In 2018, the state of Florida suffered a total of 42 significant hail storms, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, while over 4,600 hail storms occurred across the country. There’s no doubt that cities like Melbourne, Miami, Cape Coral, Wellington, and Lynn Haven have seen significant damage to their homes as a result of these storms. Roof damage is quite common in these situations.
When Does Roof Hail Damage Occur?
It’s a misconception that roof damage only occurs during large-size hail events. Smaller hailstones can also create significant damage to the roofing materials on most homes in this area. If a storm like this occurs, it’s worth having a team of experienced roofers provide a full inspection to spot hail damage that’s creating risk for the structural integrity of the roof.
What Is Hail Damage?
The term “hail damage” refers to any type of structural change to the roof’s surface as a result of the impact from hailstones. Small stones, even those just a ½ inch in diameter, can create this type of damage due to the sheer wind and force at which they hit the structure.
This is made worse when the roof itself is in poor condition and has not been maintained properly. Small portions of the roof shingles can snap off, exposing the roof deck and underlayment.
Damage is also more impactful when there is a smaller slope on the roof. Those with a higher peak, by contrast, are likely to have more protection for one side of the roof than those roofs that are flatter or with low peaks. Still, roof inspections should cover the entire space, looking for signs of damage.
This type of inspection is necessary in situations where the following occurs:
- The more severe the storm is, the more velocity the hail will have when impacting the roof, creating a higher potential for damage.
- The longer the storm is, the more likely each home will have some level of damage.
- Storms with high winds will carry a significantly higher likelihood of creating severe damage to the property and roof.
- Some hail is heavier than others. The heavier it is, the more impact it has when striking the roof’s shingles.
- The type of roof also plays a role in the damage. Asphalt roof tends to handle the impact of hail a bit better because it can absorb it. Aluminum roofing will have more denting. Vinyl shingles and wood roofing tends to crack.
The way the roof is maintained, the overall workmanship put into it when laying the roof, and the age of it all can play a role in how much damage occurs.
Spotting Signs of Hail Damage on a Roof
It’s never wise for a homeowner to climb on a ladder to reach the roof. This is a task better left to a professional. However, there are some indications or signs of roof damage from hail that need to be noted. They include the following:
- Granular loss; evident in a granular-like substance in the gutters or downspouts
- Dents in the roofing material, often that look as though a golf ball hit the structure
- Wooden shingles typically have splits in them, some of which can run lengthwise, creating structural damage
- Metal roofs typically have pot marks on them from each of the stones
- Gutter denting, due to the hail hitting these vinyl or aluminum materials, or punctures and splits can also occur (this is often evident from the ground, creating a good indication of what’s on the roof, too)
Also, look at the home’s siding and exterior fixtures, such as the air conditioning system and garage doors. If these areas have damage like dents or cracks, the same is likely the case on the roof.
What to Do if You Think Roof Hail Damage Is Present
In areas such as Melbourne, Wellington, and Cape Coral – where this type of damage is common – it’s worth having an annual inspection to ensure no damage exists. If you do find it, it’s important to take action right away to minimize any type of long-lasting deterioration of the roofing structure.
After a hailstorm, walk the outside of the home looking for signs of damage. Remove any glass or other damaged structures to minimize risks. These storms can take down power lines, too. Be sure to alert the utility company if this happens.
After ensuring the property is safe, take photos of any areas of easy-to-see damage. Then, document, on a piece of paper, when the storm was, the intensity of it, and any other details that may help an insurance agent to process a claim. The more information you have, the better. Since hailstorms can be very targeted, impacting just a handful of homes, or they can be large-scale, damaging the entire neighborhood, your home insurance agent may not always know about them. This type of documentation serves as proof of what occurred and when.
Getting a Professional Hail Roof Inspection
Once you handle all of this, call a roofing contractor for a comprehensive roof inspection. They will climb on the roof to look for any indication of damage. This includes granule loss, denting, cracks, and any other findings that indicate why the roof has damage. Most often, this will include either video footage or photos of the roof.
The inspection will include looking for existing damage and new damage. Missing shingles, damage to flashing, gutter damage, and any other damage will be determined and documented.
Filing a Claim with Your Home Insurance Provider
In many of these cases, your home insurance policy will cover the repair or replacement of the roof damaged by hail. When this occurs depends on the extensiveness of the damage. However, there are concerns to keep in mind.
If a roof is in poor condition and not well maintained prior to the storm, this may impact whether the home insurance covers the loss or how much of the loss is covered. That’s why routine inspections are so important, especially in the Cape Coral and Miami areas where storms are so common, especially during hurricane season.
Getting Repairs Handled
Whether your residential or commercial roof has hail damage, it’s important to have the inspection and repair work handled by a licensed, insured company. Your home insurance agency will work with the roofing repair team you select to get this taken care of. With Florida hail damage occurring so often and being such a high risk, it’s never ideal to just wait for repairs. During hurricane season, you need these repairs to happen quickly so that the property is ready for the next set of storms.
For those in Melbourne, Cape Coral, Lynn Haven, Wellington, and Miami, seek out our team for comprehensive support identifying, repairing, and even preventing roof hail damage.