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What Does Hail Damage Look Like On a Roof?

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Written by

Leroy Whitt

Hail storms don’t just affect your vehicle, outdoor patio furniture, and exterior siding. When hail hits, it can also damage your roof.

Unfortunately, hail damage to your roof can be tricky to spot. The amount of damage that occurs during a hailstorm can vary greatly, and the average homeowner may not notice it right away or know what to look for once the storm passes. 

However, there are several key ways to recognize hail damage, and most insurers tend to categorize said damage as either functional or cosmetic — which is why it’s important to know what to look for. 

So, what does hail damage look like on a roof? Keep reading to learn more.

And it the issue looks dire, get in touch with a trusted local roofer.

damaged roof of a large house

Functional Damage Vs Cosmetic Damage

  • Functional damage refers to the type of damage that will affect the performance of your roof as well as its structure. 
  • Cosmetic damage impacts only the surface, leading to cosmetic issues. In other words, the damage can be seen, but it does not keep your roof from functioning properly. 

If there’s only cosmetic damage to your roof, your insurance company will likely deny your claim. However, cosmetic damage shouldn’t be neglected as it can contribute to the deterioration of your roof over time, causing it to weaken and become severely damaged during the next hailstorm.

Hailstorm Damage Explained

Hail is a form of precipitation that consists of solid ice that forms inside of thunderstorm updrafts. It can be mild or incredibly dangerous, depending on the following:

Hailstone Size 📏

hail stone sizes after hailstorm on a wood

Hailstones vary in size, which means their severity and impact to your roof will also vary. Hailstones can range from a pea-sized ball that’s just ¼ of an inch in diameter all the way up to that of a softball.

While smaller sizes are less dense, they’re not exactly safer. Smaller hailstones can have a rapid impact on the wind direction simply because they’re lighter, which means they harm your landscaping, garden, and even siding.

Softball-sized hailstones (usually up to four inches in diameter) can severely damage your home’s exterior because they fall from the clouds with a much higher density and pick up speed along the way. That’s what makes them so dangerous.

Hailstone Shape ⚪

Hailstones are also not perfectly round and typically vary in shape. In many instances, they become crystalized, which creates jagged edges throughout their form. These little jagged edges can scratch everything from the shingles on your roof to your siding, windows, and more.

damaged house roof with asphalt shingles

Wind Speed and Direction of the Hailstorm 🌬️

Lastly, the speed of the wind and its direction during a hailstorm — plus the size and shape of the hailstones — will determine the damage your roof will incur. This damage can be pretty extensive, with every two- to four-inch hailstone having a projected speed of impact between 44 and 72 miles per hour.

When the wind is carrying larger hailstones at higher speeds, you can expect some serious damage to your roof as well as the rest of your property.

What Hailstorm Damage Looks Like on a Roof

Generally speaking, visible roof damage caused by hail will look like:

  • Cracks on the shingles
  • Broken or fractured shingles
  • Dents or other impact marks on the shingles

Cracks on Your Shingles

When a hailstone hits your shingles, it can cause them to crack. These cracks may only run through the surface, but they can change both the look and function of your shingles. Over time, they can cause the shingles to break off, exposing the waterproof membrane and roof deck underneath.

Broken or Fractured Shingles

hail damage marks on house roof

In some instances, hailstorms can cause your shingles to break or fracture. If the damage is severe enough, your shingles will likely break apart and fall off. This is usually the result of large, softball-sized hailstones coupled with a high wind velocity.

Dents or Impact Marks

Dents and other marks are a very common indicator of hailstone impact. Dents and impact marks occur when the hailstones hit the surface hard and fast, and you’ll see them in several places, including your roof, air conditioner (at the top of the vent), and on other outdoor items.

What Happens When You Notice Roof Hail Damage?

Once you know what hail damage looks like on a roof, the next step is learning the potential effects. All of the damage mentioned above can easily cause water leakage inside your home — which can cause structural damage if left alone. 

The dents created by hailstones usually lead to a loss of protective granules on your roof shingles as well as small holes. Even if the damage is cosmetic, over time, this will cause your shingles to deteriorate, and the damage will spread if not addressed.

Therefore, the logical next step is to get in touch with your local roofing contractor for a free inspection after each big storm. They’re the only people with the experience and skills to assess your roof properly and advise you on the next steps when it comes to hail damage.

Construction worker repairing damaged roof

Can Hail Damage to Your Roof Be Repaired?

In most cases, the damage to your roof caused by a hailstorm can be repaired. However, it all depends on the extent of the damage and a few other factors — like the age of your roof, materials available, and the overall condition of your roof.

Ultimately, hail damage doesn’t just look bad; it is bad. It starts with a few dents here and there but can quickly become a serious issue if you don’t know what you’re looking at or don’t call upon a professional to inspect your roof post-hailstorm. 

The last thing you need to deal with is a leaky roof or structural issues caused by hail damage. So, if you think there may be damage to your roof due to a hailstorm (or any other type of destructive storm), the roofing professionals at Whitt’s Roofing are the people you want to call. We’ll inspect your roof thoroughly, and we offer unbeatable financing options in the event that your insurance won’t pay! 

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