Hailstorms can wreak havoc on our properties, causing significant damage to our cars, windows, and roofs. While it may be easy to identify hail damage on a car or window, detecting hail damage on a roof can be more challenging. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the telltale signs of hail damage on a roof, how to spot it from the ground, and the steps to take when dealing with insurance claims and repairs.

Understanding Hail Damage on a Roof

Hail damage on a roof can vary in severity depending on the size of the hailstones, wind speed, roof material, and other factors. It is crucial to recognize the potential consequences of hail damage, as it can lead to roof leaks and other issues that compromise the integrity of your home. While some signs of hail damage may be obvious, such as cracked or dented shingles, others may be more subtle and require a trained eye to spot.

Signs of Hail Damage on a Roof

When assessing hail damage on a roof, it is important to consider both visible and less apparent signs. Large hailstones (1″ in diameter or bigger) often leave noticeable dents and dings on shingles. However, even if your roof lacks these large dents, it does not necessarily mean there is no hail damage present. Other signs to look out for include dings, dents, or splatter marks on roof vents, gutters, roof flashing, and other roof penetrations. If you observe any of these damages, there is a good chance that you may have a homeowners insurance claim.

Spotting Hail Damage from the Ground

While it is essential to prioritise safety and avoid walking on a roof without proper training, there are ways to assess hail damage from the ground. By examining specific areas of your property, you can identify visible signs of hail damage without putting yourself at risk. 

Check for dents or strikes on your garage door, holes in window screens, dings on painted wood or shutters, splatter marks or dings on electric metres, AC units, or grills, dents on mailboxes and other soft metals, and dents on the top of your car and its hood. These indicators can help you determine if it is necessary to contact your insurance company and file a claim.

The Insurance Claim Process

Before initiating the insurance claim process, there are three crucial things to keep in mind. Firstly, understand that the insurance process can be confusing, and unfortunately, some companies may try to take advantage of homeowners in stressful situations. Be aware of this and ensure you work with reputable roofing and insurance companies. Secondly, refrain from signing any paperwork from a roofing company before your insurance claim is approved, as this may limit your options and control over the repairs. 

Lastly, remember that insurance adjusters are not infallible and occasionally make mistakes. If your claim is denied but you believe your roof has storm damage, consider requesting a second adjuster or having an engineer inspect your roof.

What Does Hail Damage Look Like?

Hail damage on a roof can manifest in various ways depending on the severity of the hailstorm and the materials used. Understanding the specific types of damage will help you identify the extent of the problem and determine the necessary repairs. Here are some common forms of hail damage to look out for:

Granule Loss

Granules act as a protective layer on asphalt and composition shingles. When hail impacts the roof, it can cause granules to dislodge, exposing the underlying asphalt coating. Check your gutters and downspouts for an accumulation of granules, as this indicates potential hail damage.

Cracks in the Shingles

Strong hail impacts or high winds can lead to cracks in shingles. These cracks compromise the shingles’ ability to protect your roof, leaving it vulnerable to further damage. Inspect your shingles for any visible cracks or tears.

Exposed Fiberglass Mat

Hail impact can shatter the surfacing of shingles, causing it to break away from the fibreglass mat underneath. This exposes the underlying layers and increases the risk of leaks and other issues.

Fractured Fiberglass Mat

Fractured fibreglass mats may require a trained eye to detect. They can result in tears and cracks in shingles, originating from the point of hail impact. Look for any signs of fractures or abnormalities in the shingles.

Weakened Self-Seal Strip

High winds and hail can weaken the seal integrity of shingles, potentially leading to shingle blow-off and exposing your roof to the elements. Once a shingle is damaged, its effectiveness is permanently compromised, increasing the likelihood of leaks and further damage.

Determining Hail Damage from the Ground

While assessing hail damage from the ground is not a substitute for a professional inspection, there are visible signs that can indicate potential damage. By examining certain areas of your property, you can gather evidence to support an insurance claim or prompt further investigation. Look for dents and dings on your siding or window sills, damage to decks and porches, dents in gutters and downspouts, holes in window screens, and damage to air conditioning units. These signs suggest that your roof may have also sustained hail damage.

Inspecting the Roof for Hail Damage

Inspecting the roof itself is the most accurate way to determine the extent of hail damage. However, it is crucial to prioritise safety and consider hiring a professional roofer for this task. If you decide to inspect the roof yourself, exercise caution and follow safety guidelines. Look for dents, dings, or damage to vents, skylights, chimneys, and other roof surfaces. Pay close attention to the shingles, as they are often the most vulnerable to hail damage. Small or large dents and dings on the shingles are telltale signs of hail damage.

The Size of Hail and Roof Damage

The size of hailstones can provide insight into the potential damage they can cause. Hailstones smaller than 1 inch in diameter, such as marble-sized or pea-sized hail, are generally less likely to cause significant damage to a roof. However, strong winds accompanying small hail can increase the likelihood of damage. Hailstones measuring 1.5 inches or larger, such as golf ball-sized or larger, have the potential to cause severe damage to a roof and other surfaces.

Can Hail Damage a Metal Roof?

Metal roofs are known for their durability and resistance to various weather conditions, including hail. While metal roofs can withstand smaller hailstones without breaking, severe hailstorms can still cause damage. However, compared to traditional shingle roofs, metal roofs are generally more resilient and less likely to sustain significant damage from hail.

Conclusion

Hailstorms can cause significant damage to your roof, requiring immediate attention to prevent further issues. Understanding the signs of hail damage and conducting thorough inspections are crucial steps in protecting your home. Remember to prioritise safety and consult with professionals when necessary. By addressing hail damage promptly and working with reputable roofing and insurance companies, you can ensure the longevity and security of your roof.