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How to Spot Hail Damage

After a big hailstorm, the first places we think to look for damage are our vehicles and yards. Unless you’ve experienced major damage, leading to a leaky roof, you might not have even considered that the storm has led to structural damage to your roof or siding.

The fact of the matter is, even minor hailstorms can cause lasting damage. What seems like minor damage to shingles can actually compromise their ability to protect your home the way they’re intended to do. It’s important to know how to spot hail damage that might be significant enough to need repair.

From the Ground

The best way to know if there’s damage to your roof is, of course, to check your roof. However, there are some things you can look for first to decide whether a hail damage roof inspection is merited.

  • Dented gutters, gutter screens, or downspots: Metal dings show up pretty clearly after a hailstorm, so looking at the metal facades surrounding your roof from the ground is a great way to determine whether there is likely damage up above.
  • Damage to siding:
    • Damage or dents in other exposed metal surfaces: Look particularly for damage to air conditioners, as they are likely covered under your insurance policy, and are also a good indicator of other damage.
    • Dings in stained or painted surfaces: Take a close look at your deck, porch, or anywhere else you might notice new dings in the paint or finish.
  • Check the area around your drainpipe: You may be able to tell your shingles have been damaged from the ground, in severe enough cases, because granules from the shingles will have broken off and been washed down into the gutters, and potentially down through your drain spout.
  • Anything your insurance might cover: Even if there isn’t extensive damage to your roof, if you see damage along your other property, such as your air conditioning unit, shed, deck, or patio cover, you may want to file a claim.

On the Roof

The next step is to actually check out your roof. You can either set up a ladder and inspect from the ladder or actually climb up onto your roof — but remember to keep safety first. At this point, you can go ahead and call a contractor for a free estimate, and they can do the work that might be too dangerous for you. But, in case you want to check it out for yourself, here are some tips on how to spot hail damage on your roof.

  • Look for damage to roof vents and other metal surfaces: These are easier to spot dings on than your shingles themselves.
  • Use chalk on harder-to-spot damage: Running a piece of chalk sideways along surfaces such as chimney covers will help uncover dents.
  • Inspect your shingles. It can be very difficult for an untrained eye to spot hail damage to asphalt shingles. It is a good idea to call in a professional as early as possible, but these are some signs to look for:
    • It is surprisingly difficult to knock surface materials off of a shingle, so if you see this at all, know that the structural integrity has been compromised, and repair is warranted, even if it does not seem that serious.
    • Inspect the entire shingle, including the sides.
    • Look for missing pieces in the asphalt. Any areas where the black substrate has been exposed are signs that granules of the asphalt have been knocked away.
    • Inspect for “bruising,” which you can do by feeling the shingle for dimples in the surface, and seeing whether those dimples have any give.
  • Any circular cracks in the shingles also indicate hail damage.
  • Look for damage of different types of shingles differently:
    • Wood shingles tend to split down the middle when damaged by hail.
    • Metal roofing, like all metal surfaces, will show hail damage as round dings to its surface.
    • Clay and slate roofing will experience much more obvious cracks or gouges than will standard shingles.

Steps to Take After a Hail Storm

The most important thing after a hail storm is not to brush things aside and wait beyond the period allowed by your insurance company. A good inspector can tell approximately how long ago hail damage occurred, so you’ll want to get going quickly if you’re planning to repair damages with the help of insurance dollars. Start by taking pictures of all of the damage you find, and then reach out to the professionals.

While it may be tempting to call your insurance provider immediately, the best plan of action is to get a general contractor to perform a hail damage roof inspection and assess the damage. Find someone who will do the inspection for free, and if they determine the damage is bad enough to report to your insurance company, then also have that person there when the insurance inspector comes.

Repairing a roof can get pricey, even if you’re not replacing the full roof. For every 100 sq. ft., restoration varies in cost (for asphalt shingles) between $400 and $800, and a new asphalt shingle roof on your average home costs between $7,500 and $15,000. The goal of insurance companies is to minimize payouts, so you need to have someone knowledgeable on your side.

If you’ve been through a hailstorm and need some help assessing the damage, Abbott’s is here to help. Contact us for a free consultation.




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