Storm Damage 101: Dealing With Commercial Roof Damage from Summer Storms

Summer is right around the corner, and with it comes storm season in Minnesota. Now is the time to make a plan so you’re ready in case this summer’s storms lead to damage to your commercial building’s roof.

Not sure where to start? You’ve come to the right place.

Let’s go over how to protect your roof from summer storms with preventive roof maintenance, what damage to look for after a storm, and how to navigate storm damage insurance claims and repairs.

Protect Your Roof From Storm Damage With Preventive Maintenance

Your roof plays an essential role in protecting your building and its occupants from everything severe weather can throw at it. That’s why it’s so important to protect this crucial asset with regular preventive maintenance. 

Start with the following:

  • Create a schedule for regular maintenance. A single storm typically isn’t enough to cause severe damage to your roof…as long as you aren’t neglecting regular maintenance. Create a schedule of preventive maintenance tasks to take care of throughout the year and stick to it.
  • Trim trees with overhanging branches. Trees whose branches overhang your building are a hazard for your roofing system. Falling leaves and branches can pile up and clog drainage systems, causing water pooling that leads to more serious damage. Keep trees near your building trimmed back to prevent this problem.
  • Remove debris. The buildup of debris on your roof can clog your drainage system and lead to water damage, including the growth of mold and bacteria. Clear debris from your roof often throughout the year, and at least monthly during summer storm season.
  • Prevent ice dams. Accumulating snow, ice, and water behind ice dams can cause damage to shingles and gutters, as well as water damage to your building. To prevent ice dams, make sure your roof is well insulated and have snow removed from your roof after big snowstorms.
  • Have professional inspections done twice per year. While it’s important to inspect your roof for damage after a significant weather event, it’s equally important to have preventive inspections done each spring and fall. Have a professional inspect your entire roofing system, including flashings, gutters, downspouts, drains, and ventilation.

Preventive maintenance can help you protect your building and avoid the headaches that come with damage from severe weather events, general wear and tear, and other roofing problems.

Check for Damage After Each Storm: Here’s What To Look For

In addition to keeping up on preventive maintenance, you should take a look at your roof after every storm, keeping an eye out for the following:

  • Damage to flashing. Flashing is a protective metal covering that helps prevent leaks by sealing your roof’s joints and other areas that are susceptible to water buildup. Rusty or bent flashing is an indication that its seal is no longer effective. Left untreated, damaged flashing can lead to leaks, costly repairs, and eventually a full roof replacement.
  • Clogged gutters, downspouts, and drains. During storms, your roof’s drainage system can get clogged with debris, causing water to pool on your roof. Check these areas for clogs after each storm, and have clogs cleared out as quickly as possible to prevent damage.
  • Damage to roof-mounted equipment. If your building’s HVAC, solar panels, or other equipment is housed on the roof, check to make sure it is still securely attached after summer storms. Severe weather can not only damage the equipment itself, but also cause roof damage and leaks at the points of attachment.
  • Cracks, blisters, or bubbles on roofing surface. These are some of the more obvious signs of commercial roof damage. They indicate the presence of moisture in the roofing system that could eventually lead to further damage and leaks.
  • Standing or ponding water. Standing water on your roof right after a storm is to be expected. However, if it remains longer than 48-72 hours after a storm, ponding water can lead to mold growth, leaks, sagging, and general deterioration of your roofing system. In addition, ponding that doesn’t dissipate may be an indication that your roof’s drainage system isn’t functioning properly.
  • Water damage on interior walls and ceilings. Water stains on interior walls and ceilings are a clear sign of roof damage. If you notice even slight interior water damage like this, contact a roofing contractor right away to take a look at your roof.

If you notice any of these signs of damage, contact a commercial roofing contractor to inspect and repair them as soon as possible.

Contact Your Insurance Company Right Away

In addition to calling a roofing contractor, you’ll also want to contact your insurance company as soon as you notice storm damage. Waiting to file a claim could put you at risk of having your claim underpaid or denied.

For your best chances of having your claim approved and paid, do the following:

  1. Document the damage. Have a commercial roofing contractor perform an inspection of your roofing system and document the damage with photos, video, and written descriptions.
  2. File the claim. After the inspection, your contractor can help you put together the claim and submit it to your insurance company. You can typically file a claim online or by contacting an insurance representative.
  3. Insurance adjuster inspection. Once they receive your claim, your insurance company will send an adjuster to evaluate the damage to your roof. If possible, it’s ideal to have your roofing contractor present during the adjuster’s inspection to advocate for you.
  4. Response from insurance company. If the adjuster approves your claim, you’ll receive compensation from your insurance company. If they refuse or only partially approve your claim, your roofing contractor or a public insurance adjuster may be able to help you negotiate with the insurance company.

Have Repairs Made Promptly by an Experienced Commercial Roofing Contractor

Once your insurance claim is approved, schedule repairs to be done as quickly as possible. If you wait, minor damage can become major, more costly problems…especially if another storm hits before repairs can be made. 

When choosing a commercial roofing contractor, don’t simply pick the least expensive option or the first one you find. While it’s important to have repairs done quickly, it’s equally vital to ensure they are done correctly.

To ensure your repairs are done right the first time, choose an experienced, trusted contractor like Hoyt Exteriors

Hoyt Exteriors is your best bet for quality commercial roof inspections, repairs, and replacements. Contact us today to discuss your roofing needs.

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