How to Deal with Hail Damage to Your Roof

High-speed winds and hail cause billions of dollars in roof damage in the United States. Of the thousands of home insurance claims filed every year, 40% of them are for hail or wind damage.

The cost associated with recovering from hail damage is high since hail damage affects roofs, cars, windows, and everything else outside your home. But the worst thing about hail damage is that it can be hard to detect.

hail damage roof

While you can see hail damage on your car, you may overlook the impact of hail on your roof. Left unchecked, hail damage can lead to water leaks and severe roofing issues. Understanding how hailstorms impact your roof and what to do following a hailstorm is essential to protecting your home.

How Does Hail Damage a Roof?

Many variables decide the severity of hail damage. The hail’s size, the wind’s speed, and the direction in which the hail hits the roof all come into play.

The roof’s age, the type of roofing materials used, and the roof’s pitch also determine how significant the hail damage is. Older roofs that have lower pitch are more vulnerable to hail damage.

There are two primary types of roof damage caused by hail: cosmetic and functional. Cosmetic damage can be frustrating but doesn’t diminish your roof’s ability to protect your home. While you certainly want to get cosmetic issues fixed to improve curb appeal, functional damage is a more pressing issue.

Since functional damage is more important, we’re going to look at some of the most prominent types of functional damage caused by hail. Those types of damage include:

Loss of Granules

Asphalt shingles have a sandpaper-like finish covered in tiny granules that provide a layer of protection. Once exposed to the elements, that asphalt layer begins aging faster, so you’ll have to repair or replace them soon.

Cracked Shingles

In the most severe cases of hail damage, shingles become cracked. Cracked shingles are a nightmare for homeowners, as they allow water to seep into the underlayment and sheathing of the roof. Hailstones of substantial size can crack the asphalt on a shingle, diminishing their ability to protect your home.

Exposed Underlayment

When you look at your roof, you only see the finish. But, multiple layers make up your roof, including a fiberglass mat underlayment that cannot withstand the elements. Hail can expose and damage this underlayment.

Damaged Underlayment

When shingles get damaged, hailstones can pummel the underlayment, damaging it as well. Since hailstones are jagged, they can puncture the fiberglass underlayment, exposing the plywood sheathing underneath to the elements.

Weakened Seal Strip

Roofing nails hold your shingles in place, but shingles also come with a seal strip that provides another layer of protection. Heavy winds, common during hailstorms, can damage the seal strip and start to peel your shingles back.

What Size Hail Can Damage My Roof?

Hail must be larger than 1″ to cause roof damage. ¾” hail, the smallest we can measure, can tear granules off your shingles. When combined with high-speed winds, even the smallest hailstones can do permanent damage to your roof.

As hail gets larger, the damage it produces becomes more significant. Once hailstones reach 2″, it is no longer a question about “if” you have property damage. Instead, you’re left to wonder where and how severe the damage is.

What Should I Do if I Think My Roof Has Hail Damage?

We never recommend homeowners climb onto their roofs to check for hail damage. Walking around on a roof without safety equipment is very dangerous.

Instead, stay on the ground and get a good idea of cosmetic damage to your roof. You should leave searching for functional or structural damage to a professional roofing contractor.

In the days following a hailstorm, look for water damage in your home. Brown spots on your ceilings can mean water has leaked through your roof. 

If the hailstones that fell on your home were 1” in diameter or larger, contact a roofing contractor for an inspection. These inspections will determine whether or not you suffered roof damage and uncover any other roof issues you’re facing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

Does hail have to be larger than 1" to damage my roof?

No. Hailstones as small as ¾” can damage your roof.

Should I inspect my own roof after a hailstorm?

While you can stand on the ground and look for cosmetic roof damage, you shouldn’t get on your roof to inspect it unless you have experience in roofing.

How much does it cost to repair a roof after hail damage?

The cost of roof repairs following a hailstorm will depend on various factors. The severity of the damage, the type of roofing materials, the pitch of your roof, and other factors will dictate the cost.

Final Thoughts

Hailstones can do significant damage to your roof. Even if you don’t see any cosmetic damage, your roof may have functional damage. Contact a roofing contractor if you’ve experienced a bad storm with hail that’s larger than 1”.

If you don’t correct roof damage after a storm, leaks can spread, and you can suffer water damage inside your home.