How to Check Your Roof for Hail Damage

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Hail damage accounts for most reported roof damage in areas that experience extreme weather conditions, including New Mexico. According to the Federal Alliance of Safe Homes, hail can cause about one billion dollars in damage per year — and this number represents roof damage alone.

Checking your roof for hail damage is necessary not only for ensuring your home’s safety, but also for insurance claims. However, it may be difficult to see if your roof has received damage — unless of course you know the proper ways to do so.

Before anything else…

Do not get up on the ladder to look at your roof right away! Here are some things to consider before you do:

Do you have your roof inspected regularly?

If it has been your habit to have your roof checked when the weather is favorable, you won’t need to worry too much about unseen damages causing damages that are even more serious.

Always consider calling a qualified roofer.

If you spot a potential issue or if you have any sort of limitation (be it physical or in terms of needed equipment), calling a professional to inspect your roof can be the best course of action.

Most importantly, be careful.

If you think you’ve got what it takes to spot hail damage signs yourself, go ahead and follow the tips and steps I’ll be providing below — but remember, be very, very careful and wear appropriate clothes and non-slip footwear.

Where to Start Looking

The following areas are most susceptible to hail damage so make sure to check them first:

  • Soft metal – Check your roof vents, flashing, metal valleys and any soft metal on the roof. They will not only show signs of problems, but also help you determine the size of hail that caused the damage.
  • Ridges – The peak of a ridge or ridge cap is most likely to be hit directly by hail.
  • Shingles – Take a look at the shingles and go beyond the surface — check the edges where it is weakest.

 

Types of Hail Damage to Asphalt Shingles to Check For

The shingles can tell you a lot as you inspect for hail damage. Here are the most common signs to look for:

  • Bruising – To check for this, run your hand over each shingle that you suspect may have some damage, and see if you can feel dents or dimples. Press your thumb against the dimple — if you catch a soft spongy feel, it means that a hidden bruise that can cause premature shingle deterioration may be present.
    • Missing granules – Check for missing granules that expose the substrate. If the substrate looks newly exposed, it can indicate fresh hail damage.
    • Circular cracking – Huge hailstones can cause circular cracking around the hit itself. Such a crack can lead to water penetration eventually.


    A Friendly Reminder: Size Matters

    If you were around when the hailstorm hit your area, you probably saw the size of hailstones that fell. Below is a guide for the roof damage that you can expect depending on size.

    • Less than 1 inch – Hail as small as this size can already cause damage to asphalt roofing. Worse, it can be more difficult to spot right away.
    • 1 to 2 inches – More damaging, but easier to see.
      • Less than 1 inch – Hail as small as this size can already cause damage to asphalt roofing. Worse, it can be more difficult to spot right away.
      • 1 to 2 inches – More damaging, but easier to see.
      • More than 2 inches – When your roof is hit by hail this size, you may not even need to inspect your roof as damage is almost guaranteed. It will be better to call your roofing contractor for a full assessment of the damages. Time to notify your insurance provider, too!

       

      I hope this simplified guide makes it easier to determine the state of your roof after your area is hit by a hailstorm. Remember to be careful as you do your inspection and call for the assistance of trained professionals to verify your assessment.

      About the Author

      John Sanchez is the son of a professional roofer who became a roofer himself as well. Ever since he fell in love with the industry, he has dedicated his work and life to providing quality roofing services to homeowners. In his free time, he likes spending time with his family and playing some sports, as well as writing blog and guest posts with the aim to further assist homeowners. Keep an eye out for his articles at http://www.goodrichroofing.com/blog/.

       

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