Will hail from a storm damage my roof and cause leaks? Can small hailstones cause enough damage that a home will need a new roof? The answer to these questions is often “yes”. After a hail storm,it is recommended that homeowners contact a local roofing company to get an inspection to assess the damage to the roof of the home.
When droplets of water in the clouds freeze, hailstones begin to form. They are often between five and 15 cm in diameter. Hailstones can be of different shapes, such as round, regular, or jagged and pointy
During a storm, hailstones can fall to the ground at speeds of up to 40 mph. When these are shapes with pointed edges, they can have a damaging impact on what they land on.
How Do Hailstones Damage Roofs?
According to information from National Geographic, hailstones are formed in the upper region of thunderstorm clouds when water droplets freeze together. When these frozen droplets fall from the sky, they may get lifted back up repeatedly by updrafts. Every time a hailstone is lifted back up, it will combine with more moisture and add extra layers of ice.
Once a hailstone is too heavy for the updraft, it will fall from the sky. Larger hailstones can have a diameter of up to four inches and fall up to 100 mph. The size and speed of these types of hail can cause property damage and require homeowners to file an insurance claim.
Smaller hailstones may not cause significant damage. Typically, hailstones that are an inch or more can damage a home’s organic 3-tab asphalt shingles. Damage that hail can cause includes fractures, tears, punctures, and granule loss. Other roofing materials such as concrete, wood shake, and clay tiles can also be shattered.
The Importance of Asphalt Granules
When a hailstone hits a shingle, it can form dents. This causes the granules to come off. These granules can then clog your gutters. Also, the asphalt will be revealed and exposed to possible harsh weather.
After a few weeks, the shingles will become brittle as the sun or extreme cold starts to weaken each layer of the asphalt. When the shingles start becoming exposed, they will sustain damage due to ultraviolet rays.
The granules could start to curl their edges and peel off. When this happens, water can seep into ceiling fans, utility closets, and ceiling lights. The wood surrounding these areas may become moldy.
Hailstones can also wreak havoc on gutters and aluminum siding. Large, softball-sized hailstones may even puncture your roof, especially if it’s an older one. After a thunderstorm that causes hail, it is important to have your roof inspected immediately. The sooner you have it inspected and file an insurance claim, the better chance of getting it approved.
Signs Your Roof Sustained Hail Damage
After a hailstorm, there may be noticeable signs that indicate there was hail.
- Shingles are Dented
In the spots where hail has bounced or dropped off of your shingles, you will see dents. If the storm produced large hailstones, you may see large round dents. Additionally, a heavy storm with large hail could result in your shingles looking shiny after losing their granules.
- Granules in Downspouts and Gutters
When hailstones bounce onto your shingles, they can cause the granules to come off. You may not be able to tell from the ground that you’re granules are gone, but if you check the gutters and you spot them, this is a sign that your roof experienced damage from the hail and may start deteriorating.
- Water Leaks
When granules break off of the shingles, the roofing becomes exposed. This can lead to water intrusion through your roof. If moisture builds in the decking below the roof, this can lead to water leaks inside your home. Mold can lead to expensive repairs because it can erode your roofing materials.
Mold can also attract sunlight, which will trap more heat in your home. This can lead to higher utility bills. When water leaks cause mold inside your home, it can be difficult to fix. Mold can become toxic and cause health problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, asthma, and other gastrointestinal symptoms.
When Can I File an Insurance Claim for Hail Damage?
Even if your roof is old, many homeowners’ policies will pay for losses due to hail storms. It is difficult to say exactly how much damage there needs to be to open a claim. If you think you have hail damage, you should schedule an inspection right away. A professional roof inspector can tell you whether or not pursuing an insurance claim is worth it.
Steps To Take After a Hailstorm
Immediately after a hailstorm, the steps you take are important to be able to file a successful claim.
1. Record the Damage
Taking pictures or videos of the damage will help your case. This doesn’t just mean taking pictures of your roof, but you should also record damage to your pipes, gutters, vehicles, siding, windows, and anything else that was damaged.
2. Take Steps to Stop Further Damage
For your claim, it’s important to prove that you did everything possible to stop more damage from occurring. This means stopping any water damage caused by leaks. For example, you can hire a roofer to cover your roof with a tarp or place buckets in your home to catch falling water droplets. If you spend money on repairs, save the receipts to show proof when filing a claim to get reimbursed.
3. Read Insurance Policy
Before you try to file a claim, review your insurance policy paperwork to see if there’s any mention of hail damage. While many policies cover damage caused by hail storms, each policy is different. When you have a roof inspector come, pass on the information from your policy to help them during their inspection.
Roof inspections are necessary if you plan to file a claim for hail damage. This will tell your insurance company what kind of servicing your roof needs while they are going over your claim.