5 Types of Roof Storm Damage

Posted By: Debbie Hathorne Consumer,

For Colorado homeowners, roof storm damage is something to always be mindful of. From snow and hail to sun and wind, each season reminds Coloradans how valuable the roof of their home is. Oftentimes, however, we aren’t mindful of this vital asset until we have water dripping into our homes, threatening our most prized possessions.

Roof storm damage can creep up suddenly and become a hefty headache for a homeowner. It’s important, then, to be aware of how the Colorado weather patterns can affect your roof. In this blog we’ll briefly address how to spot a storm-damaged roof, and lay out 5 components of Colorado weather that can be damaging to your roof.

Recognizing the Signs of a Storm-Damaged Roof

Roofs are built to withstand weather, oftentimes being uniquely tailored to a region’s specific weather conditions. The lifespan of a roof varies depending on what material is used to build it. Asphalt shingles will last between 15 and 30 years, while a tile or copper roof can last around 50 years. (U.S. News) 

These lifespans take into account typical roof wear and tear from weather, still, Colorado weather can damage even the newest roof. If you suspect you have roof storm damage, the safest thing to do would be to contact a licensed roofing contractor to inspect your roof for you. 

Keep an eye out for telltale signs of damage such as water leaks, curling or visibly loose shingles, or roofing material strewn across your yard. Recognizing these indications can be challenging, emphasizing the need for homeowners to understand when and how their roofs may suffer damage.

Here are five types of roof damage you may encounter due to Colorado's weather.

1. Roof Damage from Snow

roof damaged from snow

Snow ushers in more than just a festive holiday spirit. It also brings additional weight on your roof and a slow, steady drip of water to repel. Inadequate or worn-out insulation can exacerbate this issue as heat escapes through your home's attic, causing roof-top snow to melt and refreeze at the base of your roofline.

This process results in ice dams that can trigger a host of problems for your roof. Unattended ice dams can cause water to pool, applying extra pressure on your shingles, leading to potential interior damage. These icy formations can also strain your roof’s gutters, causing them to detach from your home.

2. Roof Damage from Hail

Hail storms are of particular importance for Colorado homeowners. With an average frequency of 6 or more hail days per year, some counties of eastern Colorado are among the most hail-prone areas in the entire country. (CSU) Damage from hail varies depending on the size of the hail, the severity of the storm itself, and the age of your roof. 

Though the average hailstorm may last only five minutes, damage from those hailstorms totals about $1 billion a year nationally. (Travelers) At their worst, hailstorms can puncture your roof and rip flashing and gutters from your home. Roof caps, the peak of your roof, are the most vulnerable to hail damage and can be easily cracked from large hail. 

While the impact of large hail can dent your roofing material, wind can send that large hail in different trajectories causing exacerbated damage. Smaller hail may not cause immediate problems, but the beating your roof takes from it wears it down making it more vulnerable to damage from future weather.

3. Roof Damage from Rain

Colorado’s complex topography leads to a variety of rainy seasons across the state. (CSU) While fall and winter bring the most precipitation to the western and mountainous regions of Colorado, spring and summer bring the most rain to the front range. This spectrum of rainfall means Colorado roofs take a beating year-round. 

Roofs are built to withstand rain through a variety of waterproofing measures such as water-resistant underlayment and asphalt shingles. Though, over time the granules can be washed away from your shingles and allow rainwater easy access into your home. Checking your gutters regularly will reveal those granules and help you determine the extent of this wear on your roof.

4. Roof Damage from Wind

roof damage from wind

In Colorado, wind can make these other types of storm damage worse, increasing how much storm damage your roof endures. As we’ve discussed, wind can push hail in unnatural trajectories, causing the hail to impact your home at odd angles. As the seasons roll on, wind can blow roofing material that had previously been loosened or damaged from your roof, leaving your roof more vulnerable to further damage.

Wind also introduces its own havoc. Overhanging tree limbs can fall onto your roof, fracturing the structure or piling up adding extra weight on the roof deck and causing water to pool underneath the debris. This debris has a tendency to clog roof gutters which can lead to water backing up and eventually making its way into your home. 

5. Roof Damage from Sunshine

When the weather clears up and the summer sun comes around, it may seem like your roof is finally in the clear, but don’t be deceived. Even the life-giving sun limits the lifespan of your roof. The heat from the sun causes the shingles on your roof to grow brittle and vulnerable to damage from snow, hail, rain, and wind.

This damage can be identified by curling shingles and apparent bleaching in color. Alternative roofing materials, like stone or clay tiles, are made to withstand the heat from the sun but have a greater risk of eventual water leaks.

Hailstorms and Your Roof

Navigating Roof Damage from Hailstorms

Addressing Roof Storm Damage 

First things first, call a licensed roofing contractor. It’s important to have a professional inspect your roof at least once, if not twice per year. As routine maintenance for a vehicle prolongs its lifespan, so too do annual inspections of your home’s roof. Regular inspections not only provide peace of mind, they can also save you from the expense of emergency repairs.

Many of the effects of Colorado weather on your roof are gradual and can be hard to see to an untrained eye. By enlisting a roofing contractor you can be sure those hidden damages are spotted before the major storms arrive and bring with them more severe and visible damage.

Preventive Measures to Protect Your Roof

A robust defense is the best offense when it comes to protecting your roof from Colorado's extreme weather conditions. Here are some preventive measures that can help minimize roof damage:

  • Regular Inspection: Conduct routine checks, especially after severe weather, to identify and fix problems before they escalate.
  • Clean Your Gutters: A clogged gutter system can cause water to back up and damage your roof. Regularly clear leaves and other debris from your gutters.
  • Trim Overhanging Branches: Prune tree limbs near your home to prevent them from falling on your roof during a storm.
  • Ensure Proper Insulation: Properly insulated homes help prevent heat loss, reducing the risk of ice dams.
  • Install a Roof Leak Barrier: This can offer extra protection against water penetration, particularly in vulnerable areas like eaves and valleys.

Understanding Homeowner's Insurance and Roof Damage

A critical aspect of managing roof damage costs involves understanding your homeowner's insurance policy. Most policies cover roof damage caused by 'acts of God,' such as hail and storms. However, they might not cover damage resulting from neglect or a failure to maintain the roof properly. Always document any damage (photographs and videos are helpful) and report it to your insurance company as soon as possible.

Preparing Your Roof for the Storm

At the Colorado Roofing Association, we know how important a secure roof is to a home. Even further, we exist to help you find a qualified and reputable roofing contractor to help you make sure your home is ready for the diverse Colorado weather. 

With our resources, you can educate yourself on potential roofing scams and ultimately find the right roofer for your home. Take an offensive approach to your home’s defense, and schedule a roof inspection with a licensed roofer today.