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Hail Damage On A Roof

Composition Shingles
It's often difficult to determine whether or not a shingle roof needs to be replaced after a hail storm because damage is not readily evident. There are a few ways that I would make this determination.

  1. I would look in my gutter or at the ground around my house. If I see a large amount of granules then reroofing would be a consideration. Granules aren't just there for appearance purposes, they're there to protect the asphalt based roof product (the shingle). Asphalt and the sun don't mix. The sun will beat it up pretty badly. It doesn't take much of a hail storm to dislodge a bunch of granules, thereby exposing the asphalt and shortening the service life of your roof. However, I must warn that telling one’s insurance company that roof damage is present, but the damage isn’t visible could easily turn into an unpleasant confrontation between a person and their insurance company. So here's what I would do in this case...

  2. If my roof went through a moderate hail storm but no damage was readily visible, I would note the date and time of the storm, then notify my insurance company that I didn't observe any damage on my roof, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Then I would sit back and wait a few months. If enough granules were knocked loose, the sun will hit the exposed asphalt (even though I can't readily see it, it is there). The exposed asphalt will deteriorate and more granules will come loose. In a few months and after a few rains, the damage will be readily evident. But before I go running to my insurance company, I will need to have done my due diligence.
    • I take a lot of photos of the roof just after the storm (and after it's dried if it's wet). I make sure the date is shown on the photo.
    • I also take photos of piles of hail and of the size of the hail stones next to a quarter, ruler, or something to reference the size of the hail stones.
    • I'll also document every rain storm afterward (date and amount of rain) and take pictures of granules that have come off the roof.
    If my roof looks much worse after about 4 to 6 months, I take this information to my insurance agent and tell him I need a new roof.
  3. Many times hail storms produce visible damage, but the damage is fairly sporadic and sparse on the roof. What I do in this case is quite simple. I take a 5 foot by 5 foot section of the roof, and mark it with something. I like blue, chalkline chalk, the kind available at any hardware store, because it washes off easily. I then take a photo of the section I use mo, and I use more chalk and mark each hail impact I find and take another photo. I do this in three areas. I then take the average number of hail impacts found, multiply that by 4, and I get the average amount of hail impacts per square that my roof has experienced.
With this information, I can then call my insurance company and ask, "How many impacts per SQUARE constitute a new roof?" Then I'll know whether or not I should be getting a new roof. Just for the reader's information, I've heard it's between 5 and 10 damaging impacts per square, depending on which insurance company I talk to. The ideal thing to do would be to get this information BEFORE a hail storm occurs, and file it away with your insurance papers. Again, I would do my due diligence by writing down the date and time I called, and who it was I spoke with, first and last name. Please note that it could several phone calls before a person finds the information they’re seeking.

 

  
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