Aftermath of high winds – Checking your home

Given the recent weather we have had on Cape Ann, I thought it would be an appropriate time to discuss some of the things you can look for around your home. Whenever an unusually powerful storm comes through it’s a great time to check areas you may not normally pay attention to and make sure no repairs are needed. Here are some general areas to focus on.

Roofing – It’s not often you spend a few minutes really looking at your roof. You should check roof shingles, flashings, skylights and pay particular attention to where roofing starts, stops, and changes directions. Many roofs, even newer roofs are installed in a way where shingles do not properly adhere to one another or even lift making them very vulnerable to damage.

Gutters and Downspouts – Check for obvious issues like separation and pulling away. You should also visually check the gutters during the next heavy rain to check for leaking seams or other drainage issues. Most issues are obvious, but even a minor issue can cause water to end up around the foundation risking seepage into your basement.

Electrical Service – You may not be an electrical expert but visually looking at the electrical service is still a good idea. There is an attachment point with the home that can pull away, a splice connection where wires can separate, and tree branches often contact the service and need to be removed or pruned away. If something doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t, and you can have a professional look at it.

Siding and Trim – We see many homes with siding and trim coverings missing, hanging off, or on the ground. Wind-driven rain can also help you identify leaks that only occur under certain circumstances.

Chimneys – Regardless of chimney type a visual check is a great idea after a storm. If your home has a rain cap to keep water and birds out (hopefully it does) this is typically the first thing to come off with high winds. Checking for missing bricks or damage to your chimney crown is also a good idea. Check flashings at the base of the chimney to see if they are lifting, damaged, or loose.

Attic\Interior Of Exterior Walls – A little confusing to write, but essentially you want to check all areas of the exterior envelope from the inside for leakage or damage. If you haven’t been up in the attic in a while after a storm is a great time.

Windows and Skylights – Check for leakage, broken glass, and other damage. Staining between the layers of glass may indicate thermal seal failures. Windows that are noisy during a storm may be drafty and high winds are a good time to check windows from the interior.

Trees and Branches – It may not seem obvious but many times a tree will lose a branch and it will be trapped in the other branches temporarily. Best to remove this debris prior to the next storm.

There are many more areas depending on the home, but this is a great starting list. Many homes in this area can all be observed visually from the ground. If any of these areas are out of your comfort zone to look at, consider hiring a professional. We recommend hiring a professional for anything posing a safety risk or involving a ladder. While we walk some roof surfaces during a home inspection there are other options like flying a drone for roof surfaces that are unsafe to walk. We use drones frequently and they are great at identifying problems. If you have any questions about damage to your home or how to look for it, we are happy to help!