Hail storm damage happens throughout the United States every year and across every season. Hail will wreak havoc on your windows, vinyl and aluminum siding, gutters, and especially your roof. Most of the time, unless the damage is extremely severe, visible signs can be hard to see from the ground and requires an up-close inspection.
Hail is a form of solid precipitation that is often confused with its smaller cousin, ice pellets. Hail consists of irregularly shaped balls or lumps of ice. Where ice pellets form generally during colder, freezing temperatures, hail does not. Hail is usually produced inside thunderstorms that contain strong, upward movements of air and large droplets of water. As these water droplets are pushed upward into colder temperatures in the clouds, they freeze, then begin to fall again, where they come into contact with another water droplet, which freezes to the first, then is once again cycled upward. This up and down motion continues until the hailstone becomes too heavy to be pushed upward and it falls to earth as part of a hail storm.
Hail is usually accompanied and driven by high winds. But this is not always the case and even without the higher winds, if the hail storm lasts more than a few minutes it can begin to loosen the granules on your shingles. The loss of these protective granules on the shingles will shorten the life of your roof. These granules on roof shingles help to prevent UV damage to the organic-based material that the shingle is constructed of. UV exposure will cause a quicker deterioration of the shingle itself, which in turn, shortens the life of your roof.
Another way that hail storms damage roofs is by pocking, denting, or puncturing the asphalt shingles. This creates small cracks, craters, and holes. Then these damaged areas allow water to enter your home and cause interior damage in attics and to ceilings and walls. If your roof is constructed of slate or shake singles, hail damage can result in chips and cracks, resulting in allowing moisture to enter your home.
When people first think about hail damage to windows, they think of broken glass. And while this is often the case, much more subtle damage to the window can occur. Because most hail is wind driven, it tends to strike your windows in a sideways motion. Without breaking the glass, the hail can cause damage to the window glazing or to the metal or wood frame of the window itself. This type of damage is hard to see unless you look closely. If left unrepaired, the windows seals may eventually fail and slowly allow moisture to enter your home.
The winds accompanying hail producing storms will force the hail sideways against your home’s siding. If your siding is wood, the hail could cause discoloration and chipping in the paint. If your siding is aluminum or vinyl, the damage may be nicks, dents, or cracks. Even tougher siding materials like stucco can be damaged by wind driven hailstones.
Let’s face it, you can’t control Mother Nature so the only thing you can do is to take steps to protect your home from hail storm damage. Here are some places to start:
There is no way to know if your home will ever suffer from hail storm damage. However, there are ways you can plan ahead to minimize your risk and to pre-screen experts who can help restore your home if needed. Hail damage can be sneaky damage. It is not always easy to detect and it can cause water to work its way into your home through your roof, windows, or exterior siding. Slow water leaks are hard to find and often lead to mold problems if not handled in a timely fashion.
If you experience water damage in your home that is caused by hail, you can get immediate, 24-hour information and help by calling 877-960-0491. You will be connected to a local water and mold damage expert that can answer questions and send help to your home right away. Their initial inspection and estimate are free and without obligation. If your roof was damaged and you want a list of local roofing professionals, use this form to get a list of pre-screened local roofers who will inspect your roof and give you a free estimate for repairs or replacement.
Written by Mark Huey.
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