After the Storm: What You Need to Know About Roof Hail Damage

Your home’s exterior may be nearly impervious to the many faces of Mother Nature, but hail may be the exception. Hail causes extensive damage to shingles of many different materials, leaving your home vulnerable to water damage if the shingles fail.

The trouble with some hail damage, however, is that the harm is not always clearly visible directly after the storm has passed. Damage can take several weeks or even months to fully manifest, but in order to protect your home from further harm, you need to recognize and correct roof damage before it becomes a major problem.

Here’s what you need to know about how hail can affect your roof and how you should respond after a big storm to check that your shingles made it through unscathed.

Factors Affecting Damage

Just because you’ve had a hail storm does not automatically mean your roof is compromised. The extent of the damage is dependent on several factors, including:

  • Wind. If the storm was accompanied by high levels of wind, the force and angle of the hailstones when they hit your shingles could have been much more severe. This increases the chance of damage.
  • The size and shape of stones. Larger stones fall with greater force, and irregularly shaped stones can hit with the energy concentrated on a single sharp point or ledge instead of as a dull sphere. Large, sharp stones can puncture your shingles.
  • The age of your roof. Some types of shingles become more brittle with age. These older shingles are more easily cracked by falling stones.
  • The material of your roof. Asphalt shingles can lose sand, thus losing longevity. Wooden shingles might splinter or crack. Clay shingles might chip.

Hail does not fall predictably, so some patches of your roof might be damaged while others are perfectly fine.

Signs of Damage

Some shingles may not look damaged from the ground because of shadows or other irregularities. Signs of hail damage to look for include:

  • Patches of discoloration. Hail may leave black spots on asphalt shingles where the sand was beaten away. On wooden shingles, melting stones might leave rings.
  • Streaks or brightly colored cracks and chips. Streaks and colored cracks and chips are most common on wooden roofs, where the hail has cracked shingle, revealing fresh wood that has not weathered grey.
  • Splits in shingles that have not been caused by deterioration. Some shingles split because they are too old. Hail-damaged shingles can split on impact, even if the shingles were in good condition.
  • Dents in flashing and siding. If metal or vinyl exterior features are affected, your roof is also likely affected.
  • Sand or other roofing material in the gutter or downspouts. This is a sign of extensive damage to shingles, even when you are not able to see the harm done.

Sometimes you might actually mistake other damage for hail damage. For example, shingles might have split from age instead of hail, or patches or spots might appear as a result of blistering. These marks are still signs of damage and should be addressed, but they won’t be covered by home insurance.

Keep in mind that some signs of damage might be difficult to spot. Without a close inspection, you might not be able to find and replace all the damaged shingles. However, you should not give in to the temptation to climb up on your roof yourself to look. Not only could you injure yourself, but if you walk on your roof after the storm, you could have trouble getting compensation from your insurance company.

Instead, it’s better to contact a roofing company and your insurance agent for a damage assessment.

Reasons to Repair Your Roof

If no shingles are lost or broken, you might wonder why it’s worth bothering to replace a few discolored or chipped shingles. The reality is that any shingle with hail damage is weakened. Under the normal stress of regular weather, like rain or snow, the shingle will wear out faster.

A leak may then develop where the shingle was damaged. If you have several damaged shingles that are not replaced, these leaks can be extensive and expensive to repair.

Contact us at Advantage Roofing for more information on inspecting and replacing hail-damaged exteriors.