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How to tell if your roof has hail damage

You might be wondering if you have roof hail damage, if a hail storm has recently come through your neighborhood. Even if the hail stones weren’t very big, they can still cause damage to your roof, flashing, vents, etc. Below, we show you what roof hail damage looks like (with pictures), what size of hail can damage a roof and how the damage is caused, whether your roof can be repaired or if it should be completely replaced, and more.

How do you know if you have hail damage on your roof?

Here are a couple photos of what roof damage from hail looks like on an asphalt shingle roof.

asphalt shingle roof with hail damage asphalt shingle roof with hail damage

What size hail can damage a roof?

We get asked all the time what size hail will damage a roof. The fact is, it depends. Even small, dime-size hail stones can cause damage if a strong enough wind is behind it. A general rule of thumb, however, is quarter size hail or larger. If you get dime-size hail, you might want to check out your roof, flashing, etc. to see if there’s damage. Try to avoid walking on your roof, as this will only loosen the granules and shorten the lifespan of your roof. You should be able to see damage from standing on a ladder that leaning against your gutter or fascia board. Anything smaller than dime-sized usually doesn’t cause much damage.

If you get quarter-sized hail or larger, there’s a better change you have damage and you should have your roof inspected by a professional roofing company right away. If you have new impact-resistant shingles, that chance goes down slightly, but you should still have your roof inspected.

How does hail damage a roof?

Roof hail damage occurs when the hail stone hits the asphalt shingle and bounces off. The shock from the impact causes granules to bounce off, which exposes the fiberglass mat underneath. These are the small, black areas you see in the photos above. As a result, your roof is now vulnerable to water leaks. This type of damage is noticeable immediately. There will be, however, more damage that you can’t see, which is why you should have your roof inspected right away by a professional roofer.

Can your roof be repaired or should it be replaced?

Whether your roof can be repair or if it needs to be completely replaced depends. Here in Colorado, most of the time hail stones come straight down. Therefore, often your entire roof is affected by the storm. Rarely does wind accompany a hail storm, here. If there are strong winds, hail can come down at an angle. In this case, one side of your roof could get more damage than the other and you might only have to replace that one side of your roof. Have your entire roof inspected, however.

Also, a storm never drops one, large hail stone onto a roof. It’s always hundreds of stones. Furthermore, because there’s always hidden damage, most often the entire roof needs replacing. To determine whether your roof needs repaired or replaced, have your roof inspected by a roofing professional.

How soon should you have your roof fixed?

If you’re ready this article, you probably already suspect you might have hail damage. Therefore, have your roof inspected right away. If hail damage has been found, it should be fixed immediately to avoid water leaks and other damage. The longer you wait to have your roof fixed, the more damage will occur and the more it will cost to fix it.

Vulnerable parts of your roof

Your roof

Obviously your roof is the most exposed part of your house, when it comes to hail. Is it necessarily the most vulnerable, however? That depends on which roofing product you have, which features it has, which manufacturer made it, if it’s installed correctly, etc.

Let’s use Owens Corning’s roofing shingles, as an example. They offer a wide variety of shingles. If you live in an area that gets hail storms, and you have Owens Corning’s least expensive shingles, which aren’t impact-resistant, I would say your roof is vulnerable. Now, by ‘vulnerable’ I mean weak and susceptible to harm given the threat of hail.

If your Colorado home has their Duration Storm shingles, which are impact-resistant, I would say your roof is not vulnerable for several years, given the usual hail storms Colorado gets.

Thin metal

Thin metal parts, such as flashing and vents, are vulnerable to hail because often they’re made from galvanized steel or aluminum.

Summary

If you see quarter-sized hail, or larger, in your yard, call a professional roofer immediately to get on their schedule for an inspection. Most roofing companies offer free inspections. When a hail storm does come through a neighborhood, folks flood roofing companies with phone calls and emails, so do be patient with them. If the roofing company confirms roof hail damage, contact your insurance company and start your roof hail damage insurance claim right away. You’ll be glad you did 🙂 . Lastly, if you have roof hail damage, you probably have roof insurance claim questions.

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