Prepping Your Roof for Summer Storms in the South

A roof with rain pouring off into the gutters.

Is your roof ready for summertime storms? Summers in the South can bring an onslaught of severe weather, so it is always a good idea to be prepared. Once summer is in full swing, you can expect thunderstorms, strong winds, and torrential downpours that can wreak havoc on your roof.

The good news is that you can keep your home and family safe and comfortable by utilizing the tasks in this roof maintenance checklist, which includes tips for cleaning your gutters and info on which repairs to focus on to prevent a leaky roof.

Before we dive into the roof maintenance checklist, you should know that hiring a professional roofer is the best way to prep your roof for summertime in the South; a professional has the proper tools and experience to do the job safely and efficiently.

So, if you are ready to defend your roof against whatever weather comes your way, be proactive and use this checklist!

Schedule a Roof Inspection

When was the last time you had your roof inspected? If it has been a while, schedule a professional inspection with a reputable roofer before the stormy season starts. An inspection is an essential part of any roof maintenance plan. A roofing pro can thoroughly examine and spot any problems on the roof before they become major issues. Common problems include damaged, cracked, or missing shingles that, if not addressed, can lead to a leaky roof and costly water damage.

Though not as thorough as having a professional get up on the roof, you can do an inspection yourself. Try walking around your property after a heavy storm and look for shingle bits or granules on the grass or around the base of the downspouts. If you notice damaged shingles, it is a sign that you need to repair the roof sooner rather than later.

Trim the Trees Around Your Home and Roof

Tree limbs and small branches can cause big problems during a storm. Trim the trees near your home and roof so you will not have to worry about a tree branch or limb falling on your roof when a storm hits. Large branches and dead limbs can cause severe damage if they break off and land on your roof. They can even lift the shingles and allow rain to get underneath them.

Excess leaves can also lead to problems, especially during a storm. Excess leaves can clog gutters, gutter guards, and downspouts. Rake up as many leaves as you can before the storm and pick up any debris that might make its way onto the roof.

Hire a landscape professional to trim the trees around your property annually. Doing this will keep branches away from your roof and benefit the tree’s health too!

Look for Weak or Diseased Trees

When trees are weak or diseased, heavy winds can uproot them and direct them toward your home. Look for signs of leaning trees, which often means they have a weak root system. Trees get stressed too. Dead limbs, missing bark, withered branches, and deformed leaves are symptoms of a stressed tree.

Weak trees are no match for heavy winds, and hurricanes and tropical storms are constantly brewing here in the South. A landscape professional can tell you if your trees are unhealthy. If they are, removing them before the storm season starts is a good idea.

Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts

It is not uncommon for summer storms to soak the South; when they hit, they hit hard. And one of the worst issues for any roof is an accumulation or backup of water. A buildup of soaked leaves and other debris can clog gutters and cause a pool of water to settle inside the gutter. Blocked gutters and downspouts can lead to severe problems, including leaks. That is why it is so essential to keep them clean. 

Cleaning your gutters and gutter guards is one step; another is looking for weak or loose fasteners. Soaked leaves and other debris can make the gutters heavy, causing them to break free from the roof. And if you have uneven or dented gutters, it can be difficult for water to make its way down the downspouts. If it looks like your gutters and downspouts are beyond repair, contact a professional to replace them as soon as possible.

Replace an Old or Damaged Roof

If you are thinking about a roof replacement, it is wise to do it before the storm season begins. An old or damaged roof spells danger to your home during severe storm conditions. Keep your family safe and comfortable, no matter how crazy the weather gets outside.

It is important to consider longevity versus affordability when choosing roofing materials. Some, like asphalt shingles, can be more affordable but might only make it 12 years before needing to be replaced. Metal roofs, while maybe more expensive to install, are visually appealing and have a lifespan of 70-plus years.

More Tips You Can Use During the Storm Season

Here are some other things to consider before the storm season arrives:

  • Purchase tarps: If a storm damages your roof, you can add a tarp to prevent further damage. A properly secured tarp can prevent missing shingles or holes from turning into costly leaks. Stock up on tarps before they sell out at your local home improvement store. (If you have ever tried shopping for tarps after a storm, you know how hard they are to find.) 
  • Hire an experienced and reputable roofing company: Working with the right company is essential when replacing your roof, getting repairs, or scheduling an inspection. The last thing you want to worry about is an inexperienced crew that does not show up on time or, even worse, does not have the tools or know-how to provide a professional assessment of the condition of your roof.

Heavy rains are just a part of living in the South. Do not get caught unprepared — follow our roof maintenance checklist. Regularly maintaining your roof and cleaning your gutters will help prolong the life of your roof, even during storm season.

About the Author: Shannon McCord is a licensed home builder and has completed over 1000 roofing projects, with over 25 years of building experience. Prior to starting Roofing World, Shannon was a community housing developer. Shannon is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a degree in Engineering and Marketing.

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