Learning how to fix hail damage is easier said than done.
Hail might not always damage your roof, but when it does, time is of the essence. Sometimes the damage is invisible to the naked eye, so knowing the signs of roof hail damage can help knowledgeable homeowners get repairs done as soon as possible.
When the unexpected happens, you may be asking yourself the following questions:
- What are the first steps to take?
- Do I file an insurance claim right away?
- What does hail damage look like?
- Do I have to replace the entire roof?
- What happens if I ignore hail damage?
Before filing an insurance claim, watch for these tell-tale signs of hail damage on your roof.
Common Signs of Roof Hail Damage
Large-sized hail (an inch or more) is actually quite rare, so you may be wondering how small hailstones can cause such damage? High winds are to blame. The high winds that come with a strong storm system can greatly increase the speed at which even the smallest hail hits your roof. This powerful impact can cause enough damage to require repairs or replacement.
So after a hailstorm, when it is safe to do so, homeowners can take a peek at the roof and if any of the following signs of roof damage are present, call us for an inspection.
Your shingles’ first protective layer is a layer of fine granules that keep the fiberglass mat safe underneath. If these granules are broken off by hail or other debris, it leaves the next layer of your shingles exposed and vulnerable. Without granules, your shingles are at risk of leaking.
To know whether or not you have granule loss, you can look for changes in color or the texture on the surface of your shingles. It may just look like some dime-sized spots on a few shingles because of the darker layer underneath showing through. Also, if enough granules slough off, they can actually clog your gutters and prevent adequate rainwater flow.
Cracks or Dents in the Shingles
You should be able to quickly see any cracks, dents, or other damage to your shingles by looking at the flat surface. Because of how uniform your shingles are, even the slightest damage should stand out in the form of discoloration or uneven surface from cracked or lifted shingles.
Discolored and Warped Shingles
Discoloration of your shingles can look like polka dots or just a slight discolored area of the roof. This can be a sign of two things: granule loss that sloughed off due to hail impact, or water damage underneath the shingles. If there was enough force to lift up or crack your shingles, water can get underneath. And when water gets underneath your shingles it can warp your shingles, or worse, leak into the attic.
Water Spots on the Ceiling
If you notice water stains on the upper floor ceilings of your home, or look in your attic and see water spots, there is a good chance hail damaged your roof enough to leak rainwater through your roof. If this happens, call us immediately so we can fix the problem before it damages essential parts of your home.
Flashing is metal that protects vulnerable parts of your home like chimneys or vents and prevents water from entering your home or causing very costly damage. If you see loose, missing, dented, or cracked flashing around vents, chimneys, valleys of the roof, skylights, and other vulnerable places on your roof, it’s a sign that there might be some hail and potential water damage.
And, of course, missing shingles will be a much more obvious sign of hail damage. The hail can loosen their seal so much that strong winds can easily lift your shingles and blow them off or partially off of your roof.
Only check for this damage if you can safely do so. In most cases, you can tell from the ground, or by using a ladder to look over the edge, leaving no need to climb up on the roof. NOTE: Never attempt to climb up on the roof without proper safety equipment—always call the pros!
What Happens When You Ignore Your Damaged Roof?
Many homeowners may think that just because the hail didn’t bust a hole through their roof, or they didn’t lose any shingles, the damage is minor, and you can take your time to repair it. This is not the case. The longer you put off repairing any hail damage on your roof, the more susceptible it becomes to leaks and other damage. The second your shingles are damaged is the second they lose their integrity to protect your home against the elements.
Ignoring your damaged roof can lead to:
- Mold and mildew growth underneath your shingles and protective mat underneath.
- Water leaks into your attic and the upper floor of your home.
- The next time a storm comes through, loose or cracked shingles can end up furthering the damage to your roof.
- Loss of granules can clog your gutters, making them less efficient.
- Waiting might affect your chances of getting insurance to cover repairs.
- If your shingles have a warranty, waiting could mean that warranty running out.
Hail Damage Roof Repair Tips From the Experts
When it comes to hail damage on your roof, we always suggest homeowners take fast action and start an insurance claim. We asked 7 roofing and exterior experts what they think homeowners should do and look out for when it comes to hail damage on their roof. Here’s what they had to say:
“Don’t fall into the trap of ‘Get three quotes.’ It’s extremely difficult to know whether you are comparing apples to apples when it comes to contractor quotes. Instead, hire a contractor that is qualified to audit your insurance adjuster’s estimate and work with you to make sure your restoration is thorough and complete with warranties backed by the product manufacturers.”
Jon Roise, Owner
Capital Exteriors Inc. in Bismarck, ND
“The first thing for homeowners to do that I recommend is to call a local roofing company well known in their area to come look for damage. Have them take pictures if any damage is found. Temporarily seal any place that could leak and take photos. Tarp the roof. The contrator should show owner and have them call in a claim – Give agent [the roofer’s] contact information for the adjuster. Then we all meet there. The contractor shows their picture and looks at the rest of the house including the siding, window, and roof.”
Mike Hansen, Owner
Mike Hansen Roofing in North Mankato, MN
“When a homeowner thinks that their home may have storm damage, they should call a licensed, professional roofing contractor with a proven track record with hail damage. Most roofing companies provide free inspections, and if damage is found, your specialist will furnish a detailed estimate and work very closely with your insurance provider to make your home’s roof as good as new.”
Robert Maddox, Owner
Hahn Roofing in Spencer, IA
“Most people do not want to get up on their roof so I always tell people to walk around and look at the metal on their house, like gutters/downspouts, window wraps, and siding corners. These items are pretty soft metal and will give you a sense of the size and velocity of the hail. The roofing will hold up a lot better than these metals so if they’re not that bad then your roof is probably ok and likewise if those items are totally hammered then the roof is likely gone too. It’s always best to call a contractor first because of how insurance companies look at and rate you as a customer. Opening claims is like getting speeding tickets – you don’t want them if you can help it because they will affect your rates. If they come out and deny your claim, the fact that you opened one is still like a big red mark on your history. Many people have an attitude that ‘I pay for it and darn it I’m going to it…’ That’s true but walk around your house first and see what you can see, then call a contractor. There are always a lot around after hail. After that, call your insurance when you’ve gotten a strong sense of your situation and confirmation you’ve got some significant damage.
Christian Dietz, Owner
Raintite Roofing LLC in Rapid City, SD
“1. First and foremost if a storm breaks windows or skylight you should always board them up to prevent any further damage. If you can’t do this yourself call family, friends, neighbors, or a contractor for help.
2. If the storm was very severe you can go ahead and contact your insurance company right away. You will need the date of the storm handy as your insurance company will ask for this. I would also contact your contractor and have them meet with the adjustor that way any discrepancies in damaged items can be talked through onsite right away.
3. If the storm seemed less severe I would still have your property inspected but this time by a ‘trusted’ contractor. The best contractors for these inspections are the ones who advertise that they specialize in hail damage repair. Most of these contractors use the same standards in looking for hail damage that the insurance adjusters use. They should tell you if your roof, siding, gutters, and more look damaged to the point of needing to be replaced. They will also walk you through what to expect next and give you direction on how to proceed further.”
Chad Enger, Owner
Black Hills Exteriors in Rapid City, SD
“If you think you could possibly have wind or hail damage to your roof after a storm you should contact a local roofing company that is accredited by the BBB. You need to schedule an appointment with that company for someone to come out and do an inspection/evaluation of your roof. You want a roofer that will help you file an insurance claim if you have damage and that person should help you along the process from beginning (making claim) to end (putting your new roof on and requesting final payment from insurance).”
Josh Henry, Roofing Sales and Insurance Specialist
Abrams Roofing & Sheet Metal, Inc. in Louisville, KY
“Homeowners should contact an experienced licensed and insured reputable roofing contractor with a good past history of working with insurance companies. Ask family and friends for recommendations or Google ‘insurance repair contractors’.”
Robert Ford, Owner
Ford Roofing Service in Baldwin, LA
Making the Best Decision for Your Roof
There you have it—from the exterior experts themselves. We hope these tips have been helpful, and always choose a trusted, local contractor to ensure the best possible quality service on your home, your biggest investment.
If you find yourself facing critical roof repairs due to hail damage, call the team at First American Roofing right away. We can inspect your roof, get you an accurate estimate, and schedule your roof repairs as soon as possible. No matter how extensive the damage is, we’ll get you the best possible solution for your home and budget.