Identifying Hail Damage to Shingles

Hail is a weather type that affects all kinds of property a person can own. A vehicle, a garden, and even the house you live in can all be affected by this kind of heavy and destructive weather. 

It can be particularly destructive if you have a shingle covered roof installed on your home; before it was put up, it should have been explained to you what to do in the case of a hailstorm or heavy rain. Because if you have a shingle roof, a hailstorm could be the worst thing that the heavens bring down upon you. After all, a repair could be costly, and leaving the damage could open up a whole host of new problems for you to have to deal with. 

So, identifying hail damage to your shingle roof needs to be at the top of your priority list, especially for the autumn season and beyond. If you have questions surrounding the kind of damage hail can do to shingles, we’ve listed some answers below. 

Know Your Enemy 

The first thing to know is just exactly what hail is and how it forms. Ultimately, it’s a type of precipitation that forms when air currents travel upwards, particularly in times of wild thunderstorms, when there’s enough power in the wind to carry water in the top layer of clouds. 

Up here is where freezing temperatures can be found, which turns the water to ice, and then it clumps, either around bits of ice or specs of dust. This process is repeated again and again, with the clump growing larger and larger until it’s big enough for gravity to force it downwards. 

It’s why hail damage to shingles is so significant. A large clump of ice, that could have all kinds of other particles within it, can smash into your walls, windows, and your roof. 

The Size of Hail

Hail can be of any size, but it’s clumps of at least an inch in diameter that have the potential to cause damage to your shingle roof. Of course, hails of between 1 and 4 inches have been found in the past, and each size can cause a different type of damage to the shingles that line your roof. 

The Factors Involved in Hail Damage

Of course, the size of the hail that hits your house can be affected by many factors. Be sure to look out for these when a hailstorm or thunderstorm hits, to ensure you’re prepared for the expense of the damage that is most likely to occur: 

  • Levels of wind – the higher the wind speed, and the longer the wind circulates, the bigger the hail size, due to the amount of upwards currents. 
  • Natural barriers – it’s unlikely that you’ll have any man-made structures to protect your roof, but tree coverage, as well as natural landscapes like hills, can take the brunt of the force of the hail. 

How to Spot Damage on Your Roof

Shingles can react in a variety of ways when it comes to hail damage. Make sure you know what you’re looking for when conducting a roof inspection after a hailstorm or thunderstorm. 

The first thing you’ll need to do is ensure you’re safe enough to check out the roof yourself if you cannot afford to get a professional to inspect the roof for you. Have the right ladder to ensure you’re safe and secure whilst more than two stories off of the ground. 

All in all, depending on the type of shingles you have, you’ll need to keep a few different things in mind, because not every type of shingle reacts the same to hail damage. We’ve listed the most likely instances of damage to look out for concerning the two most common types of shingle roofing. 

For a home lined with asphalt shingles: 

  • Black or dark discolored dents in the shingles
  • Exposed roof felt
  • Air pockets in the shingle lining itself, that bounce back when pressed on

For a home lined with wood or wood based material shingles:

  • Brown or orange or burgundy discolorations in the shingles
  • Marks or dents along with the split of the shingle covering
  • A sharp or splintering patch within the shingle material

The Hail Damage Most Commonly Seen

Apart from the instances we’ve already mentioned above, there is some more general damage to look out for after heavy and hailing weather. 

If the coating beneath the shingle is exposed, and you can see it without having to wipe the roof or move the shingles aside, it’s a sign that the shingle will age prematurely. For an insurance claim, this could be seen as normal wear and tear, and won’t work in your favor. 

Also, if you can see the strip of the shingle, that should be sealed and is used to connect multiple panels to each other is loosening, make sure you look a little deeper to see the real extent of the damage. If not properly inspected, or left alone, this could lead to shingle drop off in the coming months, especially if more wild or uncommon weather is on the way. 

A lot of people can see normal wear and tear along their shingle roofing and put it down to hail damage, but not every kind of impact is down to a hailstorm. If you want to make an insurance claim, or you want to pay for a repair job, be absolutely sure that you know what you’re looking at. 

Why Does Hail Damage Matter So Much? 

Spotting hail damage on a shingle roof takes a trained eye – hail is uncommon as far as weather goes, but it is destructive. And hail damage can be extensive, and it can be expensive to try and repair, especially if your insurance does not cover any roof damage. 

You’ll also need to have a professional inspector to give you a second opinion after an initial inspection of your own, which your insurance may also not cover. Be sure to take a look at your policy.