During a thunderstorm, hail is always a possibility. If you have a shingled roof, the possibility of damage to your roof increases with the size of the hailstones. In this blog, we explore the impact that hail damage can have on your home. We also consider how to move forward after a hail strike, from a financial and logistical perspective.

Recognizing Damage
Hailstones vary in size and are often not spherical. They can be as small as a pea, and as large as a grapefruit. And although the larger stones are rare, even stones the size of a gumball can be deadly.

Stones of moderate size can cause significant damage. Here are some things to look for on a typical residential roof:

. Random damage that has no real pattern
. Black spots where hail has struck the roof
. Hail hits that are soft to the touch, like a bruise on an apple
. Missing shingles
. Cracked or broken shingles
. Sections or spots of exposed surface beneath the shingles

On a roof made of clay tiles, you may see tiles that are cracked, broken, or missing.

On a metal roof, you can sometimes see dents of various size following a hailstorm.

Shingles often crack or split on a wooden roof. As you examine the splits, you can often see discoloration, sharp edges, or more impact marks. You can also see missing shingles or exposed roof.

Window Damage
Hail can arrive at your house at a high enough speed to break a window. If the hailstone comes at a sharp enough angle and is large enough, your window will shatter. Hailstones can also strike your window frames and housings, chipping paint, and creating dents and other problems.

Siding and Paint
Although siding is often resilient, a large enough hailstone can cause small cracks. Cracks allow in water, which can result in mold, or wood rot if there is wood beneath the siding. Even if the siding remains intact, hailstones can cause cosmetic problems like dents and chipped paint. Large enough hailstones can also rip siding off of your house. The damage will depend on the type of siding, and how secure it is.

If your home lacks siding, hailstones can chip paint and bruise the wooden surface beneath it. Since paint protects the exterior just as siding does, exposure to elements can again lead to mold and rot. Areas exposed in this manner require immediate attention to prevent further deterioration.

Repairing Hail Damage
A good homeowner’s insurance policy will cover hail-related damage. If your home shows some of the symptoms listed above, call them right away. Loose and damaged shingles are dangerous to walk on, and they let in water. If your roof’s lower layers have taken in water, there is the possibility of rot or mold growth. You will want to address this situation ASAP, while it’s covered, and before it becomes a bigger problem. You’ll also want to get to it before your next rainstorm.

Preventing Damage
If you want to prevent damage done to your home from hail, there are three main factors to consider. The common thread in all of these factors is design. If you wait until after moving into your home to make changes, upgrades may be costly, if not infeasible. These decisions are best made when buying a house or designing one.

Where to Live
There are certain states, particularly in the midwest, that see more hail than others, and larger hail at that. Kansas, in particular, gets the lion’s share of hail-producing thunderstorms. While this may not be a factor in where you choose to live, don’t say we didn’t warn you. Weather-related damage can undoubtedly affect your decision, and it can also alter what you pay in insurance premiums. You may want to look at your potential state of residence for hail-related precipitation figures before moving there.

Slope of Roof
This is one of the biggest hail damage factors. The steeper the slope of your roof is, the smaller the angle a hailstone will strike it at (when a projectile strikes a surface at a 90⁰ angle, it absorbs all of the force. By striking the roof at an oblique angle, the hailstone will bounce off with minimal damage). Of course, most homes cannot be re-engineered to have a steeper roof. However, this fact might affect the kind of house you want to purchase or build.

Design Materials
When designing a home, or re-roofing your current one, you should consider roofing materials that can withstand a significant hailstorm. These materials are available no matter what type of roof you have or want, including asphalt, wood, metal, etc. The bad news is that these materials can be expensive, and are often heavy. Thus, you will need a competent engineer to determine whether your load-bearing components will be able to support your roof. The good news is, your roof will be able to resist more than just hail. A well-made roof could (and should) last many more years than a standard roof.

As for windows, you can select materials that are shatter-resistant, either in the form of durable glass or polycarbonate. Some of these materials are difficult to find. However, glass experts know how to make shatter-resistant glass for homes. Even with huge hailstones, such glass may crack, but is unlikely to shatter.

With siding, again, you’ll need to look for impact-resistant materials. Unlike your roof, hail will not strike your siding directly. Therefore, you will get much more value when buying durable siding than with what you put on your roof. As always, the most durable material for resisting hail will be brick or stone.