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What Should I do After a Heavy Storm? A Home Maintenance Checklist


Just because you avoided major damage doesn’t mean there aren’t parts of your home to check for hidden concerns. Harsh storms can cause damage to your home that might go undetected for weeks or months – making an insurance claim difficult, if not impossible. The following is a list of things to check for after a heavy storm that might go unseen.

1) Look for Any Signs of Damage to your Roof

Be sure you use proper safety measures when conducting roof repairs 

Your roof takes the most punishment from the elements and, when it comes to getting damaged, is also probably the most expensive part of your home. Be sure to look carefully for:

  • Torn shingles in your yard
  • Signs of broken or missing shingles on your roof
  • Missing ridge shingles
  • Loose or missing flashing in valleys or around chimneys
  • Large tree branches lying on your roof 3” in diameter or greater, as these might have caused damage but are concealing it

2) Check Your Attic for Signs of Leaks

Leaky roofs get worse over time and can further damage through rot, mold, and mildew. Look for signs of:

  • Water droplets;
  • Wet insulation; and
  • Water staining on the underside of the roof decking or the underside of the rafters

3) Look for Damaged, Disconnected, or Overflowing Rain Gutters

Rain gutters move water and refuse away from your home, so if they’re dirty after THIS storm, they won’t work correctly during the NEXT one.

Functional rain gutters help your home in more ways than one, so it’s important you address them before another storm arrives.

  • Clean your gutters and down spouts periodically to keep rain water flowing
  • Rain water flowing down the side of your will cause water damage over time if it’s allowed to continue with each rainfall
  • Channeling rain water away from your home can sometimes solve problems of damp basements or mold growth.

4) Inspect Your Property for Wind Damage

A small branch traveling at 50 mph can leave a lasting imprint on your home — especially if it hits a window. Because wind currents cause all sorts of turbulence around houses and garages, damage may not be isolated to wind-ward side of a storm

  • Check all of your windows for cracks or other signs of damage;
  • Look for dented siding or for signs  it might have been torn loose or completely pulled off; and
  • The wind can pick up and throw plastic outdoor furniture or children’s toys several feet, if not further

Personal Story Time: During one storm, I watched as 70 mph straight line winds picked up four chairs and a heavy glass table set up on an outdoor rug and float all of it as one single unit several feet across my deck!)

Powerful high velocity winds can shift or move small homes on their foundations. Look for:

  • A straight roof ridge, as twists and bulges could suggest the home has been moved or damage to support framing.
  • Check the foundation joints and that piers or piles are straight and level; and
  • Straight and plumb walls, as sudden slants or new cracks in masonry can present problems.

5) Check for Pool Damage

Your pool represents a substantial financial investment into your home’s value, so you want to ensure it wasn’t damaged by the storm.

  • For above ground pools, look for damage to pump hoses, pumps, electrical wiring, and the pool sidewalls.
  • For all pools, clean out leaves, branches, and other debris.
  • Test the pool water and treat accordingly.

6) Look for Tree Limbs Pressing on Utility Lines

You might have avoided a problem with a tree this time, but don’t put off removing broken trees too long.

Heavy summer rains can weigh down leafy tree limbs, causing them to press down utility lines or even partially break. If the limb is breaking, it’s a good idea to call the utility company. If the limb is just bending, it will likely recover its shape as it dries; however, it might be a good idea to prune it not to avoid future problems.

7) Remove Fallen or Badly Damaged Trees

Simply put, there are some problems you just can’t fix yourself, so don’t be afraid to call professionals for help.

If a big tree fell during a storm and didn’t cause any damage, consider yourself lucky. Trees that snap halfway up their trunks or have had substantial storm damage present homeowners with a difficult choice. The rest of the tree may survive this kind of damage, but it will look odd. It’s best to consult with a tree surgeon or arborist to figure out what to do, because you might want to remove it entirely to prevent any damage occurring from a future storm.

8) Watch Out for Summer Limb Drop

Trees that survive heavy storms unscathed can still suffer serious damage later due to summer limb drop. A heavy summertime storm dumps 4 inches of rain onto a town with large, old oak trees. These survive with only slight damage. However, during the week, hot, humid weather moves in. The trees are filled with water they have absorbed from the rain, but they can’t get rid of it due to high heat and humidity. Water and sap pressure then builds up in the trees’ branches until they break — sometimes practically exploding from the water pressure inside — and falling to the ground.

Do you have any home maintenance tips for examining your the condition of your house and property after a heavy storm? Share with us in the comments!

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