Hidden Hurricane Damage

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Hidden Hurricane Damage

flood damage from hurricane

You get back to your home or business after a mandatory evacuation for a hurricane and everything looks good – but is it? Things are not always as they appear on the surface, and many home and property owners find this out the hard way after a hurricane.

Roof Damage Is the Most Common and Pervasive Hidden Hurricane Damage

The condition of a roof can be deceptive in several ways. For one thing, roofs are hard to inspect. Finding damage on a roof is not as simple as walking up to a wall or window and seeing a hole or crack. Some of the difficult-to-spot roof damages include:

  • Broken shingle seals
  • Damage to flashing and sealing
  • Underlayment punctures

Subtle roof damage isn’t just caused by hurricanes. Despite hail being a relatively rare phenomenon, it causes an inordinate amount of property damage and claim payouts. As of 2017 wind and hail were actually the homeowners insurance loss leader, with 38.2 percent of all claim payments being attributable to wind and hail damage.

Subtle hail or wind damage can be very difficult to spot on shingles from the ground, but that doesn’t make it any less dangerous to your roof. The impact of ice balls or debris can knock off granules and weaken their hold on the shingle, accelerating granule loss and drastically reducing the roofs lifespan.

If your home has been through a hailstorm or a hurricane, scheduling a roof inspection is never a bad idea. Roofers know the signs to look for and can spot cracks in shingles, misalignment that could lead to leaks, hard to spot puncture marks or shingle lifting.

You may not notice any negative consequences right after the storm, but future rain – even months or years later – could suddenly spring leaks that were a direct result of damage sustained during a hurricane or hailstorm.

Water Damage and Mold Growth Behind Walls

There was a time when many homebuilders installed moisture barriers behind drywall as a standard building practice, but it has since been discovered that some of these barriers have the opposite of the desired effect. Years after installation, some of these barriers are actually trapping water in the space between your exterior wall and the interior drywall, making it a perfect breeding ground for mold.

Water can get behind walls in all sorts of ways, either through roof leaks, water blown in through attic ventilation, cracks in your exterior wall, plumbing leaks or flooding. If water damage gets behind the drywall of your Florida home you may not realize it, but it will lead to mold growth eventually.

If your home has been impacted by a hurricane, it’s likely a good idea to hire a contractor or independent claims adjuster to take moisture readings in your home.

Gutters and Downspouts

Builders have made a curious observation in regards to metal buildings specifically – the structures tend to lose gutters and downspouts to hurricane force winds at an alarming rate. This phenomenon has been attributed to the manufacturer-recommended use of fasteners every 36-inches, which isn’t actually adequate when hurricane force winds are whipping around the building. During normal wind conditions these gutters are fine, but often get ripped off during a hurricane.

Metal buildings are often in out-of-the-way industrial or commercial spaces, meaning the loss of gutters and downspouts on metal buildings often goes unnoticed. If you have metal buildings on your property, you may want to check them after a hurricane.  

Checking Seams for Water Infiltration

The seams of metal buildings are also vulnerable to hurricanes and wind-driven rains. These waterproof joints prevent water infiltration during normal circumstances, but the force of hurricanes and wind-driven rain can compromise seals or even slightly enlarge screw holes, weakening the structure’s integrity and allowing in water during future storms.

Vehicle Damage Can Sometimes be Tricky Too

Although home damage gets a lot more attention than cars after flooding, there are also hidden damages that can lurk under the hood after a hurricane. Your car may run again once the water has completely dried, although the chance for mold growth in flooded cars in Florida is extraordinarily high. It’s safe to say it would be a unique situation if your car didn’t develop a mold problem after flooding.

The resilience of some flooded vehicles is both a blessing and a curse. They have caused a lot of problems within the resale market, as people deodorize and clean a vehicles interior – maybe change the oil, clean the fuel lines and drain and replace the fuel – then try to resell the flooded car with a fake title.

The most severe and common problems that arise with hurricane flooded cars are caused by the corrosion of the wiring and electrical components, as well as damage done to the engine and drivetrain by exposure to salt water.

If you are buying a used car in Florida, make sure to check for the warning signs of a potentially flood damaged vehicle, such as musty odors inside or an overpowering deodorizing smell.