage.
A home’s siding is another area that takes a lot of force during storms. While many of the materials used for sidings, such as stucco or brick, are durable, there are instances where they can become damaged. It’s encouraged to check at various points in the day as the changes in lighting may make a difference. Be aware of any discoloration, as this can be another sign of possible storm damage.
- Peeling paint
- Loose material
If you suspect hail damage may be an issue but are unsure of how to identify it, chalk can be used to clarify. Rub chalk over any dents; hail damage will appear as a circle. Damage to stucco siding can be extremely detrimental to your home if it’s not caught soon enough. If you find any holes or splitting, it’s encouraged to contact a professional to prevent further damage under the surface.
A storm that produces hail can cause severe damage to homes and other valuable property. Hail can damage your home in many ways, whether it chips paint from your siding or dents your gutters. After a hailstorm, it’s essential to use a hail damage inspection checklist to identify any dents, scrapes, cracks, or further damage to your property.
High winds during a storm can damage your home’s exterior in multiple ways. The winds can carry projectiles at high speeds causing them to dent or ding your home, and shingles can be lifted or broken. After high winds, you should check for signs of the previously mentioned as well as siding being pulled away and dismounted gutters or downspouts.
If a storm knocks down any trees or limbs on your property, it can lead to substantial damage. Conduct a regular survey of your property to determine if there are any trees you should be particularly worried about. Proper trimming and pruning will help prevent damage from trees or limbs in a storm. If you end up with a fallen tree or limb, you’re required to remove the debris, but your insurance will most likely cover any damage to your home.
Driveways and Walkways
While your home is the first worry after a storm, it’s encouraged to inspect other portions of your property. Driveways and walkways can become damaged in a storm if there’s hail or high winds knock down trees or limbs. After a storm, walk around your driveway and walkways leading up to your home to look for chipped, cracked, and split concrete or asphalt. If these problems aren’t caught early, it can lead to costly repairs or a total replacement in the future.
Addressing Storm Damage
While it may be tempting to start repairs shortly after identifying any damage to your home, it’s encouraged to take your time, be incredibly thorough, and follow the guidelines below for reporting and scheduling any construction requirements:
- Assess and document damage: After identifying all areas of damage during your walk around, take photos and measurements of all damage so it’s properly documented and easily accessible. Keep these items in a notebook or binder for organization and safekeeping.
- Find contractors: Many insurance companies will have a list of reputable contractors with storm damage experience. Review this list and get suggestions from friends and family to begin repairing your home after a storm. The contractor you select for repairs will be by your side through the inspection and claims process with your insurance company to ensure all issues are addressed and resolved appropriately.
- Contact insurance company: Before making any repairs yourself or through a professional, contact your insurance company to report any damage and start a claim. In most cases, an adjuster will visit your property to assess the damage, discuss details with your contractor, and explain next steps.
Create a Storm Damage Checklist
Owning a home already comes with a substantial investment, and checking for any immediate damage after a storm will save you time and money. Your home is made to keep you and other household members safe year-round, and routine maintenance and fixes will prolong your property’s life. Create a storm damage checklist that you can easily access after each storm, so you remember to check all areas and are less likely to miss anything. If you’re unsure of where to start, contact a professional to help you learn how to manage your property check after a storm.