Insurance adjuster marked the hail damage to shingles on a insureds roof.

Identifying Hail Damage to Shingles – A Complete Guide

Waking up after a hailstorm and finding your vehicle damaged is not a great way to start your day. But hailstorms can damage not only your car but the rest of your property, as well. One crucial part of your property that you need to think about after a hailstorm is a roof. Hail damage to shingles can not only shorten the life of your roof but can also lead to a roof replacement.

Hail-damaged shingles can be quite tricky to spot if you do not know where to look. It is the reason why we will help you find out what hail damage looks like and catch it early enough to avoid costly repairs or a complete replacement later on.

If you are a homeowner, this article will help you explore all the important questions related to hailstorm damage to the roof, such as –

  • What is Hail and How It is Formed?
  • How Does Hail Damage a Roof?
  • What Size Hail Causes Roof Damage?
  • How to Determine If the Roof Has Hail Damage from the Safety of the Ground?
  • What to Do If I Believe There is Hail Damage?
  • Can Hail Damage to Roof be Repaired?
  • Why Should You Not Ignore Hail Damage to Shingles?
  • Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Storm Damage?
  • Is the Hail Damage Cosmetic or Functional?

In simple terms, hail is pellets of frozen rain that falls in showers. Hail can cause massive damage to buildings, homes, and vehicles. When the temperature falls below freezing point, a hailstone forms around a particle of dust. The wind carries it high into the storm and causes the nascent to quickly freeze and grow in size. It then picks up more moisture from the water vapor and the rain while it is tossed lower into the atmosphere. Here, it is again snatched into the storm and freezes again. As the hail circles back the fourth due to the powerful storm winds, the hailstone grows in size. When it becomes quite heavy, it falls to the ground causing damage to homes and vehicles.

Hail Damage to Shingles

During a hailstorm, your first concern would be to protect your family or any vehicle that might be outside. But, once the hailstorm is over and it is okay for you to go outside, you should consider the condition of your roof. Hail damage to shingle roofs or any other type of roof could mean major – and even costly – problems for you and your family. The severity of hail damage on the roof depends on a number of factors. These include the following:

Hailstones vary in size, shape, and density. Larger-sized hailstones cause the worst damage, and when they are accompanied by winds, they can have a powerful and dangerous impact on the roof. However, even small-sized hailstones can trigger leaks and compromise the integrity of the roof.

Every type of material will absorb and respond to hailstone impact differently. Hail will cause cracks on vinyl siding or wood shake, while it will cause dents and dings in asphalt shingles and aluminum siding. Larger hailstones can be quite strong and cause punctures, too.

The age and the present condition of your roof will also affect the level of hail damage to shingles. A neglected roof will sustain serious damage and be at a higher risk of damage than a newer or well-maintained roof.

The speed, direction, and intensity of the hailstorm will affect the extent of damage to your roof. High winds accompanying the hailstorm will have serious damage as it contributes to the angle and the velocity of the impact.

Landscaping, tall tree covers, or neighboring structures around the property can help minimize the impact of the hailstorm to a great extent.

Hail on a shingle roof after a strom

The size of the hail is the easiest way to understand the extent of damage to your roof. Hail of all sizes can cause damage to your roof depending on the existing condition of your roof and the speed of the impact of the hailstones on your roof. Here is a size guideline to give you a rough indication of what damage you should expect:

Dime-sized hail does not typically cause any extensive damage to roofs. However, if your roof is old and in bad condition, even dime-sized hail can dislodge granules from shingles and damage the gutter system. When dime-sized hail is accompanied by high wind speeds, it can cause irreversible hail damage to shingles.

Quarter-sized hail may not cause damage to the roof, but it can create excess wear on a roof and speed up the process of erosion. If your shingles are already damaged, there is a greater chance of them breaking down. Also, the higher falling speed of quarter-sized hail will increase impact damage to a great extent.

Hail larger than a quarter is a big risk to any roof – whether old or now. They are large enough to damage the shingles and cause dents and break the roofing material. Thus, it is essential to have your roof checked after a storm of large-sized hail.

Four large hail stones on a picnic table after a hailstorm left siding and roofing damages at Lake of the Ozarks

Identifying hail destruction in your house’s siding is pretty easy. But, hail damage to the roof is much harder to spot as the signs are not always visible from the ground. Instead of waiting for obvious signs of hail damage to shingles to appear, such as water leaking into the house, it is critical to know some major signs of hail damage so you can get a roof repair and prevent structural damage.

  • Missing, Cracked, or Broken Shingles – These will be pretty easy to check as they will leave parts of the roof exposed and even cause a break in the straight line of the shingles.
  • Change in Color where Granules are Knocked Off – The damaged spots will be darker as the shingles’ tar beneath the protective layer will be exposed.
  • Granules in Gutters – Granules from damaged or broken shingles will find their way into the gutters or in the downspouts.
  • Gutters are Clogged – Another obvious sign is finding pieces of shingles clogging the gutters.
  • Water Spots in the Attic – If you notice leaks from the attic, the chances are that the hail storm has caused serious damage to the roof.

These signs may be subtle or obvious, but either way, the damage can erode the roof even more over time. So, it is best to have an expert inspect your roof thoroughly after a hailstorm to identify the extent of the damage and have it repaired before it gets worse.

Spots where granules are missing on a hail-damaged shingle

If you suspect your roof is damaged, call a professional roofing contractor to examine your roof and determine the extent of the damage. The professionals are experts in the field and will examine your roofing materials, roof flashings, gutters, and every area of your roof. They will determine the level of roofing damage and make recommendations on what your next step should be.

Depending on the extent of the damage and the condition of your roof, repairing hail damage to shingles can be as simple as replacing a few shingles or as extensive as replacing the entire roof. The variety of options available for hail storm repairs is the reason why it is best to have a professional inspect the roof. They can help determine the severity of the damage and the kind of roof repairs it will need. You may not need repairs for a few minor instances of dents on the shingles or the gutters. However, more severe damage to the roof will need immediate attention to prevent any further damage to your house.

If you suspect your roof is damaged, call a professional roofing contractor to examine your roof and determine the extent of the damage. The professionals are experts in the field and will examine your roofing materials, roof flashings, gutters, and every area of your roof. They will determine the level of roofing damage and make recommendations on what your next step should be.

While the most noticeable and severe roof damage comes from large-size hailstones, even less violent storms can cause damage that builds up over time. Hail damage may cause your shingles to weaken and pull away, resulting in other issues. The damage to the roof structure can have a ripple effect on the entire roofing system and other parts of your house. Additionally, the exposed part of the roof can become brittle and susceptible to leaks from the sun’s UV rays.

A damaged roof will absorb more water and snow, causing the shingles to expand and damage them further. Plus, a damaged roof will not insulate your home property. It can result in leaks which can introduce mold inside the house and lead to electrical damage that can be very expensive to fix. Being proactive with hail damage repairs will ensure the issues do not get out of hand and keep your home in perfect condition.

Thus, if you do not think your roof has experienced damage from the hailstorm, it is still smart to get a maintenance roof inspection anyway, especially if you notice that other properties close to you have experienced hail damage.

Hail storm in Jefferson City, MO

Hail damage is covered by home insurance in most states. However, the coverage will depend primarily on where you live, your insurance company, and how your policy is set up. It is best to check your homeowners’ insurance to find out whether hail damage is covered by your insurance. The home insurer will typically need you to file a claim within one year after your roof has sustained hail damage. This is yet another reason why it is advisable to have your roof inspected by a professional as soon as you suspect the possibility of hail damage. It will help you assess the damage and get a quote for necessary roof repairs. A reputable roofing contractor will help you through the process of insurance filing and ensure a positive experience.

Hail damage to shingles can be of two types – cosmetic or functional. Cosmetic damages do not compromise the integrity or the lifespan of the roof. On the other hand, functional hail damage shortens the roof of the lifespan and its structure. The difference between cosmetic and functional damage is often an area of contention when it comes to insurance. Thus, it is best to have a roofing company identify the kind of damage your property has sustained. This can help ensure that your roof will be restored to its previous condition before the hailstorm damage occurred.

Now that you know a little more about hail damage, perhaps you want to find out if you have damage to your roof. Fortunately, Roof Lux can help! Our experts can diagnose any roofing problems you may have and give you a free estimate for any repairs that may be needed. So if you’re a homeowner or commercial property owner who wants to know if your roof has any storm damage, contact us today. We’ll be glad to help!

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