9 Signs of Damage to Look for After a Winter Storm

reflection in pudle on street

When a severe storm hits your town, you are hopefully prepared in ways to keep yourself safe during it. You may have gear handy in case of a power outage and food and water available in case the roads are closed. While that’s all very good and certainly necessary, don’t think that the storm has figuratively passed just because the storm has literally passed.

Storms can do damage to your home and surrounding areas that may not rear its ugly head until it’s too late. Here is damage to look for after a major storm.

1. Small Cracks in Windows

If a branch continuously tapped against a window during strong winds, or a gust of wind blew a rock against one of your windows, then there is a chance you have some small cracks in your panes. These may not seem like a threat now, but these tiny cracks make that window weak; the next time something bangs against it, it will likely shatter. If somebody is standing near it, they could sustain severe cuts from the shards of glass. Inspect your windows for tiny cracks and replace those panes immediately.

2. Cracked Tiles Outside

If any tiles around your house were loose before the storm, they might have broken during the storm. Once a tile is cracked, future storms can slowly pick away at it, and those around it, making for a fragile and uneven walking surface.

3. Loose Stepping Stones

If you have a garden or walking grounds and you have lined the pathways with stepping stones, then the ground holding those stones in place probably loosened or shifted during the storm. It’s almost impossible to see that a stepping stone has been compromised just by looking at it, but if someone steps on one that is on a loose surface, it can slide out from under them and cause them to fall. Walk around your property and gently touch the stones lining your walkways to make sure they’re secure. If some have come loose, ask your landscaper to secure them.

4. Fallen Trees

If a small tree falls in your yard, you may not be in a rush to have someone remove it. But even a small tree can do a lot of damage if it falls on a power line, jams an outlet or lands on any appliance that heats up and could set the shrubbery on fire. Have all fallen trees removed immediately after a storm.

5. Broken Shingles

Check your roof for broken shingles, which are usually difficult to see at a glance. These can compromise the durability of your roof and increase your chances of suffering a leak during the next storm.

6. Water Damage to your Basement

If you forgot to close any of the windows that line the top of your basement, or if any of these broke during the storm, there could be some water damage to the foundation of your home. Depending on the age of your home, it’s possible that water that seeped into the ground around it infiltrated the structure of your house and caused water damage. Check on this below-ground room after a storm.

7. Corrosion on Stairways

Somebody may have put a weather-resistant coating on the stairway leading up to your home decades ago, but coating can wear off. If water has caused corrosion to the foundation of your steps, or even to the handrail, this can be incredibly dangerous down the line.

8. Cracked Trees

Take a close look at the trees around your property after a storm, especially if there were strong winds or lightning. If any of your trees suffered a major crack in its base, it might be at risk of falling over during the next storm. A landscaper can assess the damage for you and determine if the tree can be salvaged or must be cut down.

9. Large Piles of Debris in Your Yard

Do not allow your children to walk or play in your yard until you have cleared it of the large debris that flew into it during the storm. This debris could carry shards of glass, or even spiders and snakes.

Just because the birds are chirping and the sun is shining again doesn’t mean that it’s safe to go on about life as usual. Strong storms can take a toll on a home, so inspect yours thoroughly once the weather has calmed down.

Posted on Wednesday, March 15th, 2017