The effects of a snowstorm on your property can be devastating, with damage ranging from broken shingles through to significant weaknesses being created around the structure of a roof. Other problems can result from snow leaking into and damaging gutters, or dripping down and damaging lower roofs, as well as from water leaking into your home. When dealing with the impact of heavy snow on your home, which can also include hail, wind, and rain damage, you need to take some basic steps to cover problems, before getting specialist help to deal with more serious issues.
1 - Clear Off Snow
The first thing you need to do after a snowstorm, once it’s safe enough to get up onto your roof using a ladder, is to clear off the debris and check the extent of the damage that a storm’s caused. You’ll need to particularly look at areas where large amounts of snow have clumped together, and where it appears that breakages have occurred with shingles or tiles. In all cases, make sure that take as much precaution as possible, using ladders and not venturing up to your roof until you’re sure there’s no risk of further snow or slipping. Wear thick soled, insulated boots, and have someone with you at all times if possible. When removing snow, avoid using metal devices, as these can cause further cracks and damage to roofing materials; plastic shovels are best for clearing away debris. Moreover, ensure that you check all gutters, vent stacks, and skylights for snow, as this can refreeze if built up in small spaces, and can cause further problems.
2 - Inspect Roofs for Missing or Broken Materials
Check your roof for any broken materials or features that may have been dislodged or completely broken away by heavy snow; this might include tiles and shingles, as well as parts of your roof’s flashing, and sections of gutter. Are these still attached to your roof, or have they been completely blown away? You’ll also need to inspect different parts of your roof for breakage points, and examples of where insulation membranes may have been compromised. It’s best to get a professional roofing company in for a full inspection after a heavy storm.
3 - Check for Water Leaks
A snowstorm can cause water leaks into your home, which can be caused by flashing becoming loose or broken, and by shingles breaking away and exposing the lining of your roof; leaks can typically be checked by getting into your attic and shining a light through it to see if any water is passing through. If it is, make sure you mark spots for your insurance claim, and cover or remove items as soon as possible with plastic; covering the floor of an attic with plastic will prevent further leaks into other rooms. Brown and yellow stains appearing on the ceiling of rooms will indicate where water is leaking between floors.
4 - Hail Damage
One part of a snow storm, hail damage can occur at the beginning of a storm, and may not be immediately noticeable until after you’ve cleared away the bulk of the snow that’s fallen. Even small amounts of hail, when heavy enough, can break skylights, while leaving cracks in the outer layer of shingles; hail damage can be particularly problematic for older roofs, and can be difficult to deal with in terms of your insurance. Try to document damage, and either repair or remove broken shingles and tiles, while replacing glass and inspecting your guttering for further issues.
5 - Repair Speeds and Insurance
Depending on how strong a storm has been, you should try to carry out any repairs as soon as possible if you can; for more serious problems, such as roof collapses or guttering being pulled away from your roof, it’s best to take as many photographs as possible, and to make an insurance claim. Specialist roofing companies can help you with this process, from providing an initial assessment of damage and repairs, through to making sure that your paperwork is properly filed and you receive the right level of compensation for the damage that a storm’s caused to your property.
Author Bio: Scott Anderson currently works with a leading roofing company that provides Roofers in Cincinnati. If your roof has recently been damaged or you'd like a new one please visit Roofing Annex for assistance.