1: How the Hail?
How does the hail get from the sky to your roof? Hail is supercooled droplets of water that freeze onto snow crystals in the top regions of thunderstorm clouds. The droplets are tossed around by the high winds in the clouds. Hail builds up as the droplets accumulate more droplets.
Hailstones from five centimeters across up to around 10 centimeters in diameter can strike the earth with tremendous, damaging force. From 2008 to 2014, for instance, auto insurance claims totalling $5.37 billion were from hail, say experts at Policy Advice.
Hail that is smaller than five centimeters across? That’s called graupel or snow pellets. Graupel can fill and clog gutters, though it seldom does serious roof damage.
2: What, Me Worry?
If you consider that your kids might pop a baseball onto your roof at around 60 mph and cause damage to a shingle roof, you have every reason to worry about hail damage to your roof. Hailstones can have a terminal velocity (maximum speed) of around 90 mph! Ouch!
The types of damage hail can cause to a typical Indianapolis-area roof vary by hail size:
- Smaller hailstones can dent and ding gutters, causing them to pull away from the fascia boards and allow water to infiltrate your attic
- Just when you need your gutters to empty quickly, hailstones and graupel can fill and clog your gutters, causing them to overflow until the hail melts
- Larger hailstones can strike and bruise your shingles, denting the surface and reducing the water resistance of every shingle they hit
- Hailstones of all sizes loosen the shingle granules, which are the little rocks giving your shingles their color and most of their water resistance; shingles devoid of granules become soft and mushy
- Hailstones can dent and dislodge flashing, the thin metal that bridges gaps on your roof
- Roof vents (kitchen and bath exhaust fans included) can be destroyed by hail
- Large hailstones can crack shingles and allow roof leaks to start
- Sustained blows from large hailstones can break shingles, dislodging them completely from your roof
- Even small hailstones and graupel can break up the adhesive bond between one course of shingles and the next, increasing the odds of roof leaks across your entire roof
Beyond the roof, your patio furniture, gas grill, vehicles in your driveway, exterior unit of your central air conditioner, and landscaping can all suffer from hail damage. Insurance companies know hail is a hugely expensive and common claim; in 2019, over 7.1 million American properties had hail damage, according to PolicyAdvice.Net.
3: Meanwhile, Inside …
While hail can cause visible and scarring damage to your roof, the roof leaks that follow can destroy your home’s interior. Your home can suffer from:
- Wet insulation in the attic from roof leaks caused by hail
- Wet drywall on ceilings and walls
- Damp interior air
- Ruined personal possessions and furnishings
- Active water leaks from destroyed roof vents
Shingles, tough as they are, are assemblages of fiberglass strands (for strength), soft, gooey asphalt, and hard, colored stones. They typically last 15 to 20 years even with excellent maintenance. A single hailstorm can shorten the lifespan of a shingle roof by many years, though. That one hailstorm can also set up a worsening pattern of roof leaks, with new leaks appearing almost weekly in some cases.
Some hail damage may be obvious, such as a dented roof vent visible from your front yard. Less obvious signs of hail damage may only reveal themselves to the expert’s eye.
Never walk on your Indianapolis home’s roof. No steep-slope roof is safe without adequate safety equipment and training, so leave the visual inspection to your local roofer.
Your roofer will quickly check three things:
- Granule loss (in gutters, on shingles, and in valleys)
- Roof leaks (looking at the roof exterior and inside your attic)
- Roof projections and roof vents (for signs of denting and damage)
Your roofer can see hail strikes on shingles, detect uplifted shingles that break their adhesive bond with other shingles, and assess damaged flashing.
Your residential roofer will also know what can be repaired and what must be replaced. In most instances, your homeowners insurance policy will cover much of the damage. Your insurer’s adjuster will usually accept the estimate and evaluation of your roofer. Moss Roofing in Indianapolis not only solves emergency roofing problems like hail strikes, we also offer a full range of roofing, exterior, and insurance claim services. Connect with us today to learn what we can do to help your house heal!