1. Clear all debris from your roof.

Whether it’s in the form of tree branches, leaves, sand, or trash that gets kicked up, debris on your roof after a hurricane should be cleared as soon as possible. We get it — it feels nice to relax at home for a bit after the storm has passed. However, ignoring this crucial first step in the process can lead to much more expensive roof damage down the road. Debris on your roof can hide large patches of damage from view, and it can trap moisture that breeds mold and mildew.

Before you can assess the damage done to your roof during the storm, you need a clear view of all of your roofing materials like shingles, flashing, gutters, leaf guards, and soffits. If you’re the slightest bit uncomfortable with being on your roof, hire professionals to come in and clear out tree branches and other debris. If you know all of the safety procedures of walking on your roof, you can use your hands or a blower to get rid of the debris yourself.

Take note — if your roofing is even a tiny bit wet, it could become a dangerous slick surface that can trip you up and lead to disaster. Instead of saving money and putting yourself at risk, spend a little extra for the trained professionals to get the job done right.

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2. Look around for popped nails.

If you have an asphalt shingle roof, there’s a very good chance that even a Category 3 hurricane could lift some nails out of your roof. If your roof is over a decade old, the adhesives that hold the nails in place could be aging rapidly — and a hurricane could be just enough to pull nails out partially or completely.

Leave it to your local roofing contractor to identify popped nails on your roof itself — it’s your job to look for nails in your gutters, on your lawn, in your driveway, in flower beds, and basically anywhere else at ground level. (We’d check your hot tub, just in case.) Nails aren’t just a hazard for your feet — they can tear up the blades of your lawnmower or puncture the tires of your car.

While wearing durable, thick-soled shoes, take a lap around your home and look for nails. If you there aren’t too many nails, you can pick them up with your gloved hands — but if you notice tons of nails spread around your property, hardware stores often carry magnetic “brooms” that will pick up nails as you roll the broom across your yard. While you’re picking up nails, you can also take the time to clear other debris off of your lawn that has been thrown around in the hurricane. It doesn’t matter how you get it done, but it’s a big safety step to take care of after the storm passes.

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3. Check your attic.

While you can certainly smell roof trouble when you have pots and pans scattered across your living room floor, the first signs of post-hurricane roofing damage are found in your attic. This is the first place where water and moisture will enter into your home after a storm, so it’s important to check here first (and stop any moving water from travelling into your home interior) before you check anywhere else.

If you’re checking your attic days after a hurricane, you might notice dripping water, soaked insulation, pooling water, or high levels of humidity. These are telltale signs of roof damage. Using the old pot trick to catch dripping water and mopping up pools of water will certainly clean things up, but it won’t solve the underlying issue. Call your roof repair experts to take care of the underlying issues with your roof.

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4. Inspect your lighting fixtures and skylights.

Your lighting fixtures — especially those connected to exhaust fans — can be a huge hazard to your entire home if they aren’t inspected after a big storm. When roof flashings (the bits of roofing material surrounding vents and skylights that protrude from your roof) are damaged during a hurricane, they let water seep into these vents and down toward the electrical wiring of your light fixtures, which can lead to:

  • Mold intrusion and rot
  • Electrocution

  • Collapsing ceilings
  • Electrical fires

Once the storm has come and gone, checking your light fixtures and vents should be near the top of your to-do list. If you see water stains or notice even the slightest bit of moisture around pendants, ceiling fans, skylights, or bathroom vents, call your roofer and your electrician to make sure your home is safe and secure.

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5. Check your fireplace.

Your chimney is probably the largest vent that sticks up out of your roof — and that means it is the most prone to leaks. Much like a skylight or bathroom vent, broken or deteriorated flashings can let water seep down into your chimney, which can lead to mold intrusion, drywall damage, insulation damage, and even structural damage around your chimney and fireplace.

If you notice water stains around the edge of your fireplace, water leaking into your fireplace when the flue is closed, or wet shingles around the outside of your chimney, call a roofer immediately to take care of the issue.

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6. Look for leaks elsewhere.

The source of a leak on your roof is usually far away from where a leak deposits in your home. That’s just the way it works. For example, a leak at the very top of your roof will let water in, but that water might move laterally down the face of your roof and create water stains on the insides of your exterior walls. A breach of your gutter systems might let water in at the top edge of your exterior wall, but you might see water damage near the bottom of the wall or on your floor. Keep this idea in mind as you search for dampness and leaks around other, less noticeable areas of your home.

If you have damp walls or floors, you might have more problems than just roofing problems. Water within your walls can lead to widespread black mold growth and the rotting of wood beams that hold your home together. This is why we use the “look and feel” approach when checking for water damage: look at the wall with a flashlight to detect stains, and feel the wall to see if there’s any sort of moisture buildup or wetness.

The earlier you check for moisture and water damage, the quicker and easier it will be to fix. Take good notes of your findings, and give them to your roofing contractor or a general contractor if you’re in need of repairs.

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7. Inspect gutters and leaf guards.

Your gutters can take a beating during a hurricane. With so much water and debris moving around, it can be difficult for your gutters to trap and guide water away from your home. Add in the fact that large amounts of water can put a ton of pressure on the joints of your gutters, and you have a recipe for gutter damage.

After a hurricane, hiring a gutter company is the easiest way to have your gutters inspected and repaired. However, there’s nothing wrong with cleaning and inspecting gutters yourself if you understand ladder safety and know what gutter damage looks like. Once you’re up on your ladder, you should be looking for clogs (especially at gutter intersections), gutter cracks, loosened or missing fasteners, or missing sections of gutters. Pooling water can also cause gutter holes over time so keep an eye for these — or run a low-flow garden hose through your gutter system to find holes quickly.

While cleaning and inspecting your gutters is relatively easy, fixing them is a completely different matter. We recommend calling the gutter professionals so you can avoid more expensive gutter repairs in the future.

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8. Look for bits of shingles or missing shingles.

When you were cleaning your gutters, you might have noticed bits of asphalt shingles clogging up drain areas or depositing itself on your lawn at the end of your downspouts. This is an incredibly common occurrence after hurricanes and other large storms, but it’s not a good sign for your roof. Widespread shingle deterioration is a common sign of premature shingle aging; in short, your roof is getting old and withering away in front of your eyes. If you notice large amounts of shingle depositing after a big storm or a small one, it’s probably time to get a roof inspection and an estimate on a roof replacement.

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9. Get a professional roof inspection.

Ultimately, most roof damage can only be detected by a roofing contractor. That’s why it’s important to schedule an inspection soon after you’ve cleaned, cleared, and checked damage-prone areas of the home yourself. Roof inspectors will use multiple forms of technology to identify hidden damage, identify the source and path of water leaking into your home, and provide advice on whether roof repair or roof replacement is right for your home. Avoiding an inspection and “hoping for the best” might save you money at first, but it will inevitably lead to expensive, headache-inducing roof damage down the road.

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10. Keep an eye on your ceilings.

Some water leaks are extremely difficult to find. In some cases, it can take weeks or even a month for a leak to reveal itself. That’s why it’s important to keep an eye on your ceilings for several weeks after the storm has passed and the roofing contractors have performed repairs. You never know when roof leaks will crop up again, and it’s completely reasonable for a roofer to miss a small area of damage every now and then.

In the weeks after a hurricane, you might notice water stains or dripping on the insides of your exterior walls, circular water stains on your ceiling, a mold or mildew smell, or even more pooling around your lighting fixtures. Keep an eye for these problems well after the roofers have left, as this will help you avoid more expensive roofing problems later on down the line.

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11. Consider a metal roof.

Let’s face it — a hurricane in East Florida is about as common as a fork in a restaurant. Do you really want to deal with an asphalt shingle roof that spits up nails, gets peeled apart by the wind, sheds bits of asphalt into your gutters, and opens up your home to water damage every year? Replacing a roof is expensive — but it’s even more expensive when you have to keep doing it again and again and again.

An asphalt shingle roof is usually cheaper than a metal roof — and as your parents always say, “you get what you pay for.” Asphalt shingles do not have the durability, wind resistance, impact resistance, leak resistance, or overall lifespan of a metal roof. Plus, asphalt shingle roofs make sure you deal with roofing contractors, insurance companies, electricians, and gutter cleaners on an annual or biennial basis.

With a metal roof, you can essentially set it and forget it, even when storm season rolls around. Most metal roofs can handle Category 4 hurricane winds with ease, push away large amounts of water and moisture, avoid damage from tree branches and debris, and retain their color for 50 years or more with routine repairs and maintenance. That’s two or three times the lifespan of an asphalt roof without any of the headaches.

Fortunately, a metal roof doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg. Hippo Roofing’s “Metal Roof Same Price as Shingles®” offer allows Brevard County homeowners to get durable metal roofs that protect their homes from rainstorms, tropical storms, hurricanes, and everything in between. Starting as low as $99 per month, your metal roof could transform your entire home. Contact us to get a free estimate today.