Spring is right around the corner and with that comes severe weather. High winds and hail can be destructive forces. The amount of damage can vary greatly even with homes in the same neighborhood.
Many factors impact the degree of roof damage. It is important to understand what damage from wind and hail looks like and the steps to take if you suspect that you have roof damage.
Factors that can impact the degree of roof damage
- Wind – During a storm, wind direction and wind speed can vary. This can affect the location and severity of hail impacts.
- Size and density – The size of the hailstones can affect the degree of damage, if any, to your property. A hailstone can be as small as a pea, or as large as a softball. Most hail stones do not have smooth edges, which can impact the type of damage they cause. On average, it takes a 1″ or above in diameter hail stone to cause damage to common asphalt shingles. This would be the size of a quarter of larger.
- Building materials – The building materials used absorb hail impacts differently. Hail can cause dings in aluminum siding, gutters or asphalt shingles; however, it can crack vinyl siding or wood shakes. Hailstones can be dense enough to puncture a roof although the age and condition of the roof can affect the degree of damage.
- Barriers – Neighboring structures and natural barriers such as tree cover, landscaping, fences or adjacent homes can reduce hailstone damage.
Identifying wind and hail damage
- Missing shingles – Strong wind can pull off your roof’s shingles.
- Curling shingles – Curling shingles tend to be found at stress points on the roof. Examples of stress points are edges, corners, near chimneys and at the ridge.
- Loss of granules – High winds and heavy rains can wash away the granules from shingles. Look for excessive shingle granules in the gutters and washing out of the downspouts.
- Chimney flashing – Look to see if the chimney flashing is missing or split. This is a stress point for high winds, which can easily be lifted by a strong wind hitting at just the right angle.
Asphalt and composition shingles
- Random damage with no pattern.
- Hits that are black in color.
- Loss of granules, which may expose the roof felt.
- Asphalt and/or mat that appears shiny.
- Places where hail has hit may be soft to the touch.
- Random damage with no pattern.
- A split in the shingle that is brown/orange in color.
- A split in the shingle that has little to no deterioration at the edge.
- A split in the shingle that has sharp corners and edges.
- Marks or dents along the splits.
Steps to take if you suspect damage
- Start inspecting your roof from the ground up – Begin looking for damage to gutters, window screens, window sills and casings, siding and air conditioning units. Chances are if you had significant hail the first areas to show damage would be your soft metals. You should also check your yard for debris such as loose shingles that could have been blown off during the storm.
- Perform an interior inspection – Moisture marks, brown, yellow or gray stains, peeling paint on the walls and ceilings could indicate water damage from a roof leak. Also check the attic area for damp rafters or leaks. If signs of interior water damage are present it is important to take steps to mitigate any additional damage. If you identify the source of the leak it should be tarped until repairs can be made.
- Inspecting the roof – Getting on your roof is not recommended as it can lead to personal injury and also further damage to your property. A trained professional has the tools and safety techniques to get up on the roof and check for damage. Contact a reputable, licensed and insured roofing company to inspect your roof for storm damage. Most companies will offer this at no cost and also provide a written estimate if you do indeed have damage.
Not all damage will warrant a full roof replacement. Often times the damage is limited to one slope of the roof. This is generally the area of the home that took the direct impact of the storm. A reputable roofer should be able to advise the extent of your damage.
If you have damage it is important to get the repairs done as quickly as possible to prevent any additional damage.
Contact your insurance agent today for any questions about coverage and deductibles.