Can a hailstone puncture a roof? Do small hailstones cause damage? Unfortunately, the answer is yes to both. In this article, we’ll take a look at just how much hail damage needs to happen before a roof replacement is necessary.
Hailstones are formed when drops of water freeze in the clouds. Between 5 millimeters and 15 centimeters in diameter, these hailstones may be round or irregular in shape. Sometimes, they are even jagged and pointy.
During a thunderstorm, hailstones drop to the ground at speeds between 25 and 40 miles per hour. And since they are icy and sometimes jagged, you can imagine how much impact they hit with and the amount of damage they can do.
What is Roof Hail Damage and How Does it Affect Your Property?
Hailstorms can cause considerable damage to your roof, which can lead to costly repairs. Hail damage to a roof can range from minor dents and bruises to major structural damage. It is important for homeowners to understand what hail damage looks like, how it affects their property, and the steps they need to take in order to make an insurance claim. This article will discuss the basics of hail damage roof inspection, repair costs, and filing an insurance claim for hail damage.
How Does Hail Damage a Roof?
According to National Geographic, hail is formed when drops of water freeze together in the cold upper regions of thunderstorm clouds. As frozen droplets begin to fall from the clouds, they’re repeatedly lifted back up by an updraft. Each time the growing hailstone is lifted, it combines with additional moisture which adds another layer of ice.
Once the hailstone is heavy enough to escape the updraft, it falls from the sky.
Hail can be up to 4 inches in diameter or more and some hailstones fall at over 100 mph. That type of hail can do serious structural damage to property and is a leading cause of roof insurance claims.
On average, it takes hail that’s 1 inch or larger to cause damage to regular 3-tab organic asphalt shingles. Hailstones that are less in size may do less damage. Damage may include:
Flaking off of granules.
Large hailstones can also shatter other roofing materials such as wood shake, concrete, and clay tile roofing.
How Important Are Asphalt Granules?
When hails strike shingles, dents are formed, and granules come off. These granules may fill gutters. In addition, since the asphalt underneath is now exposed to the elements, it becomes loose.
A few weeks later, exposure to the harsh rays of the sun or extreme cold weakens the asphalt layer more and makes the shingles brittle. As the shingles become more exposed, they become more vulnerable to ultraviolet damage.
As the granules curl at the edges and continue to peel off, water may seep into utility closets, ceiling fans, or ceiling lights, causing a lot of problems. Plus, the wood surrounding the area may become moldy, promoting more moisture and the growth of algae.
Further, hail can cause damage to aluminium siding and gutters. Worse, the larger hailstones (softball-sized) are strong enough to puncture a roof, especially the older and more fragile ones.
After a hailstorm, you may notice the following damages:
Dents in the shingles
You may see dents when hail has dropped on or bounced off shingles. For the larger hailstones, you may see round-shaped dents in your shingles.
For a heavy storm involving hail, you can see some shingles that have become shiny, due to the granules that have fallen off.
Gutters or downspouts may contain granules
Hailstones bouncing off your asphalt shingles can cause the granules to come off. You may not see this when looking at your roof, but you may be able to spot granules in your gutters. This is a telltale sign that your roof is experiencing damage and deterioration.
As the granules flake off the shingles, the roofing is exposed, and water can begin to flow through your roof. Moisture building up in the decking below can lead to leaks, damaged ceiling lights and fans, and mold.
Mold on your roof can eat away or erode your roof, leading to expensive repairs. It also attracts sunlight because of its dark color, trapping heat in your home and leading to higher electricity bills.
Mold inside your home, on the other hand, is even more detrimental. Mold is especially dangerous to your health as it has toxic chemicals which can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea and vomiting.
Other illnesses caused by dampness and mold are respiratory symptoms such as asthma, bronchitis, and other infections.
How Much Hail Damage Does There Need to Be to File an Insurance Claim?
Most homeowners' policies pay hailstorm losses, even if your roof is old. How much hail damage does there need to be to replace your roof with an insurance claim? That’s hard to say. There’s no specifically defined standard.
If you suspect your roof has hail damage, you need to schedule a free roof inspection. We’ll come out and do a professional inspection with full documentation of the hail damage or send out one of our drone roof inspection teams to document everything.
The inspector will tell you how much damage there is and whether or not you should pursue an insurance claim at that point based on our experience.
What to Do After a Hailstorm
The steps you take immediately after a hail storm are very important. This can make or break your chances at filing a successful insurance claim.
1. Document the Damage
It would help if you could take pictures or videos of all the damage. This doesn’t just mean photos and videos of your roof. Damage to gutters, pipes, siding, vehicles, windows, etc. should all be documented.
If the damage was severe enough to cause leaks, make sure you document all interior damage as well.
2. Prevent Further Damage
You want to show that you did everything possible to prevent further damage from occurring. Typically this involves leaks and water damage issues.
For example, you can schedule your roof to be tarped to cover any holes where leaks are occurring. You can use buckets and towels to catch and absorb any leaking water. Just make sure you document the steps you took to prevent additional damage.
Save receipts for expenses to repair the damage for possible reimbursement from the insurance company.
3. Review Your Insurance Policy
Find out what your policy says about hail damage. Most policies cover hail damage, but you want to make sure you’re familiar with the policy details. When your inspector comes to determine the extent of the damage, it’ll be helpful if you can pass along your policy details.
Do You Need an Inspection?
A roof inspection is mandatory to evaluate and determine what kind of service your roof needs and to professionally document damage in preparation for filing a claim.
What Are Preventive Measures To Protect Your Roof?
Here are some steps you can take to reduce the risk of hail damage to your roof and minimize repair costs:
Regular maintenance: Conduct regular inspections of your roof to ensure that it is in good condition. Fix any small problems, such as loose or missing shingles, as soon as possible to prevent them from becoming bigger issues during a hailstorm.
Install impact-resistant roofing materials: Consider replacing your roof with impact-resistant materials that are designed to withstand hail damage. These may include metal roofing, asphalt shingles with a Class 4 impact rating, or tile roofing.
Trim trees and branches: Overhanging trees and branches can cause additional damage to your roof during a hailstorm. Trim any overhanging branches to prevent them from falling onto your roof and causing damage.
Install protective shields: Install protective shields, such as hail guards or screens, on skylights and other vulnerable areas of your roof to prevent hail damage.
Secure loose objects: Make sure that any loose objects, such as outdoor furniture, are securely fastened or brought indoors before a hailstorm. These objects can become projectiles and cause additional damage to your roof.
Consult with a roofing professional: Consult with a professional roofing contractor to discuss additional protective measures that may be appropriate for your specific roof and location.
What Size Hail Damages My Roof?
Generally speaking, hailstones larger than 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter can cause damage to asphalt shingles, while larger stones measuring 2 inches (5 cm) or more can damage almost any type of roof. However, it's important to note that even smaller hailstones can cause damage to older or more fragile roofing materials, and hailstorms with high winds or prolonged hail impacts can cause more severe damage.