What Does Hail Damage Look Like on a Roof?

Multiple hail strikes on roof with damage circled

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Hail storms are common in most climates at least once a year.  Most of the time, cars are the receiving end of 1 to 4-inch diameter hailstones, but so is the roof of your home. In that case, you may be wondering, “What does hail damage look like on a roof?”

Here’s What Hail Damage Looks Like

Hail impacts to your roof often cause damage, where you can spot bruises on the shingles and a significant loss to your roof’s granules. The damage can look like it misaligned your shingles or just left a few marks. 

close up of hail damage on roof circled with chalk

There are several easy ways to recognize the damage to your roof caused by hail. Most insurers categorize the damage as either functional or cosmetic in nature as they address it. 

Functional damage affects the performance of your roof or its structure.

The following constitute visible roof hail damage: 

  • Cracks on the shingles
  • Fractured or broken shingles
  • Dents/ impact marks on the roof  

Cracks on the Shingles

When a hailstone impacts your shingles, the shingles can crack. These cracks change the look and function of the shingle.

Fractured or Broken Shingles

close up of broken shingles from hail damage on roof

In some cases, hail impact can completely break or fracture your shingles. When the damage is severe, pieces of your shingles will actually fall off. This level of damage is often the result of softball-sized hail with high wind velocity.

Dents or Impact Marks on the Roof

Dents and marks are a common indication of hailstone impact.

Dents or impact marks on the roof happen when the hailstone hits hard on its surface. These are often visible hit marks on several places like the roof, the air conditioner at the top of your vent, or other outdoor items. 

Hail damage doesn’t just look bad. It causes shingles to lose some or all of their protective granules and coverage. Upon close inspection, you can see areas where the granule layer is scraped off or has a hole on its surface. 

These functional damages may go unnoticed most of the time since roofs are at the top of your home. This is why it’s important to always get a free inspection after inclement weather to ensure there’s no damage. If this type of damage is left unnoticed, bigger issues like roof leaks and water damage can occur.

Cosmetic Damage

Depending on the type of roof you have and the extent of the hail damage, it’s possible that the hail impacts only cause cosmetic issues. This can often be the case with metal roofs, as an example. If this is true for your situation, a roof claim may be ruled out.

Hailstone Size

man holding hailstones to show the size

Since hailstones vary in size, the severity and impact to your roof may also vary.  The majority of hailstone sizes range from a pea-sized 1/4-inch diameter to ones the size of a softball. 

While smaller sizes have less density, they have a rapid impact on the wind direction because they are lighter to carry. These hailstones can harm your garden and flowerbeds, but they are not as harsh as softball-sized ones. 

Meanwhile, a softball-sized 4-inch diameter hailstone can aggravate the condition of your exterior because they fall from the clouds to your roof with higher density and bigger impact. 

Hailstone Shape

Hailstones also vary in shape. It doesn’t give you the typical snow-like polished structure, but instead, some of them are crystallized. Combined with the large-sized hailstones, the crystals directly scratch the shingles of your roof. 

Wind Speed and Direction of Hailstorm

Lastly, the wind speed and direction, depending on the shape of the hailstone, also determines the damage that your roof encounters.

The impact can be quite extensive. For the two to four inches hailstones, the expected speed of their impact is between 44 to 72 mph. Most of the time, when the wind carries a large hailstone, you can expect extensive damage to some areas such as the roof, the windows, and the body of your car.

What Happens When You Have Roof Hail Damage?

After learning what hail damage looks like on a roof, the next thing to know is its possible effects. The damage mentioned above can easily result in water leakage inside your home, which is why it’s important to get an inspection any time there’s hail in your area.

The dents and the loss of protective granules on your roof shingles may leave a small hole and inevitably expand if left neglected. Aside from that, roof hail damage such as fractured or broken shingles will eventually make the shingle fall off entirely.

Can Hail Roof Damage Be Repaired?

roofer repairing damage from hail impacts to roof

Damage to your roof from hail can certainly be repaired, but it depends on the extent of the damage and many other factors.

We wrote a very useful article that you should check out answering the question, Should I Repair or Replace My Roof?

Aside from reading that, your best bet is to schedule a free roof inspection. Once we see the condition of your roof, we can advise you on exactly what to do.

Will Insurance Cover Hail Damage to My Roof?

Most insurance policies cover hail damage, but it’s crucial to submit a claim as soon as possible. Read our guide on how to file an insurance claim so you know exactly what steps to take.

The Bottom Line

Hail damage may start with a few dents and discoloration and may seem unnoticeable at first. However, many of the most serious issues are only visible to professional roof inspectors. Have your roof inspected for free as soon as possible.

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