Summer storm damage: What to look for and how to fix it

June 1, 2011 by
Filed under: Basement, Deck and Patios, Gutter, Roof, Roofing, Shingles 

Roof maintenance(ARA) – Storms are a natural part of summer. After a storm has passed and it is safe to go outside, take stock of your home and repair any minor damage caused by the storm. Repairing minor problems quickly can help ensure they don’t evolve into major headaches.

The home improvement and maintenance experts at Lowe’s offer some guidelines for assessing and dealing with storm damage:

Checking the roof

Your roof and gutters will often take the brunt of a storm’s power. After a storm, check out roof shingles by walking slowly around your home and inspecting from the ground. Use a good pair of binoculars to look for lifting or missing shingles around the edges, valleys, plumbing and furnace vent pipes and the chimney.

You can also inspect your roof from inside the attic. Discoloration of the decking or plywood surface of the roof could signal problems. And if you can see light coming in around plumbing vents or the chimney, it means the flashing needs to be repaired or replaced.

Roof repairs can be difficult and dangerous for homeowners, even if you’re an adept do-it-yourselfer. So be careful when climbing on your roof to inspect damage, especially after a storm when damage is unknown. Ask for professional help at your local home improvement store if you have any doubt about your abilities. You can also visit for more information about patching or replacing your roof.

Maintaining your gutters

Clogged gutters and downspouts can keep water from being carried away from your roof. Follow this gutter health checklist for obvious signs of failing gutters:

* Gutter hanging off the roof
* Downspout disconnected from the gutter or house
* Missing gutters
* Water in the basement or elsewhere inside the house
* Leaking or dripping gutter seams
* Overflowing gutters

Gutter damage usually takes one of three forms – holes, cracks or sags. You can easily repair minor sags or pin-sized holes yourself. If careful inspection reveals a pinhole, use an abrasive pad to clean the area. Then, cut a piece of material – the same kind as the gutters – that is 1 inch larger than the hole on all sides. Using a stiff brush, spread a bit of gutter repair compound on the area around the hole and place your patch over the top. Cover the patch with another layer of compound to ensure a good seal.

To repair minor sags, simply add a new hanging bracket to the sagging area or replace an existing one if it’s old or damaged. Screw in the bracket until the gutter is back in proper alignment. Be sure to use hanging brackets that are designed for your type of gutter system.

Cracks or more serious gutter damage may require professional help.

Caring for decks

The safety of your deck after a storm passes through is of great importance, especially if you entertain regularly on your deck. Check for damaged boards and replace them with the appropriate decking material. Tighten loose fasteners or replace them if they won’t tighten. Tap down and set protruding nails or replace them with deck screws. Check for splinters, especially along handrails and steps, and smooth them with sandpaper.

If your deck is too far gone and you have to build a new deck, consider using composite decking, such as Trex or ChoiceDek. The decking material is low maintenance, splinter free and mold resistant. You can also use traditional treated lumber for a more economical option.

Sometimes storm damage is unavoidable. But making quick repairs can help ensure your home is safe, sound and dry before the next storm of summer arrives.

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