Assessing Roof Damage Caused by Hail

Hail is one of mother nature’s most destructive forces, causing upwards of $1 billion worth of property and crop damage each year, according to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Catching the northern tip of the country’s infamous Tornado Alley, Minnesota is particularly prone to hail damage. Each year, thousands of residents deal with the aftermath of this destructive, and costly, force of nature.

It’s frustrating when you wake up the morning after a storm, only to discover that your home’s roof has been severely damaged from hail. Whether it’s a softball or golf ball-sized, those chunks of ice falling from the sky can wreak havoc on roofs. As a homeowner, though, you should assess the damage and take those initial steps towards repairing the damage. Because the longer you wait, the greater the risk of other damage occurring.

How Hail Damages Roofs

Hail damages roofs in several different ways. As it slams against the protective shingles covering the roof, hail knocks loose the granules on the asphalt layer. These granules will then make their way to the gutters, where they accumulate clog the roof’s drainage system. A tall-tale sign of hail damage is shingle granules in the gutters.

Without the granules covering your roof’s shingles, the sun’s powerful ultraviolet (UV) rays will beam down and weaken the asphalt layer. Over time, UV exposure will make the shingles brittle, and eventually they will crack and crumble.

The extent of roof damage caused by hail varies depending on a number of factors, including the following:

  • Size of hail
  • Wind speeds
  • Presence of tree limbs slowing hail as it falls
  • Mass of hail
  • Age and Condition of roof before hail occurred

What About Water Damage?

When large hail damages a roof, it’s not uncommon for water to seep into the home. This in itself can cause extensive, costly damage that homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover. Hail can chip away at roof shingles, creating pockets in which water settles. So instead of draining down and away from the home, water accumulates on the roof and eventually seeps into the home.

Why is this a problem? Well, when water enters the home, it encourages wooden structures to rot and mold to form. Wood is a highly porous material, containing thousands of microscopic pores that absorb moisture. It’s perfectly normal for wood to absorb some moisture. But when exposed to large concentrations, it becomes saturated to the point where rot and decay takes hold.

Moisture from a hail-damaged roof can also lead to mold if the roof is not repaired. Mold thrives in damp, moist environments, jeopardizing the health and safety of family members. Repairing the damaged roof in a timely manner, however, mitigates the risk of mold and other moisture-related problems (e.g. damage to electrical wiring).

What Should I Do?

Time is of the essence when repairing a roof damaged by hail. You should contact a professional roof repair company ASAP to inspect the damage and provide a quote on the repair. In the meantime, collect as much information about the hail damage as you can. Take photos of both your roof and any hail that’s remaining on your property (assuming it’s still intact).

You should also review your homeowner’s policy to determine what’s covered and what’s not. If you are unable to find your policy, contact your insurance agent directly to inquire about hail and water damage.

If you’re a homeowner who’s experienced roof damage caused by hail, downed tree limbs, severe winds or other forces, contact us today. First Impressions Exteriors is Minnesota’s premiere roof repair company, serving homeowners and business owners alike.