Tree that has fallen on top of a house.

Safeguard Your Roof From Spring Storms

May 22, 2017

Nothing puts you on edge like a big storm. Whether it’s pounding rain or crashing thunder that knocks out the power for days, nasty weather can have you questioning your family’s fundamental security—and the steadfastness of the home that keeps you safe.

Missing shingles, roof leaks and fallen tree branches can present hazards that make you and your family more susceptible to bad weather—and cost thousands of dollars to repair. Not all storm damage is avoidable, of course, but you can shore up a lot of vulnerabilities just by keeping a close watch over your roof maintenance.

Give Your Gutters a Good Flush

Your home’s gutters actually serve a purpose, and believe it or not, that function is not just to add to your home maintenance checklist. Your drainage system carries water and debris away from your roof and back onto the ground, where it belongs. But when your gutters are clogged, water backs up onto your roof and siding. This speeds up leaks and puts you at risk of more subtle problems, such as mold and roof rot. To keep your home in the clear, make sure to get up on the ladder at least twice a year—once in the fall, and once in the spring.

Don’t Take Your Time Fixing Missing Shingles

I don’t need to tell you that missing shingles are a problem. If you’re a homeowner, you probably already know that a broken or absent shingle will set you up for leaks. But unless you have water dripping onto your kitchen table, it’s one of those issues that’s easy to ignore. However, you may not be as leak-free as you think. Water infiltration can occur in attics or inside walls—places where you may not see it until you have a full-blown mold infestation on your hands. Do yourself a favor and hammer out replacement shingles sooner, rather than later. It could save you a lot of trouble next time it rains.

Undergo Regular Roofing Inspections

Speaking of missing shingles, did you know you should have your roof inspected every three to five years? Unless you’re fond of ladders, you probably don’t get up on your roof all that often. And that can make it hard to see issues that aren’t visible from the ground. But a qualified inspector can seek out tiny, nearly-invisible problems—ike pinhole leaks—which can cost you a lot if they’re not caught early on. Some roofing contractors even offer inspection services for free, so there’s no financial incentive to skip them—especially when a small repair now can save you the cost of a new roofing installation in a year or two.

Trim Back Nearby Branches

The old oak tree in the yard: a symbol of your deep familial roots and community connections. But when the winds blow, the branches may break, and when the bough breaks, your roof’s integrity is not far behind. Branches carried at high wind speeds can slam into your roof, causing damages untold. Protect your roof by hiring an arborist—a good tree guy will trim overhanging branches and inspect for rotting tree trunks that could be knocked over by one bad blow. A little preparation may not reel in every little fear, but you’ll definitely rest easier the next time it storms.

Thank you to Lauren Pezzullo and West Bend Mutual Insurance for the tips.