Following a hail storm, it is wise to have a roofing expert conduct a hail damage inspection on your home. Hail can cause a surprising amount of damage to your roof, some of which you may not notice initially but will worsen over time, leaving you with a fragile roof and costly repairs.
Signs of Hail Damage On Your Roof to Look For
You will not be able to completely assess the damage from the ground, but you will still likely be able to spot a few signs. If you notice any of these, then make sure to schedule an inspection with a reputable roofer as soon as you can. Some of these signs are easier for the untrained eye to spot than others, while some require an expert’s eye.
Gutters, Gutter Screens, and Downspouts
Look at your gutters, downspouts, and gutter screens from the ground, with an eye for any dents. It is common for gutters to experience at least some impact damage in cases when the hail damaged the roof significantly. Dents can be large or small, so pay close attention.
Siding and Windowsills
Next, look at the windowsills or casings and the siding. Once again, these parts of your home are likely to have some damage if the roof has been significantly damaged. While you inspect these home components from the ground, also pay attention to any exposed metal, such as the metal fascia on your roof eaves. Even a slight ding can indicate the roof was likely damaged.
Air Conditioner and Outdoor Items
One of the few areas in which you will be able to see damage from the ground is your air conditioners or other items that you have outside your home. Once again, if the hail was strong and large enough to damage the air conditioner or other items, then it was likely strong enough to damage your roof as well. As a bonus, you will be able to make an insurance claim on the air conditioner if you catch the damage right away.
Outdoor Painted Surfaces
Finally, look at the actual surfaces outside, specifically those that have been painted or treated in some way. Chipped paint is a potential sign of damage from hail, although it can also indicate something else.
Identifying Hail Damage to Shingles
The most important part of any inspection will be the shingles on the roof. If there is damage to the shingles, you have a significantly stronger chance of making a successful insurance claim, although it varies based on damage and your coverage.
Unfortunately for those without experience, some hail damage to shingles is obvious but that is not always the case. Sometimes, you will also have to get fairly close to the shingles to spot the damage.
As you examine the shingles, look at the surface granules. Hail is very likely to knock some of these off. While a few missing surface granules is not a big deal, it is due to the force that knocked them off. If your roof was exposed to that amount of force, it is very possible that the shingle’s integrity was compromised. That can lead to leaks down the road.
Identifying Hail Damage on Roof Vents, Chimney Covers, and Other Rooftop Components
If you inspect your roof or have a roofer inspect the structure for damage, pay attention to roof vents and other features, like skylights for damage. Dents, chipped surfaces, and dings are all potential signs of damage.
Damage tends to be more obvious on soft metal vents than on chimney covers. In the latter case, you may have to run chalk sideways over the surface to spot damage.
Hail Damage on Metal Roofs
While shingles are among the most popular roof types, especially for residences, they are far from the only one. On metal roofs, the hail damage is most likely to appear as dents. Conveniently, this makes the damage relatively easy to spot.
Hail Damage on Shake Roofs
Wooden shingles will simply split down their middle if they get hit by a piece of hail. This also makes the damage very obvious.
In the case of cedar shakes, there may also be slight indents, cracks, and chips on the shakes.
Hail Damage on Clay or Slate Roofs
If your roof is made of slate or clay, then it is likely to have gouges or cracks from the hail.
Identifying Hail Splatter or Spatter
Another type of hail damage that can occur is to your air conditioner or other outdoor appliances to the roof itself, is hail splatter or spatter. This happens if hail that is slushier leaves behind stains or discolored markings when it hits.
In most cases, hail splatter does not cause enough damage to be seriously worried about, and your insurance is unlikely to cover these repairs. However, it can be an important indication that other hail damage is present. The marks can also let you know how large the hail was and which direction it came from, which makes it easier to spot and assess other damage.
Is Hail Likely to Cause Damage?
Although numerous different factors affect whether hail will cause damage to your roof and its structures, the general rule of thumb is that if it is at least one inch in diameter, it will damage asphalt shingles. For reference, this is about the size of a quarter. The hail may have to be slightly larger to inflict damage on your roofing. For example, cement tiles and concrete tiles typically need hail that is at least 1 ¼ inch to cause damage. Cedar shakes or 30-year laminated shingles need 1 ½ inches and built-up gravel roofing or S-shaped concrete tiles need two inches diameter.
Because you can never be sure without having an expert on your roof, it is wise to have an inspection done. This is especially true if the hail was at least an inch in diameter.