When analyzing a roof for hail damage, it is important to differentiate between damage caused by hail and damage caused by natural weathering.
There are three main signs that indicate a hail damaged roof, which includes missing granules, bruising and circular cracking. With a basic understanding of each, it will help you to accurately identify hail damage and its severity.
Check for missing granules that have exposed the substrate, or black layer underneath them. The substrate exposed should look fresh, or not as if it has been exposed to the sun for an extended period of time. This will indicate new hail damage as opposed to anything pre-existing.
Run your hand over an individual shingle and feel for dimples or indentations in it. These are an indication of hail hits. Press your thumb against the indentation and examine it for a soft, spongy feel, like a bruised tomato. This bruising may be hidden but will cause the shingle to fail prematurely over time.
When big enough, hailstones can cause circular cracking around the hit itself in a half-moon or full circle shape. This sort of cracking indicates larger hail and a shingle that has been damaged through to the fiberglass matting, which can make it highly susceptible to water penetration.
When searching for the hail damage to an asphalt roof, look at the following susceptible areas first:
- Soft Metal: First search for damage to any soft metal on the roof. Check roof vents, skylights, flashing, metal valleys and any other soft metal on the roof. Soft metal damage will not only show signs of hail but also indicates the size of the hail that damaged the roof.
- Ridges: The very peak of a ridge or ridge cap will take a hail hit directly as opposed to the glancing blows on the main pitched roof slopes. Also due to their location, ridges are more susceptible to damaging hail hits, regardless of the direction from which the hailstorm came.
- Shingles: Finally, look on the shingles themselves. Check not only the interior of an individual shingle but also the edges where it is weak.
If you were around during the hailstorm and have an idea of the size that fell, it will give you a basis for what kind of roof hail damage to expect.
- Less Than 1 Inch: When smaller than an inch, or about the size of a quarter, hail can inflict damage to asphalt roofing. Most often, though, a hail damaged roof at this size can be more difficult to identify. You may require the assistance of a trained roofing inspector to accurately identify any hail damage.
- 1-2 Inches: If the size is between 1 and 2 inches, or between a quarter and egg size, hail damage should be more easily found on the asphalt shingles themselves as well as any soft metal on the roof.
- Greater Than 2 Inches: Any greater than 2 inches and it will almost guarantee some level of hail damage to an asphalt roof. If this is the case, contact your preferred roofing contractor for a full assessment of damages and notify the insurance company.
Before Inspecting Your Roof for Hail Damage
If you are a homeowner that has recently been through a hailstorm and would like to inspect it for hail damage, the following quick guide will give you a basic understanding of what to look for. Before doing so, we should start off with a few quick notes:
- Regular Roof Inspections: If you are willing to venture onto your roof every spring, it is a good idea to do annual self-inspections of your roof to look for any changes since the previous inspection and to detect potential issues before they become serious.
- Always Call a Qualified Roofing Inspector: If you spot a potential issue during your annual checkup or suspect any wind or hail damage after a severe storm, you should always contact a Qualified Roofing Inspector. Many roofing contractors specialize in insurance restoration and offer Free Inspections. A trained representative can discover hidden damage, separate hail damage from natural wear, educate you on your findings and make further recommendations on whether a repair or call to the insurance company is necessary.
- Be Careful… Check your roof carefully. Be sure to cover any holes in your roof or broken windows so that water can not enter your home and damage the interior and your possessions.