Living in Southwest Florida means enjoying more gorgeous sunshine and crystal blue skies than most other states in the country. But, It also means experiencing more heavy rainstorms – especially in the summer months. Often, those summer storms include hail that can be extremely damaging to roofs.
Just this April, a storm blew through and dumped egg-sized hail – something most Florida residents don’t see that often. Of course hail that big (2 inches in diameter) is going to be punishing when it hits your roof, but even hail the size of a tiny ball bearing can cause significant enough damage to require repairs.
If your home falls victim to a hailstorm, do you know what to do? We’ve put together a brief guide to provide some helpful tips on dealing with post-hailstorm roof repairs.
What Is Hail?
According to NOAA, hail is a form of precipitation that is formed when raindrops are carried upward by thunderstorm updrafts into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere. These drops freeze solid and then grow by colliding with liquid water drops.
The hail falls when the thunderstorm’s updraft can no longer support the weight of the hailstone. Wind-driven hail can tear up siding and roofing on houses, break windows, dent cars and cause severe injury and/or death to people and animals. While the fall speed of a hailstone can vary depending on its size, the hail we get here in Southwest Florida tends to fall at between 10 to 40 mph.
What Hail Can Do to Your Roof
While people tend to get excited about those egg-sized hailstones, hail of any size can cause enough damage to require roof repairs. Depending on the roof’s current age or condition, hail damage may actually make it necessary to consider a complete roof replacement.
The National Weather Service uses a color-coded graphical map to alert citizens of the risk of severe damage from hail. They rate impact on a scale from low to extreme.
Extreme damage can be caused by grapefruit size (3-to-4.5-inch diameter) to golf ball size (2 to 1.5-inch) hail. Hail this large tends to fall faster and with more kinetic force – especially if driven by high winds – and can be devastating to shingle, tile and metal roofs. Fortunately, hail rarely gets that large in this part of Florida.
Dime to quarter-sized hail is seen more frequently in this area of Florida and accounts for most of the hail damage incidents our roofing inspectors run into. Coin-sized hail can create pockmarks or dents in roofing shingles, chip or break roofing tiles and can even make considerable dents in metal roofs.
While there’s not much you can do to prevent hail damage, you can take steps to address the damages before they get worse.
After the Storm
As soon as it’s safe to go outside, you should do a grounds check.
Walk the perimeter of your property and look at your gutters. If you notice dented or broken gutters, there’s a very high chance your roof took damage as well. Scratches, dents, and small holes on flashing and other metal roof components also suggest damage to the rest of the roof.
Finding fragments of tile or shingle pieces are clear signs of roof damage. At this point, you can either get up on a ladder for a better view or call a local roofing contractor to inspect the roof.
How to Assess Hail Damage on Your Shingle Roof
The most common types of roofs found here in Florida are shingle roofs. If you have a shingle roof, here’s what to look for after a hailstorm:
- Look for dislodged granules in downspouts and gutters
- If you see a substantial number of granules, check nearby shingles for bare spots
- Look for round dents and pitting in the shingles
- Identify any cracked and pitted shingles
- Take photos of the damage
If you’re not seeing any immediate damage, but want to do a closer inspection for yourself, you’ll need to use a ladder to get a thorough look at the condition of your shingles. However, we recommend that you reach out to us or another local contractor to have a look.
Impact of Hail on Tile Roofs
Tile roofs are popular throughout Southwest Florida because of their looks, but also because they are known for being able to take a pretty solid beating. That said, they’re not invincible and hailstones have been known to damage or even destroy tile roofs.
Watch for the following signs of hail damage:
- Small punctures or cracks
- Clean, sharp-edged holes
- Chipped or broken corners and edges
Loose or damaged tiles will need immediate attention – preferably by a trained professional.
Waiting to contact a roofing contractor puts your home at risk for structural damage. Cracks and holes allow moisture to seep into the roof deck, so it’s best to make roof repairs before the next weather event.
Metal Roofs and Hail Damage
It’s easy to assume a metal roof can weather any storm. Metal is one of the most rigid roofing materials available. However, even dime-sized hail can cause damage to your metal roof.
Ignoring damage to a metal roof may lead to rust, and a rusty metal roof can lose its strength and structural integrity, especially when the rust spreads.
If you have a metal roof, you’ll need to check for two types of damage:
Scour marks look like scratches. They’re caused when hail hits the roof at an angle and scrapes off the protective outer coating.
Will You Need Roof Repairs or a Roof Replacement?
Assessing your roof as soon as possible after a hailstorm is vital for several reasons.
First, if you have hail damage, quick repairs mean you’re ready for the next storm. Waiting leaves your home vulnerable to more severe damage.
Second, if the damage is severe enough to warrant a roof replacement, you can’t wait. With the amount of rain in Southwest Florida, the next storm could cause an already weakened roof to take on even more extensive damage.
Only a licensed roof repair and replacement company can give you a clear picture of your roof’s condition. Once they survey the damage, they can advise you about your options.
An assessment done by a roofing contractor can also help you document damages for your insurance company.
Many homeowners’ insurance policies include coverage for hail damage. Putting together supporting documents for a claim isn’t something every homeowner feels comfortable doing.
Roofing contractors know what to look for and how to document roof damage. They can also put together an estimate, which is helpful for the claims adjuster.
Contact A Trusted Roofing Company Today
Whether you’ve already made an assessment or you’re not comfortable getting up on your roof, calling a trusted roofing company is critical. You don’t want to wait to make roof repairs!
Don’t let hail damage get you down. RoofRX has you and your roof covered.
We service customers in Charlotte, Collier, Lee, and Sarasota Counties, with offices in Cape Coral and Punta Gorda.
Contact us today and schedule an inspection, roof repairs, or a roof replacement.