Hail Storm Damages

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.

What Is Hail?

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 storm damages

Hail Storm Damage and Your Roof

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.

Windows and Hail Storm Damage

hail damage window and siding

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.

Hail’s Damage to Siding

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.

Protection Against Hail Damage

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:

  1. You can upgrade your home’s roof to hail-resistant shingles. These types of shingles are known as modified asphalt shingles and are resistant to extreme weather. They have a rubber-like quality that will rebound from light to moderate hail impacts. Although these shingles come at an added expense, many insurance companies offer a discount to homeowners who install these weather-resistant roofs.
  2. You can purchase and install, or have installed, storm shutters. Better known as hurricane shutters, these shutters are closable in the event of severe weather and can protect your windows from breakage or damage by hail and other flying debris. These shutters come in several different styles and finishes. They come in an accordion style that close from the sides and latch in the center, a roll-down style that can be cranked, or rolled, down by cranking a lowering mechanism, or a colonial style that can be unlatched, then swung shut toward the center of your window and re-latched securely together.
  3. Replacing the siding on your home can be a rather costly affair and changing it only in an effort to protect against severe weather events may be out of the question… today. However, if the time ever comes when you want to re-side your home, there are impact resistant siding materials out there in the marketplace. These products are usually made of a treated, engineered wood and will stand up to impacts much better than aluminum, vinyl, or regular wood siding.
  4. And let’s not forget any outdoor furniture you have sitting around. Although these items are not an actual part of your home’s structure, they can be susceptible to hail storm damage. You can buy covers for things like your grill and umbrella, but it is best to bring these items and any lawn furniture under cover or into your garage or storage shed when hail producing thunderstorms are predicted.

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.

Getting Help

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.

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Written by Mark Huey.