Hail is one of the most destructive weather elements and can be extremely costly. In fact, a hailstorm that struck Sydney suburbs in April 1999 is still one of the most expensive natural disasters to have occurred in Australia and cost the equivalent of $4.3 billion worth of damage (source: Wikipedia).
Hailstorms can cause devastating damage to your property, leaving your home in need of extensive repairs. The amount of damage done to the roof of your home, as well as other personal property, can vary greatly depending on a number of factors.
Both small and large hail can cause severe and costly damage to your roof. However, newer and well-maintained roofs are less susceptible to damage than an older or more weathered roof, so it is important that you maintain it to avoid leaving yourself vulnerable to costly repairs.
While hailstorms can be very destructive, but the amount of damage they inflict can vary greatly. The type and extent of damage will depend on the following factors:
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.
Size and density: While both small and large hailstones can cause damage to your property, the size can affect the degree of damage. Sizes can vary from as small as a pea, to the size of a cricket-ball, or even to that of a softball.
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. The vulnerability and exposure of buildings will affect the damage that can be caused.
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. (More information on building materials can be found here.)
How to Spot Roof Hail Damage
Spotting hail damage on your roof can be a little difficult. How it absorbs the impact of hail will depend on building materials used, as well as the age and condition of the roof. It is important to understand the different effects in order to help you determine whether or not it has sustained hail damage.
- Look for damage to the metal – 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.
- Check the shingles – if you have tiles thoroughly inspect the edges, as well as the rest of the tile for cracks or other signs of damage. Look out for bruising, hail hits that are black in colour, and check for small dimples by running your hand over the surface. Also, keep an eye out for missing pieces of asphalt in the roof.
For insurance companies to approve and pay for the repair of hail damage, they will require an accurate assessment to take place. While performing your own checks can help you to identify whether or not you need to undertake repairs, you will need a professional roofing contractor to carry out an assessment to the satisfaction of your insurer.
What You Can Do to Protect Your Roof
In order to minimise the damage done to your roof in the event of a hailstorm, it’s important that you take certain precautions. Protecting your home is all about being prepared and taking good care of it, as the roof is one of your property’s most critical components.
1. Understand the hail risks in your area so you can take appropriate precautions
2. Choose the right roofing material for your hail risk – take advice from a roofing expert regarding the best material and options for your needs
3. Ensure your roof and guttering are correctly installed and well maintained – have a fully qualified roofing specialist thoroughly inspect your roofing at frequent intervals and do not leave repairs outstanding
4. Regularly clear debris from gutters and downpipes
Remember, a worn or damaged roof will not be able to protect you and your assets as well as a well-maintained roof during extreme weather conditions, including hail. In order to help protect the value of your property, it is important that you understand the risks and take the necessary precautions.