How to Check for Storm Damage
Learn where to look – and what to look for – when it comes to your home and yard after a major storm hits.
Even if you’ve taken all the necessary precautions to protect your home from severe weather, you still could end up dealing with some storm cleanup in and around your home. Additionally, some of the storm damage may go undetected because it’s not always easy to spot. And similar to roof damage, you may need an expert, such as a restoration contractor to help find the damage and make a professional assessment in order to recommend proper storm cleanup methods.
Common Types of Storm Damage
While some types of storm or water damage may not be noticed without a thorough inspection by a professional storm cleanup company or restoration contractor; there are some telltale signs of storm damage that are usually caused by certain elements of a storm including hail, wind and heavy rain.
A hailstorm can result in costly storm cleanup for homeowners whether it drops hailstones the size of a softball or smaller pellet-sized hail. During a hailstorm you will most likely hear the hailstones hitting your roof and once the storm has passed, hail will appear as ice cubes or could even be in the form of white ice that looks like snowballs.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
While hail is not as common as wind and rain damage during major storms, it’s usually easy to detect because it leaves its “mark” in the form of dings and dents on cars, outdoor furniture, vinyl siding, roofing/shingles and other parts of your home and property. Storm damage from hail will usually appear in one (or all) of these areas:
- Roof damage – Examine all parts of your roof (shingles, flashing, gutters and downspouts) for dents and pay attention to missing granules on asphalt shingles (as well as cracked, broken or bruised shingles).
- Windowsills/window casings/siding – In addition to dents and dings, other signs of impact from hail include exposed surfaces or chipped paint/material (such as wood).
- Air conditioning unit – Since this appliance is generally kept outside, it’s susceptible to hail damage and may need to be completely replaced depending on the extent of the storm damage. Look for smashed or damaged fan blade and consider having a professional inspect your AC unit to determine if any coils or internal parts are significantly damaged.
Wind damage can result in fallen trees, roof damage and outdoor furniture that’s been knocked over or blown away. While you can put furniture and items back in their place, it’s best to hire professionals to deal with tree and stump removal since they are skilled in that area and have the proper equipment to cut down, grind and haul away trees.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
The most common signs of wind damage appear on the exterior of your home. This could include:
- Missing shingles, shutters or pieces of siding
- Cracks, chipping and splitting in siding, stucco, paint or wood
- Dings and dents on roofing, siding, door frames and windowsills/windowpanes
Other than flooding, water damage may not be as easy to detect because it can sometimes take several days or even weeks to notice, and it doesn’t always appear in ways you’d think it would. Flooding can lead to standing water which can cause contamination, bacteria/mold growth and severe water damage to your home’s structure and foundation.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR
Some common signs of interior or exterior damage include water spots or discoloration on ceilings, walls or surfaces, soggy and/or expanding wood, or leaks in the ceiling or roof. Even if you don’t see these telltale signs, you may notice a damp, musty odor which could mean you have water damage or mold.
Common Areas Affected by Storm Damage – Where to Look
It’s important to check both the interior and exterior parts of your home and property for signs of storm damage or flooding, as it will appear in various forms in different areas. While any part of your home and property can be affected, some areas may be more vulnerable than others.
- Foundation – Storm damage – mainly in the form of water damage/flooding – can impact a home’s foundation because water seepage can cause expansion and cracking which can severely compromise your home’s structure. Look for large cracks and fractures in your basement floor and walls (as well as leaking), check your crawlspace or observe the masonry/brickwork outside of your house.
- Ceilings/Walls – Water damage will appear in the form of water spots, discoloration or changes in texture (such as sogginess and expansion). Leaks in the ceiling could indicate storm damage from wind and heavy rain, especially if a tree has fallen on your house.
- Doors/Windows – Strong winds can blow out window panes (usually caused by flying debris) or knock down trees which can break through windows or doors. Exterior damage can include shattered glass, dents to windowsills/window casings, broken door frames, unhinged doors or significant cracking
- Roof – Storm damage to roofing will usually be pretty apparent. You’ll see broken, cracked or missing shingles, dented flashing and other roofing components or completely missing pieces of roofing components, such as eaves and overhangs.
- Siding – Splitting, cracking, chipping, and holes are all signs of storm damage. These types of damages are caused by both flying debris and strong winds and sometimes even from wind-driven hail.
- Yard/Trees – Fallen trees and flooded yards are often results of storm damage on your property. Strewn debris can also litter a yard after heavy winds and rain hit your area.
What to do if You Have Storm Damage
If you suspect you have significant storm or water damage, contact a water removal company (in the case of flooding) immediately, and then a restoration contractor for help with repairs. Tree services are also available to help with safely cutting down and removing any large toppled trees or branches and hauling away debris. You should also call your insurance company to report any damage so they can advise you on next steps.
The information and advice contained in this article is intended as a general guide for informational purposes only. It does not take into account your personal situation. While we at Resolve have significant experience and history operating in the home restoration industry and working closely with construction contractors, we are not licensed as a general or specialty contractor. We encourage you to consider the information we’ve provided but urge you not to rely upon it in place of appropriate professional advice from a licensed, experienced construction contractor.