Hail Damage Roof Repair 101: How to Tell If You Need It and How It Works

a detail of a hail damage roof

No matter how many precautions people take, there are moments in life when accidents can’t be avoided. Roof hail damage is one of those unavoidable mishappens in life. Although it may not sound serious, hail damage to roofs can represent a serious problem if it’s not opportunely taken care of. Hail damaged roofs can be dangerously frail. In order to prevent this, it’s important to know how to tell if your roof has this kind of damage. The following guide will help you identify different types of hail damage to roofs. At the same time, you’ll learn what to expect from it.

What is Roof Hail Damage?

six hailstones in someone's hand

Hail is an extreme form of water precipitation. It consists of ice pellets of varying sizes falling from the clouds. Put simply, hail damage to a roof occurs when these ice pellets are large and heavy enough to cause considerable damage to the shingles of the roof. Although it can vary, this tends to happen whenever the hailstones are larger than 0.75 inches. However, there are different forms hail damage can acquire. These variations are caused by factors such as the following:

• Size and density of the hailstones: Hailstones can vary in size enormously. They can be small as a pea or big as a softball. To make things worse, they become heavier as their density increases. This heaviness, in combination with their hard edges, makes them more harmful.

• Wind: The speed and direction of the wind can cause hailstones to impact the roof in different angles, potentially affecting vulnerable areas.

• Barriers: Neighboring structures such as other homes, fences, and trees can alter the strength and frequency of the impact of hailstones on a roof. This can significantly reduce hail damage to the roof.

Most Common Signs of Hail Damage to Roofs

an experienced officer, inspecting a roof

Because hailstorms can greatly vary in magnitude and intensity, their resulting damage to a roof can also range between mild and extreme. Averaging approximately $15 billion annually, hail damage accounts for approximately 40 percent of all insurance losses during recent years. However, the extent of the damage varies according to each particular case. Without a doubt, the materials and styles applied to its construction are determinating factors. Although there are various forms of hail damage on roofs, they can be classified into two main categories based on the type of materials that are affected.

Hail Damage on Asphalt and Composition Shingles

• Shiny Spots: Contrasting the normal areas around them, recently damaged spots on shingles tend to look slightly shiny and glossy.

• Black Spots: One of the most common signs of old hail damage to roofs consists of bruise-like dark spots. Often, they also show granule dispersion and a lack of structural consistency.

• Granule Loss: Even without spots or marks of any sort, granule loss tends to be a sign of hail damage. When granules are lost, the matting of the shingle becomes exposed.

• Softened Indentation: Visible dents on the shingles are sometimes soft to the touch. If that is the case, it could very well be a case of hail damage. As a matter of fact, structural consistency is required all throughout the extension of the roof.

Hail Damage on Wood, Slate and Tile Shingles

• Damage Without Discernable Pattern: Hail damage to a roof tends to be random. It is also especially visible on wood, slate, and tile. If you can see a discernible pattern on the shingle, chances are it’s not hail damage but normal wear and tear.

• Split or Cracked Shingles: Even though they may seem harmless initially, splits can easily expand due to prolonged exposure to the elements. Tiles, in particular, tend to become cracked, usually showing an orange or brown interior.

• Punctured Shingles: Sometimes, extra-large hailstones can cause punctures on the shingle, particularly if it is wooden. This puncture often the underlying layers visible. If the impact is too intense, it can even puncture through various layers, greatly reducing the life of the roof. Extended exposure to hailstorms can also erode the edges of wooden shingles, gradually reducing their lifespan as well.

What to Expect from Hail Damage a Roof Repair

As you have probably realized by now, roof hail damage is not an easy thing to deal with. Damaged shingles can cause water to leak through, possibly causing damage to roof decks, interior walls, support structures and even windows. Additionally, houses with this problem have an increased risk of mold growth because of excess moisture. The most extreme cases of hail damage can cause wood rot, jeopardizing the structural integrity of the entire building.

Luckily, there are professionals that can repair any roof, despite the extent of its damage. This repair will likely entail replacing damaged shingles with new ones, fitting and fixing damaged corners, applying sealant to cracks and other such procedures. However, if there are damages to the roof deck or other internal structures, further repairs will be necessary.

If your roof presents any of the previously mentioned signs of damage, it is highly important to contact a company that specializes in roofing. They will provide an expert evaluation in order to determine what repairs are needed. Keep in mind that most comprehensive insurance plans will cover this kind of damage, potentially reimbursing you for most of the cost of repairs.

To Conclude With

Unexpected and unavoidable at the same time, hail damage can be terribly detrimental. However, modern techniques and materials have made it relatively straightforward to repair a damaged roof. Although it can get costly, roofing professionals today able to make speedy repairs that will completely restore looks and functionality. However, in order for this to happen, it is important to be able to recognize serious hail damage, differentiating it from normal wear and tear. Looking for the aforementioned signs will undoubtedly help you do this, letting you know when it is time to contact a professional.

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