Tips for finding damage to your home after severe weather

The storms on Wednesday that produced tornadoes in Montgomery County, Maryland, left behind some severe damage to several homes. But other homes may have been subtly impacted as well, by the high winds and rain.

Philip Dancer, of Dancer & Co. based in Mount Airy, Maryland, said he recommends all homeowners do a walk around their homes to spot damage, which if left unaddressed can create even costlier repairs down the road.

His first tip is to stand away from the home, in a spot where you have a good vantage point of the roof.

“Take a look at the roof, make sure you don’t see any signs of any broken roofing shingles, missing roofing shingles, loose roofing shingles, because naturally the shingles are what’s helping to prevent water from getting into the home,” Dancer said.

He also recommends examining the home’s roof edge flashing — the thin strips of water-resistant material between where roofing meets a wall or chimney. It’s also used around windows and helps redirect water away from vulnerable parts of the home.

“Make sure that the flashing around the home, around any plumbing penetrations going through the roof, or any type of metal flashing that wraps around that, if the home has a chimney, make sure that it’s all still there,” Dancer said.

Next, walk around the home and look for any holes or dents that were not there before, which could possibly let water or even pests into the home. Also, make sure none of the windows are broken.

Dancer said you’ll want to look at the debris from the storm. Did branches hit the roof? That could have caused damage.

Also, make sure trees are not leaning closer to the home than before the storm: “We don’t want anything falling onto the home,” he said.

The final part of the outdoor exam is to look for any signs of standing water. Heavy storms can impact the grading of your home, so water stops draining away from the house.

With storms, sometimes obvious damage isn’t there to alert you to roof damage, so walk inside your home and look for any wet spots or brown spots on walls or ceiling throughout the home.

“After a storm, naturally, I think water is going to be the primary concern for a lot of people,” Dancer said.

So, if any issues are found during your walk-around, he recommends calling on roofers or other professionals to address any issues found.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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