By C. Michael Hunter
A roof is very susceptible to hail damage from a storm. When such strong weather happens, it can create a minimal to severe loss. The impact may cause: dents; holes; pockmarked paint; chipped or split tiles; and granular loss. Several subsequent symptoms may appear that strongly suggest that such damage has occurred.
One way to avoid spending too much money for repairs if the housetop is damaged from a storm is to have homeowners insurance that will handle necessary repairs and replacement. If the structure is insured, a claim can be filed and the insurance company will send an estimator to assess the extent of the damage.
The housetop must be inspected by a trained and experienced estimator to be sure that all the loss is properly noted. Even if the inspector only finds minimal damage, an insurance claim should still be filed with the insurance company.
Following are indications of major hail damage:
- Dents and Pits – This is major evidence of storm devastation. It may differ based on the angle of the structure. When hail strikes, flat housetops may have deeper dents compared to pitched ones. The appearance of damage will be greater on metal roofing than on asphalt shingles or slate.
- Paint Disturbance – Some housetop materials are painted with different colors for beautification purposes. If hail hits this material, it may cause flaking of the paint which can lead to pockmarks. These marks are very unattractive and cause a very negative impression of the entire roof appearance even if the damage is not that severe.
- Granular Loss – The most commonly used material on roofs is asphalt shingles. After a hail storm, this type of material will sometimes develop granular loss. If this happens, nail heads will begin to show and this could be the start of a leaking roof. The difference between normal granular loss and severe weather destruction is the shape. Normal wear and tear has a uniform granular loss while hail impact is circular and more localized.
- Damaged Wood and Tile – Hail size may range from approximately pea size up to softball or grapefruit size. Because of this, the power with which it strikes a surface can contribute to severe damage to the roofing materials. This frozen water form that falls on the housetop may chip, fracture, scratch, and split wood or tile shingles.
Knowing the indications of hail damage is vital in determining a plan of action to address the roofing system’s need for repairs or replacement. If these indications are observed during an initial assessment, the homeowner should check their insurance policy to ensure that they carry property damage coverage and then file a homeowner’s claim. After taking this initial step, a roofing contractor should be called to also examine the roof and prepare an estimate of any destruction related to the hail storm. Under most circumstances, insurance companies prefer to make their own estimates and will send an estimator to prepare a detailed appraisal of the related storm loss.
Thunderstorms which produce hail stones can be very detrimental, particularly to the roof which serves as the covering of the house. The extent of the destruction is not always clearly apparent during a homeowner’s initial inspection. Therefore, it is important to call experienced professionals to perform an assessment. An estimator will prepare an itemized list of damages which will then be reviewed by a claims representative for payment.
If the impact of the hail has not been severe, repair work can be initiated when the homeowner and contractor can find an acceptable date to start the work. If the impact of the hail is severe, some initial work may have to be done to mitigate any further interior losses until the complete repair or replacement project can begin. The next and final step will be to enjoy the results of the contractor’s work, hopefully for a very long time!
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