How Tornadoes and Bad Weather Impact Your Roof

There’s no place quite like Indiana to enjoy friendly Midwest culture, small-town comforts, and a low cost of living. Indiana offers four distinct seasons, giving Hoosiers a chance to embrace the beauty of warm summers, splendid fall colors, snowy winters, and the restorative glory of spring.

Bad Weather in Indiana

On the other hand, the four seasons sometimes bring bad weather that can negatively affect Indiana homeowners’ roofs. Tornadoes, wind storms, thunderstorms, and other extreme weather have been known to strike in Indiana throughout the year, compromising the integrity of many roofing systems as they blow through.

Fortunately, knowing how to take care of your roof can keep you and your home safe all year-round. Check out our guide to learn how bad weather can affect your roof—and what to do about it.

The Importance of a Sound Roof

Before we discuss how bad weather can impact your roofing system, it’s important to understand why a sound roof is so crucial.

From commercial buildings to private residences, your roof is the first layer of defense against the natural elements. A solid roof protects you and your family from snow, rain, and heat. It keeps your home more energy-efficient, reducing gas and electricity bills throughout the year. It even protects you from falling debris and other natural elements that might harm you or your home.

A compromised roof could lead to leaks, mold, mildew, and poor structural integrity. If neglected, these repairs will only become more costly over time, and could even force you to replace the roof entirely. In short, a sound roof is just as important as having a solid home foundation.

How Bad Weather Affects Roofs

Anyone who has spent time in Indiana knows how distinctly the seasons are marked in the Hoosier state. Summers are hot and humid, whereas fall comes swiftly, bringing crisp days and chilly nights. Winters can be long and intense, with blizzards, ice storms, and below-freezing temperatures. And while spring brings milder weather, it’s also prime season for tornadoes, thunderstorms, and more.

Here are just a few of the bad weather conditions that could affect your roof in Indiana.

1. Tornadoes and Hurricanes

Indiana is far enough inland that the direct threat of hurricane damage is rare, but the hurricanes hitting the Southern and Southeast coastline can still bring strong wind and rain to Porter County and the surrounding areas. That wind and rain can do serious damage to rooftops, causing leaks, cracks, and other structural issues that could worsen over time.

Spring can also bring tornadoes and high-speed winds, which can tear off shingles or even remove the whole rooftop. This occurs because tornadoes create a vacuum effect that can suck up everything in their paths, no matter how structurally sound.

If your home has been hit by a tornado near a tornado, you’ll want to keep an eye out for missing or damaged shingles, damage to the chimney, damaged flashings, and roof gaps. This type of damage can cause even more harm to your roof if it rains. It’s best to call in an expert for these types of repairs.

2. Falling Trees

Trees can fall on your rooftop at any time, especially in the event of strong winds and rain. Larger falling branches can puncture your roof, strip off shingles, or even create large holes that damage the frame of your roof.

But even smaller branches can cause damage. If you have many trees surrounding your property, always check for fallen tree damage after a storm. Fortunately, much of the damage can be repaired quickly to prevent further roof problems.

3. Rain Storms

Every homeowner in America needs to be wary of roof damage due to rain. Roofs are meant to protect your home and family from moisture, but they’re not completely waterproof. While monsoons and heavy downpours pose more of a threat to the rooftop, lighter rainfall can cause problems for your roof as well.

Rain can cause shingles to fall off and expose the roof’s underlayment to the elements. It can also damage flashing or lead to clogged gutters. This could lead to serious structural damage to the roof. It’s important to also watch out for standing water on the roof, which can cause mold, mildew, or leaks that damage the structure before you even realize the problem.

Gabled roofs are most likely to be damaged in heavy rain storms, since rain hits at an angle that makes shingles more likely to fall off or become compromised. But any type of roof could suffer in the case of frequent, heavy rainfall.

4. Wind Storms

The average tornado involves winds that can travel 200 miles per hour or more. But other storms can also create strong winds that do substantial damage to rooftops, tearing off shingles, removing tiles, or even breaking off gutter systems. The strongest winds can also damage the structure of the roof frame.

Some roofing products are more resistant to high wind speeds, but most are vulnerable to the effects of strong wind. Indiana roof tops should have sturdy decking, good fasteners, and quality craftsmanship to reduce the chance of wind damage.

If you’ve experienced a recent wind storm, it’s important to inspect your roof for loose shingles, fallen branches, and more. Wind does not always hit the roof evenly, so the edges of the roof are often more susceptible to damage.

5. Snow

Some homeowners think snow is relatively harmless to the roof, since it eventually melts and slides off the rooftop. But some roofs cannot handle the heavy weight that collects on the roof after a heavy snowstorm. And if snow melts and turns to ice, it can create even more of a risk for your roof.

Keep in mind that wet snow is heavier than dry snow, making it more likely to do damage or even cause the roof to collapse. Minimize the risk of snow damage by removing snow drifts from your rooftop after a big storm.

6. Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms are common in Indiana, and unfortunately, they can cause serious damage to rooftops. These storms bring heavy rain, lightning, and sometimes strong winds. Just one lighting strike is enough to cause serious damage to a roof, creating gaping holes, scorching roofing materials, lighting a fire, or damaging the attic. A bolt of lighting can even send electricity through the home’s wiring and plumbing.

If lighting ever strikes your home, check to see if your outlets and circuit breakers are working. Look out for damaged wiring, water leaks, and damage to plumbing. An experienced roofer can assess the damage and make any necessary repairs.

7. Hailstorms

Hailstorms are known to occur frequently in the spring in Indiana and other parts of the country. No matter what type of roofing you have, hailstorms can be a major risk to the structure of the roof, causing cracks and holes in the shingles and weakening the entire roof overall.

If those cracks aren’t repaired right away, they can lead to big holes or even the whole roof caving in. Make sure your roof is made with durable, high-quality materials to avoid the risk of hailstorm damage.

8. Ice

Extreme cold can cause melting snow to quickly turn into ice. Though this ice doesn’t cause any noticeable leaks while it is frozen, it will eventually melt and could cause moisture damage later on. Therefore, roof damage from ice is more common when temperatures are rising and falling over a short period of time.

Be sure to check the attic for signs of leaking as temperatures rise after a cold spell.

9. Extreme Heat and Humidity

It’s easy to see how major storms can cause roof damage—but did you know extreme heat can be just as dangerous? Every roof has a certain lifespan, and constant sun exposure can shorten that lifespan. This occurs because the sun’s UV rays cause shingles to lose their natural oils and dry out more quickly.

Extreme heat can also damage the structural ventilation of your home, increasing energy bills and making your home feel warmer. Remember that Indiana summers are prone to humidity, which can cause even more damage as the moisture seeps into the rooftop and causes mold and mildew to grow more quickly.

How to Handle Bad Weather

Now that you’ve read about how bad weather affects roofs, you may be feeling a little discouraged. But before you get ready to pour all of your savings into your roof, keep in mind that there are definitely things you can do to keep your roof in good shape. Regular roof maintenance and annual inspections are key to prolonging the life and integrity of your roof.

1. Regular Roof Maintenance

Regular roof maintenance can be performed by homeowners or by roofing professionals. Some tasks may be easy for homeowners to do on their own (like cleaning gutters), while others may require calling in someone with more experience (like replacing shingles).

In any case, it’s important to have someone regularly performing tasks like removing debris or checking shingles for cracks and curling.

Here is a checklist to ensure you don’t miss any maintenance tasks throughout the year:

  • Check the attic for signs of leaks or water stains
  • Remove fallen branches
  • Check for pools of standing water
  • Inspect expansion joints for tears
  • Make sure flashings are flush with the roof
  • Check for mold and mildew
  • Clean gutters in spring and fall
  • Inspect shingles for curling, cracking, or crumbling
  • Trim overhanging tree branches

2. Annual Roof Inspections

Even if you’re very dutiful at performing roof maintenance, it’s still no replacement for having a roofing professional inspect your roof each year. A professional roofer will be able to identify signs of damage you may have missed, which could end up saving you money and prolonging the life of your roof.

Experienced roofing contractors will also be able to assess the urgency of any repairs, simplify the insurance claim process (if needed), and identify early signs of water damage. Above all else, having an annual roof inspection will give you peace of mind no matter what bad weather comes your way.

Get Storm Damage Repair Today

Whether you’re ready to schedule an annual inspection or seeking urgent roof storm damage repair, DMG Exteriors is eager to help. We’re proud to serve Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties with the highest quality storm damage repair, as well as other roofing and general contractor services. 

We’re committed to top-of-the-line customer service, attention to detail, and the finest quality workmanship that gives you the ultimate reassurance. Contact us today to make an appointment for repairs, an inspection, or to ask any questions you might have about your roof. We have all the experience and expertise required to maintain and repair your roof so it keeps you and your family safe in any weather.