Assessing Roof Damage after Superstorm Sandy

How to be sure your roof is in good condition after the dust has settled

Washington, D.C. – November 7, 2012 – In the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many homes in the North East will require major building repairs. According to disaster modeling company, Eqecat, the storm will have caused an estimated $50 billion in economic damage including $20 billion in insured losses. 

As property owners begin to assess damage to their homes and businesses, the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) recommends conducting a safe and thorough review of the building’s roof to ensure it has not been compromised and that it will survive the perils of winter. ARMA offers the following tips for inspecting the condition of the roofing system:

  • Make the initial inspections from the ground or through upstairs windows where the roof surface can be observed. Binoculars are a good tool to use for the inspection.
  • Clear all gutters and roof surfaces of fallen leaves, pine needles, twigs and other debris to evaluate the entire roof and allow water to drain freely. Be mindful of ladder safety.
  • Inspect the underside of the roof deck from the attic to detect leaks. Flashings are the most vulnerable points, therefore, inspect the underside carefully at all flashing points for evidence of leakage, such as water stains.

Property owners should always take precaution when surveying the damage, particularly if trees have taken down power lines or blocked access.

"We recommend making a visual inspection of your roof from the ground after storm events, since you cannot be certain of the condition of your roof assembly,” said Reed Hitchcock, ARMA’s Executive Vice President. “If you notice any obvious signs of damage, including missing or loose roof shingles, impaired flashing, and obstructed gutters or roof vents, contact a professional roofing contractor to perform a full assessment of your roof."

Furthermore, the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) warns that choosing the right contractor should be a priority, especially after major storms where there could be an influx of roofing contractors from other areas.  While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it also opens the door for disreputable contractors attempting to take advantage of the circumstances. Homeowners should do their research on the contractor – check for good standing with the Better Business Bureau or inquire about them via Social Media.  Once roof damage has been identified, the NRCA and ARMA recommend looking for contractors who meet the following criteria:

  • Have a permanent place of business
  • Be able to speak about a variety of roofing systems
  • Have manufacturer’s or other certifications
  • Be able to provide references from recent clients
  • Show a license and/or are bonded
  • Have general liability insurance coverage although this is not required in all areas
  • Provide a written proposal; beware of contractors who ask for money up front

For more information from the NRCA, visit: www.nrca.net/consumer/about/press/2012/1012_hurricane_sandy.aspx

With winter just around the corner, it is also important for homeowners to have their roofs assessed for damage and corrected before the weather changes – when ice and snow load could exacerbate an undetected problem.  For more information on roof maintenance and what homeowners can do to ensure roof stability, visit www.asphaltroofing.org.

About ARMA:
The Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association (ARMA) is the North American trade association representing the manufacturers and suppliers of bituminous-based residential and commercial fiberglass roofing products, roll roofing, built-up (BUR) roofing systems and modified bitumen roofing systems.