After a major storm, every homeowner needs to inspect their home both for damage and even preventative maintenance. But there are also limits to what most homeowners should do when it comes to caring for their roof. To help you move forward if you've been hit by recent storms, here are 3 things you should do...and 3 things you shouldn't attempt.
Do Inspect From the Sides. Inspecting your roof is something even wary homeowners can do safely from the sides and the ground. Look for good sightlines from your yard or even from adjacent houses--especially those with upper floors. An unobstructed view and a pair of binoculars will get you a lot of information about the condition of most parts of your roof without setting foot on it. If you're comfortable with a ladder, grab a buddy and take a look from the sides as well.
Do Look for Shingle Damage. Damage or wear to individual shingles is often obvious and easy to fix. This damage includes things like buckled or curled edges, broken shingles or flashing, debris on the roof, missing shingles, loose granules, and broken gutters. Some of these problems can be solved without getting on the roof, and many of them can be fixed on your own if you have experience being on the roof.
Do Inspect the Attic. Water damage can seep underneath damaged flashing or shingles, resulting in leaks inside the home. Climb into the attic and use a good flashlight to inspect the entire roof and walls. Look for signs of water, sagging, rot, and soft spots in the wood as well as indications of pests.
Don't Get on the Roof. Inexperienced homeowners should avoid getting on the roof itself. This is especially important after storms when weather can be volatile, the roof can be slippery, and falling debris is still possible. If you suspect more serious damage or cannot get a good view of the roof, call a professional roofer if you're not familiar with how to safely work on the roof.
Don't Work Near Power Lines. Storms play havoc with power and utility lines, and you should never make assumptions about them. If there are any hanging power lines anywhere near your roof, house walls, or trees surrounding the roof, do not go near them. Evacuate the area and call the utility company to report the need for repairs.
Don't Trim Large Trees. Trees are a big problem during and after storms, but you often shouldn't attempt to fix things on your own. Mature trees with hanging limbs overhead can be so damaged that they are still a danger even after the skies have cleared. If you can reach branches with a hand held or pole-based pruner while standing on the ground (but not underneath the branches!), you can remove some limbs safely. However, if you must climb a ladder or cannot avoid being underneath the tree, call for a professional first.
With more and more serious storms on the horizon, now is the time to acquaint yourself with how to care for your roof after a weather event. It will help you protect your family and your wallet both now and in the future.