How Does Hail Damage a Roof?

Denver Hail Damage

Hailstorms are known to wreak havoc on property owners. Much of the damage might be obvious, like torn window screens, dented cars, or ruined landscaping. Roof damage from hail can be more difficult to spot, but unless it is repaired quickly, the damage can compound over time and result in significant property damage.

According to insurancejournal.com, the Denver area accounts for the 2nd most hail claims in the USA (per their 2019 study). Hail will almost never cause a roof to immediately fail and leak. Instead, hail damage reduces the roof’s expected remaining life and will lead to the roof failing sooner than it would have otherwise. That is why it is considered a covered peril by insurance companies who frequently pay to replace hail damaged roofs.

So, how exactly do hailstones damage a roof? Lets look at the types of damage hail can cause.

  • Granule Loss – the granules on the top of your shingles serve an important purpose. They protect the asphalt material beneath from UV rays. When the asphalt is exposed to UV rays, it quickly cracks and buckles which accelerates the aging of your roof. Look in your gutters and downspouts after a hailstorm to see if you notice shingle granules.
  • Exposed Fiberglass Mat – the shingles’ surface can be shattered by hailstone impact. This causes it to break away from the mat underneath, damaging the integrity of the shingle.
  • Fractured Fiberglass Mat – hailstone impacts can also cause the fiberglass mat to fracture, causing cracks and tears that speed-up the deterioration of the roof. This can be difficult to detect and usually takes a trained Denver roof inspector.
  • Cracked Shingles – hail strikes from large hail (or wind-blown) can cause cracks in the shingle. The crack can often lead to a tear, which exposes your roof to bare spots. This damage must be repaired quickly.
  • Damaged Seal-Strip – your shingles have an adhesive seal to keep them solidly connected to the your roof. The seal is at the bottom-lip of the shingle, while the nails are in the middle of the shingle and covered by the shingle on top. When the seal strip is damaged, your shingle may no longer adhere to the roof which causes wind-blown shingle tears. This type of damage can leave bare spots on your roof and requires immediate attention.

How big does hail have to be to cause roof damage? The answer depends on several factors, primarily wind speed. But in general, hail that is ¾” in diameter or larger can cause roof damage.

Hail Damage Chart - Sol Vista Roofing

How do you know if you have hail damage on your roof?

The first area to check for hail damage evidence is your gutters. Do you see dented gutter and downspout metal? Hail large enough to dent gutters is often large enough to cause roof damage that will shorten your roof’s life. Also, while inspecting your gutters, look for shingle granules in the gutter system. Granules in your gutters after a storm were likely caused by hail stones striking and separating the granules from the shingle.

It may not always be clear from your gutter inspection, or even a DIY roof inspection. If you have any question about hail damage, we suggest having a professional roof inspection performed. Most Denver roofers will do this inspection for free. For information on what your Denver roof inspection should include, check out our article here.

What To Do Next About Denver Hail Damage?

Did you determine there is hail damage to your roof? If you’ve been working with an honest and reputable roofing company, they should be able to help determine if the damage is significant enough to involve your insurance company. Filing a roof claim due to hail damage should be done soon after a hailstorm, as most policies only allow a fixed period (“statute”) for a claim to be filed.

For professional assistance along the way, contact the Denver roofing professionals at Sol Vista Roofing.