Hail storms cause a lot of damage to a roof. Hail damage to a roof isn’t always visible from the ground or something you can expect to see if you aren’t looking for it, which is why it’s impressive that it’s still the number one cause of home insurance claims related to roof replacements in the United States. Why? Hail damage may start from just a tiny piece of hail, but it significantly impacts roofing materials and their lifespan. Hail storms cause damage that can compromise your roof’s waterproofing ability as well as the shingle’s general resistance to wear and tear in the future. The impact of hail can be widespread but still virtually invisible to an untrained eye. If hail damage is left unchecked, the effects can cause even more damage over time.
This guide explains how hail damage affects your roof, how to identify it, and advice from a licensed roofing contractor about fixing hail damage if you have it. Read on to learn more!
What is hail damage?
Hail is precipitation formed when droplets of water freeze together in the cold upper regions of thunderstorm clouds. These chunks of ice are called hailstones. Most hailstones measure between 5 millimeters and 15 centimeters in diameter. In North Carolina, hail season generally occurs between May through October, with typical hail sizes averaging 0.5″ to 1″ in diameter. In any given year, hail damage is the number one cause of homeowners insurance claims, with 1 in 35 homeowners filing a roofing claim because of hail damage.
Before you notice the damage to your roof, you may see these common signs of hail damage around your home:
Your gutters and downspouts are impacted by hail damage too. Check if these items have any dents or dimples visible from the ground. If you see dented gutters, it’s likely your roofing shingles have damage as well.
Check your home’s siding for dents, cracks, paint chips, or holes.
Torn Window or Door Screens
Even small hailstones are capable of causing tears or holes in the window screen mesh.
Damaged Plants or Flowers
Hailstones can cause damage to flower beds and bushes. After a hailstorm, you’ll notice that leaves or blooms of plants have likely been torn off or damaged.
Roofing Company Yard Signs
If you’re seeing other roofing companies working in your neighborhood after a recent storm, all of the houses in your area were probably impacted.
What does hail damage look like?
We mentioned earlier that hail damage could be hard to identify if you don’t know what it impacts and how. When a roofing company inspects your roof, they check for signs of hail damage on your roof and gutter system and evaluate the exposed areas to see how extensive the damage is. Common signs of hail damage include:
Hail Marks on Shingle
When hailstones hit your roofing shingles, they may show subtle spots of granule displacement, dents in the surface, or holes.
Dented Roof Vents
Roof vents are often made of lightweight metal. Even small hailstones can cause dents and cracks in this material. Take a piece of chalk, turn it on its side, and rub it across these surfaces to reveal any hard-to-see dents and dings.
Check the roof for any missing shingles or shingle tabs that may have blown off during the storm.
Paint Chipped Satellite Dish
Look for chipped paint, spatter marks, or damaged satellite dish components.
Gutter Guard Deformities
Look for tears or deformation in metal or plastic leaf guards and screens on your gutters. Additionally, there may be shingle granules that will collect in your gutters.
What does hail damage do to a roof?
After a storm, we recommend that you perform a roof inspection or hire a roofing company to perform one for you. Hail damage can cause:
Shingle granules are sand-like particles on the top of the shingles. When a shingle loses granules, the asphalt coating is exposed to the elements and can lead to accelerated aging of your roof. After a hailstorm, take a look in your gutters and downspouts to determine if you have lost excessive granules during the storm. It is one of the easiest ways to detect potential storm damage. If you see a considerable accumulation of granules, we recommend hiring a local roofing contractor to come out and perform an inspection of your roof and check for additional roof damage.
Cracks in the Shingles
High winds or hard hail impacts can grip your shingles and cause them to crack or bend. This type of roof damage can lead to exposure and tears, leaving your roof with bare spots and potential leak sources. Cracked shingles cannot adequately protect your roof from the elements.
Exposed Fiberglass Mat
Hail impact on a roof can rupture the shingle’s surface, causing granules to break away from the fiberglass mat.
Fractured Fiberglass Mat
Fractured fiberglass can be harder to detect and requires a trained eye. Fractured fiberglass mats can result in tears and cracks from the point of hail impact.
Weakened Self-Seal Strip
Hail and high winds can weaken the integrity of the seal used on your shingles. Weakened seals are what cause shingles to loosen and eventually blow off your roof altogether, leaving your roof exposed to the elements. This type of damage can lead to roof leaks and cause a chain reaction on your shingles, causing you to lose multiple shingles within a short time.
Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to avoid being impacted by hail if you live in an area with frequent severe weather. There are steps you can take to prepare for hail events in your area. Check out our other guide below:
Should you replace your roof after a hail storm?
Hail can damage shingles by creating minor dents, fractures, and cracks around a roofing system. As a result, sudden roof leaks can occur. In the US, about 3,000 hail storms arise every year, causing billions of dollars in damage. Most insurance companies consider hail damage an “Act of God” and cover replacing the damaged roof.
That said, replacing your roof is a big decision. If you have a sudden roof leak after a storm, it’s wise to call in a professional roofing company to assess the damage on your roof. Choose a roofing contractor who specializes in storm damage inspections, is licensed and insured, and will give you honest feedback about the condition of your roof after a hail storm.
If your roof is relatively new and in good condition, the damage from hail may not be extensive enough to warrant a complete roof replacement. However, a roofing contractor may find a few bruised shingles and give you an estimate to replace a portion of the roof instead. Your best bet to find out if you should replace your roof after a storm is to call a professional. Most local roofing companies in your area will offer free inspections.
If you’re in the Charlotte, Matthews, or Waxhaw area in North Carolina and need to hire a roofing company, call Signature Exteriors today to schedule a complimentary inspection.
Does Insurance Cover Hail Damage?
Most homeowners insurance policies will include coverage of hail damage on your roof. This coverage can also include wind damage or any other “Acts of Nature,” which refer to any event outside human control that cannot be predicted or prevented.
Call your home insurance provider and ask for the details about your policy to understand better what types of roof damage they will help you cover.
Are you looking for a roofing company after a storm?
Whether you have just gone through a hail storm and are worried about the integrity of your roof, or you think you have hail damage from past hail storms, reach out to Signature Exteriors today. We will come out and perform a thorough inspection of your roof and provide you with solutions to repair any hail damage caused. If you decide to file an insurance claim, Signature Exteriors specializes in storm damage claims and can assist with the claim filing process. Give us a call today at (704) 729-4898 or email us at [email protected].