When a hailstorm hits, the first concern is usually what damage, if any, occurred to the sheet metal and glass on your car, truck or SUV. However, hailstones can also do real damage to your roof. In fact, hail is one of the most common causes of property damage to vehicles and homes. For example, State Farm Insurance estimates that hailstorms cost its policyholders $2.4 billion in 2014 alone.
Hailstorm Potential in Maryland
Roofing hail damage is a very real threat in Montgomery County and throughout the state. Violent thunderstorms generate very large hailstones in Maryland. On June 24, 2015, the Washington Post published a photo of a spiked hailstone approximately four inches in diameter.
And, they get even bigger than that. A Maryland hailstone measuring 4.5 inches in diameter fell in 2002. In 2010, an eight-inch hailstonefell in South Dakota that weighed almost two pounds. Very large hailstones have been known to crash right through roofs.
However, hail of even modest size can strike with enough force to cause damage that may lead to future leaks or premature roof deterioration. There are three key reasons for this. First, hail falls from miles up in the sky at speeds that may exceed 100 mph. Second, hailstones are often spiked and irregularly shaped, and this can increase the damage done at impact. Third, a heavy hailstorm creates a cumulative effect as hundreds of hailstones pummel a roof. Although roof repairs due to hail damage are often modest, insurers have authorized full roof replacements in some cases.
When hail strikes your property, what should you look for?
Visible hail damage often consists of circular black marks on shingles or new splits in cedar shakes.
Shingle roofs - Hail strikes are often black, because the impact has dislodged the protective granules, exposing the underlying shingle material. Hail strikes often leave spots that are soft to the touch - these spits are best identified by a qualified roof inspector.
Shake roofs - Hail strikes can split cedar shakes, sometimes leaving tell-tale pock marks along the splits. Inside the split, newly exposed wood is usually orange to brown in color. New splits are also distinguished by their sharp corners and edges.
Flashing, vents and other roof components may suffer damage as well, impeding water flow and/or compromising the roof system's integrity.
The amount of damage that hail will cause is dependent on a number of variables.
- Size and density of hailstones
- Wind speed and direction
- Age of various roof components
- Position of barriers to inclement weather
Aging shingles and shakes are often more prone to hail damage, so the age and condition of your roof may come into play. Also, your roof might be more vulnerable to hail driven by winds from one direction rather than another. Finally, some portions of your roof protected by large trees or nearby structures will sustain less damage.
Preparing for a Homeowner's Insurance Claim
When you suspect roofing hail damage, it is often helpful to take photos of hailstones next to a ruler, to show their size. When possible, photograph property damage of all kinds, to provide evidence of a storm's severity. Consult your homeowner's policy to become familiar with storm damage coverage, deductibles and how to file a claim.
A proper roof inspection by a qualified roofing contractor identifies both visible and hidden damage. BRAX Roofing is one of relatively few contractors that has achieved GAF's Master certified Contractor status. To facilitate the claims process, we will work closely with your claims adjuster. Our inspector will gladly meet with the adjuster on the premises.
If a storm has brought high winds, heavy rain and/or hail to your property, don't hesitate to have potential damage quickly identified and dealt with. Please contact us today, and we'll promptly send a qualified inspector out to your home at a time that fits your schedule.