Most homeowners think “sun” as soon as summer arrives. And while it’s true that summer heat is something to plan for, there’s another area to consider as you prepare your home for warm weather — summer storms. While you might think of stormy weather as a part of winter, summer storms happen too. They can develop quickly and unexpectedly and do significant damage to roofs in Minnesota.
The good news is, there are ways to protect your home before and after summer storms blow through. These 7 steps can help you prevent roof damage before bad weather and ensure your roof stays in good condition after the storm has passed.
Preventative Steps to Take Before Summer Storms Arrive
1. Tree Limbs
Of course, we love all the beautiful trees next to our home. But high winds produced by summer storms can play havoc with those beloved shade producers.
What to do: Trim the branches.
If you have dead branches or even live ones that touch the roof of your home, you’ll want to pull or cut them down before they cause serious roof damage. Dead or weak branches can come down suddenly during or after a summer storm, and any vehicles, pets, or humans near them can be damaged or injured.
Additionally, branches that touch roofs scrape back and forth during even the mildest storms and cause surprisingly unexpected roof damage.
2. Gutters and Drains
We don’t think about gutters and drains much until we need them to do their job. But when they’re properly installed and free of debris, they’ll keep your home’s roof from taking on too much water. Instead, they’re sending all that water safely away from your home during a violent summer rain storm.
What to do: Clear the gutters and drains.
If leaves and dirt are clogging gutters and drains, the rainwater has no place to go and will remain on your roof too long. Not much can cause more roof damage — and potential leaks — than ponding water on a roof during and after a summer storm.
The expansion and contraction of skylights and domes due to heat and water throughout the year can cause them to crack, which leads to leaks and other roof damage. Also, depending on how old your skylights are, they can also be affecting your energy consumption.
What to do: Check your skylights.
It may mean climbing a ladder to reach them, but the preventative upside of inspecting skylights before a summer storm hits is completely worth it. Check skylight material for expanding cracks, and also do a simple heat transfer test. Put the back of your hand about an inch away from the skylight. If it’s colder or warmer than the rest of your home, then you may want to consider replacing it.
4. Loose Property
Wind from a summer storm can be extremely powerful. Any loose property around your home that gets in its way better be secured, or else it will be at the mercy of those violent winds.
What to do: Tie down or store loose items when not in use.
Remember, loose objects can be lifted into the air and come in contact with your roof, causing lost shingles, cracks and other issues. A lot of summer storm damage to roofs and the rest of your home can be avoided if you properly store or fasten down equipment, toys, or anything else on your property before summer storms occur.
How to Spot Roof Damage After a Storm Hits
1. Hail Damage
Storm damage to your roof, when caused by hail, isn’t always easy to spot from the ground. But an immediate inspection of your roof after a heavy summer hail storm can prevent a whole host of additional summer storm damage later on.
What to look for: Dented and cracked shingles
Climb on your roof (with proper precautions), or hire a roofing contractor to do the inspection. If hail damage has occurred, you’ll notice visible, random patterns of indentations, depressions, and fractures. Also siding, chimney caps, and skylight material can show similar signs. The important thing is to check for and repair any damage immediately after a hail storm so that you don’t end up with a leaky roof.
2. Wind Damage
Trees, power lines or poles, as well as other debris, can end up on the roof of your home. If not attended to right away, this debris can cause serious roof damage, not to mention structural damage to the house.
What to do: Remove debris — safely.
Safety is always an important thing to remember when discovering and addressing large objects that have landed on your roof. If the object is clearly bigger than you can handle yourself, hiring a professional to take care of it may be the best answer. Wind damage also can be seen in loose or missing shingles or gutters, which need to be replaced.
3. Water Damage
Water damage from a summer storm is trickier to detect than other forms of storm damage. But it’s important to spot water damage quickly to prevent worse problems.
What to do: A thorough inspection for leaks and moisture damage
Check every ceiling within your home for spots of yellow, copper or brown discoloration. If your interior walls show cracking, peeling or bubbling in the paint or wallpaper, it’s a sign that roof water damage may have occurred.
In attics, basements and crawlspaces, musty smells that weren’t there before can develop within 48 hours of a heavy summer rain storm. If you don’t address water damage swiftly, you can expect complications such as wood rot and unhealthy mold growth.
Protect Your Investment in Your Home
Your Minnesota home plays a large role in helping you enjoy a fulfilling lifestyle. So it pays to invest in your home, inside and outside, and ensure it retains its value. When you’re ready for roof maintenance or other home repairs or renovations, contact our trusted team for a consultation — and start the process of enjoying your home with peace of mind.