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Hail Damage Roof: An Extensive Guide to Inspecting Your Roof for Hail Damage

extensive-guide-to-hail-damage-roof-inspection-EuroshieldIf you’ve recently installed one of our rubber roofs, you won’t have to worry about hail damage.

Vermont Slate Hail Proof roofs are warrantied against any size hail for the first 20 years and another 30 years for a hail of two-inch diameter or less.

However, if you don’t yet have a rubber roof, you will likely have to conduct regular inspections of your roof for hail damage if you live in the most hail-affected areas of North America (more about this below).

Even in less-affected areas, remember that it only takes one quick, minute-long hailstorm to cause major damage. After hail, it’s always best to check your roof for signs of damage.

This post takes you through the types of damage to look for on most roofs – and how rubber roofing can save you a lot of maintenance and repair work.


Signs of damage on a roof

After a hailstorm, some of the signs of damage around your home may be obvious: the broken windows, the round dings on the car, and the damaged garden furniture are impossible to miss.

However, detecting damage on your roof may not be so obvious. The signs of damage you should be on the lookout for depending on the type of roof you’ve installed.


Hail damage metal roofMetal roofs made from aluminum, steel or copper may be dented or poked by almost any size of hailstone, depending on the speed of travel (hail can reach speeds of over 80mph or 130kmh depending on wind speed and hailstone size).

Dents cause water to pool on a metal roof, which then leads to longer-term problems with rust. The deterioration of the affected panels can cause exposed screw holes to appear and can subsequently lead to serious water leaks.

This will shorten the life of your roof as a leaking roof may need to be replaced.

As well as the main sections of roofing, check the roof vents, flashing and metal valleys for dents. The ridge cap of the roof will take the full force of a hail storm so this may be damaged too.

The coating of the metal may also show signs of damage (scouring and scratch marks), which could reduce the longevity of your roof if it’s not repaired.


Hail damaged asphalt shingle roofAsphalt shingle roofs are popular choices but may suffer from circular, tear-drop shaped, or pitted spots or cracks from hail impact if the hail is large enough.

Continuous direct hits from smaller hailstones could also result in a type of “bruising’ effect. If your roof is left like this, it will start to absorb water and eventually start channelling water to underlayment and decking areas beneath the main roofing material.

You may only be able to spot damage by running your hand over the surface of the shingles to feel for dents and dimples, which means getting onto the roof and getting up close and personal with your roof (only attempt this if you know what you’re doing!)

Do any areas of the shingles have exposed, black substrate? Around the downspouts and the gutters, you may be able to spot detached mineral granules. Your roof may even have lost its sheen because of mineral loss due to hail damage.

The metal flashing bordering the roof may also display dents after a hailstorm and, again, check the roof vents.


Hail damage concrete roofEveryone thinks of concrete as practically indestructible but if your home has a concrete tile roof, a severe hailstorm can cause havoc.

Large hailstones like we saw in the recent Calgary hailstorm can chip, fracture or even shatter the concrete tiles, especially around weaker points like the edges of individual tiles.

Often, there are crescent-shaped fractures at the edges or star-shaped fractures at the point of impact. This is usually quite easy to spot. There may also be multiple impact (spatter) marks near the damaged area.

Damage to a concrete roof is more likely if it has unrepaired problems from a previous hailstorm or from foot traffic.

Most importantly, this may lead to more serious problems like exposure to water damage. Concrete is quite a porous material so this can exacerbate problems.

So, if your concrete tiles break, they will need replacement. This can be an expensive fix to a problem that might have been avoided with a hail-proof, rubber roof (read on for more information about this).


Hail damage cedar shake roofCedar shakes are another popular choice of roofing material: again, great for aesthetics but they may not stand up to a severe hailstorm.

Random-looking damage with no discernible pattern may appear after a hailstorm. Brown or orange-coloured splits can appear in the shingles. There may also be scrapes or slight indents on cedar shakes.

The splits that appear can splinter and have sharp edges and there may also be impact marks or dents along with the splits.

These splits will require rapid repair or problems with leaking will likely occur.

What can hail do to a roof?

Hail damaged roof Calgary hailstorm 2020As you’ve seen in the rundown of different roofing materials above, hail can cause major damage to a roof, leading to a repair bill that runs into thousands of dollars.

Hailstones can be pea-size or as large as a softball and often have sharp edges that can devastate roofing materials.

A recent hailstorm in northeast Calgary made international news and caused an estimated $1 billion in damage around the city.

Tens of thousands of homes and cars were hit hard by the huge hail and rainstorm.

Residential properties came off particularly bad with homeowners urging the provincial government to declare a national disaster in order to access extra relief assistance.

One of the major problems is that, after deductibles, insurance companies may only cover a small proportion of the hail damage. That’s if you have insurance coverage in the first place – many people in the case of the recent Calgary storm didn’t.

How do I inspect for hail damage myself?

After a hail storm, you can perform an inspection of your roof but do not attempt to fix any problems without professional assistance.

You can start by taking a walk around and checking for visible damage. If you have a ladder that will reach the roof, a close-up inspection is a good idea.

A checklist of things to be inspected

A professional inspection of your roof will cover far more than you are able to spot with just a ladder.

Professionals will inspect all the common tell-tale signs of hail damage. This includes damage to:

  • Individual tiles, shakes, shingles (dents, pockmarks, bruising, splits, cracks, splintering, mineral loss, depending on roof material)
  • Overall appearance (e.g. the shininess of asphalt roofing)
  • Gutters and downspouts
  • Roof vents
  • Siding
  • The interior ceiling (for water damage)

What should I do if I think my roof is hail damaged?

If you notice visible damage to your roof during your initial inspection:

  • Document any damage with photographs and write down any pertinent details of the storm (date, time, damage details)
  • Call your insurance company immediately
  • Your insurance company will arrange an assessment
  • Your insurance company will seek the advice of professional roofing contractors and inform you of their decision
  • Repairs can then be arranged

It’s important to arrange repairs as soon as possible before further structural damage is caused to your roof.

You should also note that a failure to report roof damage immediately after a hail storm could mean that your insurance won’t cover repairs.

Download Printable Checklist

What qualifies as an impact-resistant roof?

An impact-resistant roof is made with materials that are able to withstand wind and simulated hail without suffering damage.

The Class 4 UL2218 test by Underwriters Laboratories simulates the impact energy of free-falling hailstones using steel ball bearings dropped onto roofing material. The balls are dropped from heights starting at 12 feet for a 1.25-inch ball up to 20 feet for a 2-inch ball.

To meet the acceptance criteria of UL 2218, the roof covering material’s exposed surface, back surface and underneath layers must suffer no tearing, fracturing, cracking, splitting, rupture, crazing or show other evidence of opening of the roof covering layer.

However, it is relatively easy for a roofing material to meet these minimum requirements and earn a Class I, II, III, or IV impact resistance rating.

In the real world, hail-fall speeds are dependent upon the size and severity of the storm and can be much more devastating than in the lab test.

So, “impact-resistant” and “hail-resistant” are not necessarily the same and “Class 4 roofing shingles” may be impact resistant but not withstand damage from a hailstorm.

Why is a rubber roof a perfect solution for hail-prone areas?

At Euroshield®, we live by the belief that it’s better to prevent than to repair. We’ve seen the type of damage that hail can do to most types of roofs: metal, shingles, slate, cedar shake.

Whatever type of roof you have, the risk of damage is an almost constant one if you live in the so-called "Hail Alley" region.

This is a vast region of North America encompassing:

  • Texas – especially the Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Austin areas
  • Oklahoma (especially the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas)
  • Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, Indiana
  • Wyoming and Colorado
  • North Carolina and Virginia
  • Illinois and Minnesota
  • Alberta
  • Southern Ontario

If you live in one of these areas or in any other hail-affected area around the globe, and impact-resistant roof may not be enough.

No homeowner wants to keep spending money on a roof that fails time and time again due to hail impact. A hail-proof roof is a necessity.

Thankfully, there is a type of roof available now that can give you complete peace of mind no matter what size hailstones that nature throws at you: a Euroshield® rubber roof called Vermont Slate HP.

These rubber roofs (made from 95 percent recycled tire rubber) are virtually maintenance-free and have been proven to withstand impact from hail without a blemish.

The level of hail resistance of rubber roofing

Vermont Slate HP (Hail Proof) roofing material looks exactly like slate.

However, unlike slate, it provides any size hail impact damage resistance for the first 20 years after installation. Thereafter, it provides 30 years of hail resistance (for hailstones up to two-inch in diameter).

This roofing material has been tested by being blasted with a four-inch simulated hail at speeds of 183mph using our custom-built air cannon. The Vermont Slate HP roofing panels exhibited no damage after impact.

As well as saving huge amounts of waste material from ending up in landfills, Euroshield® rubber roofing panels are extremely tough.

Our rubber panels are also a very eco-friendly option so you get the best of both worlds: the peace of mind that comes with knowing that you’ve done something good for the planet as well for the long-term future of your home.

What makes Euroshield® rubber roofing hail resistant?

Vulcanized rubber is used extensively as a shock-absorbing material in a multitude of industrial and engineering applications. Charles Goodyear discovered back in 1839 that when rubber is vulcanized, the rubber molecules cross-link and give the rubber strength, elasticity, and other important mechanical properties.

That very same rubber is used in the production of Euroshield® rubber roofing panels, along with other additives, such as carbon black. This further enhances the level of impact resistance provided by these highly durable shingles.

Tire rubber is able to absorb energy and disperse it extremely effectively, making it extremely hail resistant.

Imagine, for instance, a tire on your car hitting a pothole in the road. No damage is done. The same applies when the material is applied to a roof – there is no damage even from the type of major impact resulting from large hailstones. It returns to its former shape and condition.


Frequently Asked Questions

What qualifies as an impact-resistant roof?

An impact-resistant roof is made with materials that are able to withstand wind and simulated hail without suffering damage.

Is it possible to repair a hail damaged roof?

Yes, a hail-damaged roof can be prepared if the damage is not too major. Individual shingles or tiles can be replaced in most instances. If the damage is extensive, the repair bill is significant, and your roof is nearing the end of its life anyway, you might want to consider a new hail-proof roof. Replacement roofs are more common than many people realize. Remember, it only takes one hailstorm to damage a standard roof and cause many thousands of dollars of damage.

Where is the Hail Alley?

  • Texas – especially the Dallas, Ft. Worth, San Antonio, and Austin areas
  • Oklahoma (especially the Oklahoma City and Tulsa areas)
  • Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, South Dakota, Indiana
  • Wyoming and Colorado
  • North Carolina and Virginia
  • Illinois and Minnesota
  • Alberta
  • Southern Ontario

Hail Damage Roof Inspection Checklist

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