Take these measures to assess any possible hail damage to your roof
A hail storm can create significant damage to your property, including to your roof, siding, and gutters. Your roof is one of the most important parts of your home, so it is crucial to address any repairs and concerns that may arise after a hail storm right away. Roof repair for hail damage can cost as little as $20, but can reach the thousands for more extensive damage.
Taking the right steps to inspect your roof for any hail damage will help you develop a concrete plan of action for any potentially necessary repairs and, most importantly, keep your home safe and dry.
1. Determine the Severity of the Hail Storm
Knowing how intense a hail storm was will help give you a sense of any potential roof damage. Storms can pour down in a range of different hailstone sizes, from a dime size of less than 1/2 an inch up to a few inches in thickness—think the size of a golf ball or tennis ball, and sometimes even bigger. And, when combined with high winds, hail storms have the potential to damage your roof considerably.
The bigger the hailstones are, the bigger the roof damage can be. If the hailstones are under half an inch, they may create some minor cosmetic damage to your roof, like small cracks, or result in small pieces of shingles going missing. If the storm has hailstones bigger than an inch and is combined with strong winds, these are the perfect conditions for serious roof damage.
If you are not present at the time, you can check your local weather channel to learn about the severity of any given hail storm. Even small hail storms probably warrant a quick look up at your roof. But, if you are at home while the hail is coming down, for your safety, it’s important to stay indoors until the storm passes.
2. Conduct a Visual Inspection of Your Roof for Hail Damage
Once the hail storm is over, one of the easiest ways to determine any roof damage is by conducting a visual assessment from the ground. Look up and search for any loose and missing shingles, signs of roof discoloration, and wood exposure.
Tip: Use a pair of binoculars to examine your roof more closely. If your property has an attic, take a look at your roof from the inside, checking for any signs of water leaks or sunlight exposure.
“Hail damage can be nearly impossible to see from the ground,” says Ami Feller of Feller Roofing. “If you do not know what you are looking for, it can even be difficult to see when you are up on the roof. I would highly recommend asking a roofing professional to check your roof if you had golf ball size or larger hail.”
3. Check Your Gutters, Metal Fascia, and Roof Flashing
Metal products, such as gutters, fascia, and roof flashing, offer an easy way to identify hail damage to your property since dents are easier to see on these types of materials. You can also check screens as well as the plastic or vinyl glazing strip around window glass. In addition, if your gutters are clogged with shingle granules (crushed stones and other debris) and overflow when it rains, these are other signs of potential damage to your roof. It’s also wise to check for damage to your AC fins if your unit is outside, and look for spatter marks on the AC, electric panels, and fencing.
4. Inspect Your Siding for Any Hail Damage
As you did with your gutters, you should be looking for signs of discoloration and dents in your siding. Vinyl siding, in particular, does not hold up well against hail. This check will help you determine if there is any damage to your roof, give you an idea of how powerful the hail storm has been (a continuation of the process you began in step one above), and can signal that your roof needs a more thorough inspection by a professional.
5. Request a Roof Inspection
After your initial visual assessment, you may conclude that it's time to get a local roofing contractor to inspect your roof, particularly if there are signs of serious hail damage. These professionals are experts in the field and can take a closer look at your roofing materials, chimney, roof flashing, and gutters.
A roofing pro will be able to determine the level of damage, if any, and make recommendations on what steps to take next. Best of all, getting a roof inspection may not cost you anything.
6. Vet Roofers Carefully
If your area has been hit by a hailstorm, you should be on guard for roofing scams. While the vast majority of roofing pros are trustworthy, some will visit an area recently hit by a storm. These “storm chasers” will go door to door and offer free inspections and perform low-quality roof repairs. By the time problems arise with your new roof, they’re gone.
Scammers may also try to collect insurance proceeds.
When reaching out to local roofing pros, you’ll want to do your research before hiring anyone. As with any pro you hire, reach out to at least three roofing contractors and compare quotes and references before making a hire.
7. Inform Your Home Insurance Company
The sooner you notify your property insurance company of any roof hail damage, the better in case you need to submit an insurance claim. Most insurance companies require that you report storm damage within six to 24 months. Your insurance provider will perform their own assessment of the roof damage and take it from there.
Make sure to know what your home insurance policy covers, especially if you live in areas like Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming, where it's common to get as much as about nine hail storms a year.