In 1989, Hurricane Hugo taught me just how devastating a roof leak can feel. Living 210 miles northeast of Charleston Harbor, the US landfall mark of Hugo, we learned that Charlotte, N.C. is not immune to the effects of costal, so-called, weather.
Although some Charlotte Metrolina weather stations warned that Hurricane Hugo would reach far inland, none of us expected that western NC would experience such devastating havoc. Yet I have a clear memory of what happened on September 21, 1989.
We went to sleep with little concern for local effects of the hurricane. But during the night, our outlook made a U-Turn. Hugo came through. High winds ripped the cap from the roof of our doublewide. Water seemed to come in from every crack. And outside, the wind kept howling.
We took refuge beneath the beams above the central bathroom. Kids and adults alike, shivered beneath a soggy layer of mattresses and blankets. It was as long a night as I have ever known.
Listed as one of the worst storms in the twentieth century, Hugo pounded through the Caribbean and then ripped open the Carolinas with the ease of rodents plowing ruts through soft dirt. Many Charlotte, N.C. residents lived without electrical power for fifteen days and longer. South Carolina officials reported 64,000 people left homeless. All across the two states, trees gave up the roots, power lines fell beneath fallen limbs and roof shingles took flight one behind the next.
New Threats, Same Stories
For Charlotte, Sandy, the super storm, brings but a token of force. Some higher elevations northwest of Mecklenburg report extended gusts of wind that exceed sixty mph. But in Charlotte and other local Metrolina areas, the storm is rather mild. Cancelled air flights reflect the storm-related issues occurring elsewhere. Random jolts of wind damage also hinder parts of the city. The aftermath will include some Charlotte homes with leaking roofs.
Bad Weather Outside Worsens Existing Roof Damage
High winds, even if merely spot-gusts, can further damage an already troubled roof. Moreover, harsh weather can hinder the search for roof leaks. Here are seven tips to help you prevent leaks and/or locate an existing leak.
The Following Seven Tips Will Help You Resolve Issues Related To Leaking Roofs
1) Safety First - Leak hunting is not a commando task. Before getting on your roof, prepare yourself with the right equipment and knowledge of general roof safety rules. This includes taking into account wind speed and rainfall.
2) Controlled Changes - Perhaps you already know the origin of the leak. Blindly ripping up shingles is not the best approach. Study each step of any roof repair project. Make sure that you make the right changes in the right place and in the right way.
3) Process of Elimination - Locating a roof leak can be tricky. Work in zones, beginning with your perceived leak-origin, but remembering that the point of visible water flow may not correspond with the source of the leak. Use a spotter to help pinpoint the core of the problem. This means one person in the attic and one or two on the outside. If you don't have someone to spot your ladder, find some way to tie it off. Don't permit a leak search to turn into a rushed hospital visit.
4) Cleaning - Clogged gutters can cause ice dams or other preventable roof leaks. When water is permitted to gather on your roof, leaks will soon follow. Prevention of gutter clogging is one of the major ways to help eliminate leaky roofs.
5) Dry Rot - When left un attended, dry rot only gets worse with time. Take care of this problem quickly. You can not afford poor roof maintenance.
6) Ice Dams - Ice storms are not a terrible problem to Charlotte homeowners, however an occasional blast of snow, sleet and freezing rain can disrupt our daily routines. Do not permit ice to build up on your roof. The very process of freezing and expanding can cause the roof shingles to crack. Likewise, water that gets trapped behind an ice dam can seep beneath the shingles and cause a leak that ruins your beautiful, freshly painted ceiling.
7) Quality Materials - This is not just a DIY tip. Whether buying materials only or hiring a professional Charlotte roofing contractor to handle the entire job, inspect the purchased materials. Ask to see the contractor's materials purchase receipt. He or she may not like revealing material costs, but a sales receipt confirms that the material is not salvage quality.
Avoid Costly Roof Repairs
Roof repair can be costly, but the longer you wait the greater becomes the expense. The roof on your Charlotte home protects your greatest investment. Maintain it. Care for it properly. And follow the above tips to ensure a reduced chance of accumulated home damage due to faulty roofing.