The Ins and Outs of Hailstorm Roof Damage

Closeup of person lifting roof material to reveal hailstorm damage

Hailstorms are when raindrops are swept into the colder parts of the atmosphere by thunderstorms. There they collect and freeze into various sized balls of ice that fall with high velocity and sudden ferocity from the sky.

Hail can be dangerous to humans, pets, and livestock and cause substantial damage to vehicles and your home. Hail damage leaves your home susceptible to water damage, compounding its destruction.

Read on to learn how to spot rooftop hail damage and why repairs should be expedited.

What Does Hail Damage Look Like on a Roof?

Hail damage can be obvious after a severe storm, but it can also be more subtle. Hail damage can look different based on the material from which your shingles are made.

What hail damage looks like with composite and asphalt rooftop shingles:

  • Indentations

  • Black scuffs

  • Missing shingle material

  • Patches of shingles that appear slick or shiny

  • Marks on the shingles that feel soft or spongy to the touch

Hail damage to wood rooftop shingles looks like:

  • Split or cracks in individual shingles

  • Shingles that have deep indents or scuffs

  • Random damage that may be more pronounced on one side of the roof

Hail Damage to Metal Roofs:

Hailstone damage on metal surfaces looks like a dent (like on a car hood or truck rooftop). While unsightly, these dents aren’t cause for concern. Though in rare events hail can puncture a metal roof.

Related Topic: Why So Many Tornadoes in Tornado Alley?

Do I Need to Inspect My Roof after a Hailstorm?

Remember, not every hailstorm causes roof damage. Shingles and roofing materials often absorb hailstones without issue.

Nonetheless, we recommend inspecting your metal roof after hailstorms as a precautionary measure. If hail damage has compromised the integrity of your roof, water can seep through and cause water damage issues like mold and mildew. Left unaddressed, these leaks can cause structural problems to your roof and ceiling.

When Is Hail Damage Likely?

Hail is more likely to occur when a weather front moves into a region with contrasting temperatures. Hail is most common in spring, followed closely by fall.

When cold and warm air mix, it can sometimes cause a massive updraft that pushes the moisture in clouds higher in the atmosphere. At these elevations, water freezes quickly. As these frozen hailstones gain mass, they become too heavy to stay aloft and fall to earth.

Hail is often produced during the formation of tornados. Hail is possible in many parts of the world but is more common in the Great Plains region known as “tornado alley.”

Related Topic: Recovering After a Tornado Strikes

What Size Hail Will Damage a Roof?

Hail in excess of 1” in diameter is most likely to cause damage to an average roof. Roofs in disrepair may be damaged by smaller hail. Other factors play a role in how much your home sustains damage, like the angle of the hail, protection from trees, and the age of your roof.

Hail falls at an average speed between 9 and 25 miles per hour, depending on the size of the hail. The largest hailstones can reach up to 90 miles per hour, but it’s worth noting that tornado wind speeds can reach over 200 miles per hour. The strength of the wind plays a role in how much damage hail does to a roof by potentially propelling it faster than terminal velocity, giving it more strike force.

Hail can also damage vehicles parked outside or that are being driven during storms. Windshields are a common casualty and keep our friends at Glass Doctor® busy with windshield replacement services.

Does Insurance Cover Hail Damage?

Some homeowner's insurance policies cover hail damage, but not all. Contact your insurance agency to learn if your policy includes specific coverage for hail. If you suspect hail damage, your insurance provider may send a representative to inspect the damage or ask you to provide photos.

Ready to Help When You Need Us

Roof damage, and subsequent water damage, should always be managed by experienced professionals. Your local Rainbow International offers board-up, tarp-over, and full-service water damage restoration services to ensure your home is safe and dry. If your home has suffered from serious hail damage that’s left your home unprotected, give us a call at (855) 724-6269 or request an appointment online today.