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What to do when hail damages your roof
If you remember the hailstorm that struck Sydney suburbs in April 1999, you know just how destructive hail could be.
It’s easily one of the most destructive and costly weather events we’ve experienced because it left so many homes in need of very extensive roof and gutter repairs after the calamity.
That 1999 hailstorm was so catastrophic that it cost a whopping $4.3 billion worth of hail damage, and is still considered one of the most expensive natural disasters that occurred in Australia.
While these hailstorms are seasonal, the roof damages that they bring can have an impact that can last for quite a long time, especially if not addressed immediately. It could leave massive holes in your roofs, very noticeable dents, and worse, leaks.
In this piece, we’re going to teach you some of the things that you can do to your roof to somehow lessen hail roof damage and what you can do when your roof gets damaged inevitably by hail.
Hail can damage almost anything that is outside the house, from roofs to cars and screen doors. However, identifying hail damage can be very difficult, especially the ones that were caused by small-sized hail.
But don’t worry, below is a mini-size guide on hail and the types of hail damage that it can cause.
3/4 in (5 cent coin)
Depending on the strength of the hail, this size may cause very little to no damage at all to your exterior.
If the hailstorm is somewhat strong, this hail size could still damage your asphalt shingles, sliding window screens, and painted decks. However, damages are not too crazy compared to the other sizes on this list.
1 in (10 cent coin)
With this size, we’ll see more noticeable damages, but still minor.
This size can cause bruising to your roof shingles.
Also, 1-inch hails can cause substantial hail damage to your gutters, fascia, and sidings.
1.25 in (50-cent coin)
Now, this is where everything gets serious as this size can cause significant hail damage.
This size is enough to cause noticeable dents on your shingles, making them look like Swiss cheese.
1.50 in (walnut)
Walnut-sized hails are the real deal. They could cause severe hail damage to your roof.
This size could leave dents on any wooden material outside your house.
1.75 in (golf ball)
Golf-ball-sized hail can leave dents on your cars.
It could also penetrate the softer parts of your roof like the ridge caps or plastic roof vents.
2.50 in (tennis ball)
This type of hail can break your car windows.
It can also leave massive holes in your roof.
Hail this size will certainly cause permanent damage to your roof and gutter systems that will require you to contact professional roofers and your home insurance agents. But more on this later.
What You Can Do to Minimise Hail Damage
The roof is one of your property’s most critical components, there’s no doubt about that. In order to minimise the hail damage that your roof may sustain in the event of a hail storm, it’s important that you take certain precautions. Below are only some of them:
Know the frequency of hailstorms in your area
The occurrence of hailstorms in Aalia depends on seasons and geographical location. For example, Sydney and New South Wales are only some of the hail hotspots in the country. Hail season in NSW is from October to February, while hail in Sydney normally occurs from August to February.
If you’re someone looking to build a house in these areas, this is something that you should consider so that you can (somehow) hail-proof your house.
But how do you do that? Well, follow the succeeding tips.
Choose the best roofing material for hailstorms
Installing the right roof material for your house is one of the most effective ways to protect yourself from hail roof damage. Especially if you live in hail-prone areas.
While you can’t fully avoid roof hail damage, there are certain traditional roofing materials that hold up the best against hail. Below are some of them:
Asphalt shingles – this type is one of the most popular roofing options. It’s lightweight, affordable and easy to install. When it comes to hail resistance, asphalt shingles work just as well.
Metal roofs – much like concrete tiles, these roofs also have an H4 classification and could protect you from hail just fine.
The catch is that metal roofs can be extremely noisy during hailstorms.
Concrete tiles – this type of roofing is pretty solid and heavy and could withstand hailstorms. It has an H4 Severe Rating which means it can survive hail rocks that are up to 4cm or 1.5inches in diameter.
However, depending on the volume and strength of the hailstorm and the condition of the roof, some concrete tiles may still crack but hail won’t penetrate this type of roof.
These three roof materials are some of the most widely available options that offer reliable protection against hail. However, if the sky starts dropping hail bigger than 2 inches (which is pretty rare), these roofs might fall short of your expectations.
For that, you’ll need more specialty materials like rubber roofing or composite materials made of fibreglass resin. These types will certainly outperform the traditional roofs we mentioned.
Always keep your roof in pristine condition
If hail can damage a brand new roof, it can certainly destroy a roof that’s already deteriorating in the first place.
While fixing and restoring your roof are the best things to do, you can only do so much to prepare your roof for an upcoming hailstorm. Your roof will still sustain hail damage, it’s just a matter of how minor or extreme the damages are.
That’s why after a distressing night (or day) of hail showers, below are two things that you must do immediately:
1. You should check your roof and gutters right away and see how they held up.
2. File an insurance claim.
How to Spot Signs of Roof Hail Damage
Spotting hail damage on your roof can be a little difficult because it will depend on how well your roof absorbs the impact of hail. If you used subpar building materials or your roof is not in great condition in the first place, the hail damage will be more noticeable.
Keep in mind, however, that aside from the size of the hail that we mentioned earlier, the severity of the damage will also vary depending on other several factors like:
Barriers – Certain barriers can reduce the ability of a hailstorm to cause damage to your roof or property. This includes natural barriers such as tree covers, as well as the positioning of neighbouring structures.
Wind – The location and severity of hail impacts will depend on wind speed and direction, which can vary during a hailstorm. The wind speed will have an effect on the velocity of a hailstone’s impact.
Building materials – The toughness of your roofing material is a significant factor in the likelihood of damage. Older roofs and poor-quality materials are more susceptible to damage. That’s why it’s important to know which materials are best for your roof.
With that out of the way, below are signs that your roof was damaged by hair depending on the roof material:
Start by checking the ridge cap of the roof for dents, which will be more likely to sustain damage.
Also, check the flashing, vents and metal valleys for dents.
Thoroughly inspect the edges, as well as the rest of the tile for cracks or other signs of damage.
Look out for bruising that is black in colour.
Check for small dimples by running your hand over the surface.
Also, keep an eye out for missing pieces of asphalt on the roof.
Normally, concrete tiles can handle hail really well. That’s why if you see cracks on your concrete tiles, large hails might have caused it.
Other Areas to Look for Hail Damage
Roofs are the most exposed to weather elements so they get damaged easily. But don’t let it fool you. Hailstorms can damage almost every exterior area in your house, not just your roofs.
Below are other parts of the house that you should definitely look for signs of hail damage like dings, dents, cracks, and holes.
Downspouts – look for marks on the upper area (5 feet and above)
Hood or roof of the car
Once you’ve identified the damages sustained by your roof, you can now contact your insurance company to open a claim.
Filing an insurance claim for your hail-damaged roof
If you think that your roof was damaged significantly, you can file a claim to your insurance provider to cover the repairs or replacements needed for your hail-damaged roof.
Do it as soon as you finished checking your house for hail damage.
Once your claim is received, your insurance company will assign an adjuster who will inspect the damages. If the representative deems that the condition of your roof meets the criteria, you are entitled to a reimbursement of the whole or a portion of the repair costs.
Note that some companies may not be satisfied with your claims so they will require a third party like a professional roofing specialist to assess the damages for you. If that happens, call Roofline at 1800 555 800 to save the day!
Meet Aaron – he is the owner, operator and all-round roofing specialist at Roofline. Having been working on the roofs of Sydney homes and buildings for more than 30 years, he knows a thing or two about how to take care of a roof and he’s here to share his knowledge.
Want more information? Get in touch with Aaron here