Severe Weather, Roof Damage and the Danger of Carbon Monoxide

Most homeowners are not aware that improper storm damage roof repairs can not only lead to a leaky roof, but also to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.  When home ventilation systems are damaged by storms and other severe weather, it can create a deadly problem: carbon monoxide, a toxic gas that’s both odorless and colorless. Carbon monoxide, or CO, can become trapped inside of a home because of damaged venting systems, and can endanger everyone who lives inside.

Every year, hundreds of Americans die from CO poisoning. The chance of being exposed to CO rise exponentially in any homes that are damaged by storms, as well as those houses which were repaired incorrectly. The entire purpose of a ventilation system is designed to direct CO and any other dangerous gas away from any internal living area and expel them safely out of doors. Ventilation systems can fail unexpectedly when they’re damaged by winds or hail, clogged by debris or installed incorrectly.  In addition, ventilation systems can fail when they are improperly reinstalled during roof repairs.

Once severe weather strikes and passes by, you need to check any pipes or connections from any appliances or machines that use gas inside of your home, as well as any piping in the attic – these should be checked to make sure they didn’t disconnect during the storm. Never, ever try to patch up a broken or damaged pipe with any material like tape or glue – this can create a CO build up, which can kill without warning. Make sure that any hail damage roof repairs are completed by a licensed contractor, and install a CO detector in your home.

Posted on behalf of Ken Christie, CZE Roofing and Remodeling

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Does Your Roof Have Hail Damage?

If your asphalt shingle roof has been hit by hail, how can you tell whether your roof has suffered hail damage?  The answer to this question is that roof hail damage is not always obvious.  Large, golf ball sized hail will cause damage that is easy to see but smaller hail can cause damage to an asphalt shingle roof that is not as clearly evident.

First, It’s important to understand what hail damage to an asphalt shingle roof is.  For really large hail, damage includes bruised, cracked, split, and broken shingles.  This type of hail damage is easily apparent to even the most casual observer and can be seen from the ground.  There is no question that the roof will need to be replaced.

Smaller hail causes more subtle damage that is harder to see but may still require a roof replacement.  Asphalt shingles are covered with a layer of ceramic granules that give the roof color and texture, but most importantly these granules protect the asphalt from the harmful rays of the sun.  Without this layer of ceramic granules, an asphalt shingle exposed to the sun would dry out in a few months and fail.

Marble sized hail and larger is capable of dislodging some of the ceramic granules from an asphalt shingle.  If a significant percentage of the protective ceramic granules have been knocked loose by hail, the roof may look OK to the untrained eye and will not be leaking, but a few months down the road the sun damage will cause the roof to fail.

An experienced roofing contractor or roof inspector can identify this type of hail damage.  Most good roofing contractors offer free roof inspections so if you even think your roof may have hail damage, it’s a good idea to have the roof inspected.

Posted on behalf of Ken Christie, CZE Roofing and Remodeling

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Avoid Roof Repair Scams After Hail Storms

A hail storm can happen anytime so it’s important to know what to do and what not to do if your roof is damaged by a hail storm.  Before you call your homeowners insurance carrier, keep in mind that not all hailstorms will cause roof damage. Hail greater than one inch is capable of damaging an asphalt shingle roof, but many different factors can affect whether your roof needs to be replaced or just has minor cosmetic damage.  Your neighbor’s roof might be ruined while your roof is unharmed.

If you are certain that the roof was damaged by hail, call your insurance carrier to get the claims process started.  If you are not sure whether the roof was damaged, have it inspected by a reputable local roofing contractor or roof inspector.

When choosing a roofing contractor for your residential roof replacement, beware of scam artists.  Unfortunately, the roofing industry is notorious for “storm chasers”  – fly by night roofers who flock to a storm damaged area to make some easy money.

These shady roofers often don’t have the proper licenses or insurance and do shoddy roofing work and move on to the next hard-hit area before the new roof starts leaking. They may leave behind unpaid suppliers or subcontractors who will place a lien on your home.  Sometimes they leave the job half-finished or take the homeowners money and never do any work at all.

You can protect yourself by working with a well-established local roofer.  Make sure they have a local address and find out how long the roofer has been in business.  Avoid roofers who show up unsolicited driving vehicles with out of state plates.  Be skeptical of roofers who use high pressure sales tactics, insist on payment up front, or offer to do the job cheaper than any other company, but only if you sign a contract that day.

Hail Damage to Metal Roofing

One of the reasons that metal roofing is becoming increasingly popular is that it is much more resistant to hail damage than composition asphalt shingles.  Even modest sized hail can cause enough damage to an asphalt shingle roof to require a roof replacement.  Most metal roofing can withstand moderate sized hail with no significant damage.  However, some homeowner’s are under the mistaken impression that metal roofing is impervious to hail damage.

While metal roofing has excellent impact resistance, larger hail can cause dents and indentations in metal roofing.  Very large hail can cause serious dents and other damage to metal roofing.  In many cases the damage is cosmetic, but in some cases the dent will cause a crack to form in the coating and the metal will begin to corrode.

The dings and dents are not only unattractive, they will lead to increased maintenance to treat the dinged rusty spots.  In addition, even though the damage is cosmetic, it can devalue your home and make it more difficult to sell.

The bottom line is that even if you have a metal roof, you should have it inspected for damage by an experienced roofing contractor following a hail storm.  Most reputable local roofing contractors offer free roof inspections and if hail damage is found, they can usually help you understand the insurance claims process.  Be sure to stick with a good local roofing contractor rather than a storm chaser or other out of town roofer.  These roofers are more likely to encourage to file a claim even if you don’t have any hail damage.

Minimizing Hail Damage

The time to think about minimizing hail damage to your roof is long before the storm arrives.  Once hail starts falling, there is nothing you can do to stop or minimize the damage to your roof.  Your priority should be to keep you and your family safely inside your home where the roof can provide the protection it was meant to provide.  The roof may be ruined, but it can be replaced and most of the cost will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy.

When building a new home, keep in mind that the lower the roof slope the more damage falling hail will do to it. When hail strikes a sloping roof, the force of the impact is less because the hail usually strikes at an angle.  With a flat or very low slope roof, the hail will strike the roof more directly and with more force causing greater damage.

The roofing materials make a big difference when it comes to roof hail damage.  Slate and tile roofs have very high impact resistance and can withstand most hail with very minimal damage.  Slate and tile are very expensive and very heavy, so many homeowners prefer to install metal roofing.

Metal roofing has slightly lower impact resistance than slate and tile, but it has a far lower cost and weight which means it can be installed on almost any home and fits into most budgets.  Very large hail can damage metal roofing, but in most cases the damage is only cosmetic.

Composition asphalt shingles have the lowest impact resistance and are much more likely to suffer hail damage.  However, higher end laminated shingles have significantly better impact resistance than three tab shingles and have become the shingle of choice for many roofing experts.

Prompt Hail Damage Roof Inspections Are Important

Whether you have an asphalt shingle roof, metal roof or slate or tile roof, you should have the roof inspected for hail damage shortly after the hail event, even if you do not see any damage from the ground.  Hail can damage a roof in ways that cannot be seen from the ground.  In addition to pitting and bruising, hail can dislodge the ceramic granules that protect an asphalt shingle roof from sun damage.  Hail can also cause pitting in metal roofs.

If enough ceramic granules are dislodged from the shingle, the roof will probably fail within the next year or two.  Without enough ceramic granules, sun exposure dries out the asphalt and the shingles become brittle.  If the hail was large enough, a metal roof may have some pitting that appears cosmetic, but could also contain very small cracks in the coating that will allow moisture to reach the bare metal and corrosion will begin.

In most cases, this diminished life expectancy of your roof is covered by your homeowner’s insurance.  It’s important to have a professional roofer or roof inspector look at your roof soon after the hailstorm to determine whether you have hail damage and whether or not the hail damage is merely cosmetic.  Most roofing contractors offer free roof inspections.

Most insurance companies have a time limit on filing claims for hail damage.  If the claim is filed too late, then the claim will be denied.  It is important to avoid denial of the claim by filing the claim at the earliest opportunity.

Don’t wait to have your roof inspected after a significant hail storm.  Call a good roofer right away and if there is hail damage, file the claim as soon as possible.

The Straight Scoop on Hail Damage

Many homeowners are under the mistaken impression that all hail damage to their roof should be visible from the street.  Others believe that if the roof is not leaking, then it did not sustain hail damage.  Another popular misconception is that a new asphalt shingle roof will not be damaged by hail.

The reality is that hail can cause severe damage to an asphalt shingle roof that is not visible from the ground.  Most hail damage is due to excessive granules being dislodged by the hail.  This type of damage can be hard to see from the ground, especially by the untrained eye.  An experienced local roofing professional will be able to identify this common type of hail damage.

The fact that the roof is not leaking today doesn’t mean that it might not start leaking tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year.  When the granules are dislodged from the shingles, it leaves the roof exposed to the sun’s UV rays which cause it to dry out and ultimately fail.  It might take weeks or months for the roof to fail, but you shouldn’t wait that long to file a claim.

Finally, new roofs are not necessarily better able to withstand a hail storm. It’s true that an old, dry roof might be more susceptible to damage than a new roof, but new roofs can definitely be damaged by hail. It depends in part on the type and quality of the shingles installed.  Laminated shingles have higher impact resistance ratings than three tab shingle and will be able to better weather a hail storm.

The important thing to remember is to have the roof inspected by a good roofing contractor at your earliest opportunity.

Understanding Hail Damage

Hail can do a lot of damage to an asphalt shingle roof, but many homeowners don’t understand exactly how hail damages the roof and as a result, they end up paying the entire cost for a roof replacement that should have been covered by their homeowners insurance.  Understanding how hail damages an asphalt shingle roof will help the homeowner decide whether they need to call a reputable local roofing contractor and arrange for a roof inspection.

When most people think of hail damage, they think of cars covered with dents, holes in their siding, and plants and shrubs stripped of their foliage.  Large enough hail can cause similar damage to an asphalt shingle roof.  Hail the size of golf balls and larger can knock shingles loose and cause pits and splits in the shingles.

However, smaller hail can cause roof damage that is much harder to see but no less damaging to your roof.  When hail strikes an asphalt shingle roof, it can dislodge the protective ceramic granules that coat the surface of an composition asphalt shingle.  These granules add color and texture to a roof, but their primary purpose is to protect the shingle from damage due to exposure to the sun’s UV rays.

An asphalt shingle is essentially a fiberglass mat soaked in asphalt and covered with protective ceramic granules. Without these protective granules, the asphalt would quickly dry out and the shingle would fail.

In a hailstorm, if enough to these granules are knocked loose, the asphalt base will be exposed to the sun and over the next weeks or months the roof will dry out and ultimately fail.  The bottom line is that any time you suspect that your roof has been impacted by hail, you should have the roof inspected by an experienced local roofer.  They are trained to spot hail damage and may even help you submit an insurance claim if damage is found.

Hail Size for Roof Damage

If a hailstorm has impacted your area, you are probably rightfully concerned about hail damage to your roof.  The only way to know for sure whether or not your roof has suffered hail damage is to have it inspected by a reputable local roofing contractor.  Many contractors offer free roof inspections as a service to the community.

Hail comes in all different sizes.  Whether or not it will damage an asphalt shingle roof depends on many different factors such a size of the hail, roof pitch and orientation, wind speed, and condition of the roof.  As far as hail size goes, in most cases hail that is smaller than one inch in diameter will not cause significant damage to a healthy asphalt shingle roof.  There are exceptions of course.  For example, an old or brittle roof might be damaged by smaller hail. If the hail was driven by high winds it might cause damage to roofs.

Hail over an inch in diameter up to golf ball sized hail can cause damage to asphalt shingle roofs in the form of dislodged ceramic granules.  These granules protect the roof from the harmful effects of long term exposure to the sun and when a substantial quantity are knocked loose by hail, the roof will dry out and become brittle.  It will soon crack and begin leaking.

Hail larger than the size of a golf ball can cause severe damage to an asphalt shingle roof.  In addition to dislodging ceramic granules, hail this size can cause splitting, pitting, bruising, fraying and other damage to the shingles.  Roofs with this type of serious damage will often start leaking immediately.

Look Closely For Hail Damage

When hail storms strike an area they can cause a lot of damage to cars, trees, siding and roofs.  Asphalt shingle roofs are particularly vulnerable to hail damage because they do not have as much impact resistance as other roofing products such as metal roofing, tile, and slate.  The most vulnerable roofs are older roofs covered with three tab shingles.

Most of these roofs only have a 15 to 20 year lifespan under ideal conditions and after ten or fifteen years of exposure to the sun they lose some impact resistance and can easily be damaged by even modest sized hail.  The sun’s UV rays slowly dry out the shingle and make it brittle.

Most hail damage is not readily apparent unless you know what to look for. Very large hail will cause obvious damage such as splitting, fraying, and pitting but hail this size is unusual.  Hail the size of golf balls and larger falls into this category.

On the other hand, pea sized hail and smaller will usually not cause significant damage to most asphalt shingle roofs unless the roof is very brittle or if the hail is driven by very high winds.

The more common type of hail damage to asphalt shingles comes from medium sizes hail.  This hail is capable of dislodging the ceramic granules that protect the shingle from sun damage.  If an asphalt shingle roof suffers significant granule loss, it will quickly dry out from UV ray exposure and will fail.  In many cases, unless the damage was caught by a roof inspection, the roof will start leaking months after the hail storm and the homeowner will be on the hook for expensive roof repairs or a roof replacement unless the homeowner can prove the hail damage to the insurance company.

The lesson to take away from all this is to have your roof inspected whenever hail has struck your area.  If the hail damage is identified early, you will have much less hassle with your insurance company and will avoid a leaky roof.