Spring is on the way!

It has been a long, cold, snowy winter but finally we are seeing signs of spring on the way. Spring is also a great time to have your roof and property inspected for any damage that may have occurred over the fall or winter months.

Weatherguard inspectors are highly trained and meet the standards of Owens Corning Platinum Contractors. Contact us today for a no obligation inspection of your roof, siding and gutters so that you are prepared for the summer months to come, and have piece of mind that as summer storms start to arrive, your home and property are protected.

Hail Damage and Your Roof

When a hailstorm comes out of nowhere, you probably feel safe inside your house. While you’re safer in the shelter of your home than you would be in a car or exposed to the elements, your roof can still be significantly damaged in a hailstorm. Find out how to prevent damage from hail, how to know if your roof has been affected and what you should do if hail hits your home.

What Affects Hail Damage

Hailstorms can vary in severity. If hailstorms are accompanied by heavy winds, you may be more likely to experience damage to the sloped areas of your roof as the hail hits at an angle. Flat roofs can be more significantly damaged by hail that falls straight down.

The larger the hail, the more potential there is for damage. Softball-size hail can go right through the roof, while hail that’s the size of a golf ball can create dents and dings in roofing material.

The materials that your roof is made of also affect the extent of the damage that hail can cause. Asphalt shingles tend to absorb the impact better, but they may show dents after a hailstorm. So can aluminum roofing and gutters. Vinyl and wood siding can crack from the impact of hail. Materials that have already been compromised by extreme weather may be more susceptible to damage.

How Do You Know If Your Roof Has Been Damaged?

Hail damage may not be immediately obvious. Different surfaces react differently when they’re hit by hail.

If you have asphalt and composition shingles, you may witness haphazard dents in the material. It will not look like an obvious pattern. The areas that have been hit by hail may appear darker in color.

These types of shingles are covered with a granular texture. Hail can remove the granules, exposing the felt underneath. You may not notice missing granules by inspecting your roof from the ground. One telltale sign is seeing the granules accumulate in your gutter.

If the asphalt appears shiny, this could be an indication that the granules have been removed as well. If you touch the areas where the hail has damaged the roof, they may feel soft instead of hard and stiff. Any areas that have lost their protective granular cover are more susceptible to damage from everyday elements, like sun, wind and rain.

If your home has wood shingles, you may also notice random damage from the hail. You will not necessarily notice a uniform array of hail strikes. A split in the shingle may appear brown or rust colored. A split that results from hail will be sharp at the edges. It won’t appear to be eroded or deteriorated. You may also notice impact spots along the areas where the shingles have split.

Roofs experience regular wear and tear that can result in deterioration that looks like hail damage. If you see shiny spots or missing granules on an asphalt shingle, it hasn’t necessarily been struck by hail. Blistering, cracking and flaking can be caused by weather extremes and sun exposure.

Myths About Hail Damage

Some people believe that if they don’t see visible damage, their roof has not been affected. The truth is that a professional who is experienced in identifying hail damage will be the best person to examine a roof for evidence of impact.

If you don’t experience any leaks or moisture inside the house, don’t assume that your roof has not been struck. A qualified professional should inspect the home for areas that may have been compromised and could lead to leaks down the road.

Many homeowners think that a newer roof is less likely to undergo damage from hail. New roof materials need time to cure. In some cases, an older roof is able to withstand the intense impact better than a new roof.

How To Prevent Hail Damage

Your roof is one of the most vulnerable areas of your home. It may already have been damaged from previous storms, years of exposure to sunlight and heavy winds. Inspect your roof regularly for missing shingles, areas of deterioration and brittle, flaking shingles. It’s a good idea to examine it before a storm season as well as after a major storm.

Prevent potential damage by maintaining your roof and landscaping. Keep your trees trimmed. Remove dead branches that could make an impact with your roof during a storm. However, note that an adequate tree cover can also protect your roof from hail.

Make sure that your attic is properly insulated. Any heat seeping up through the roof after a hail or ice storm can melt the ice. However, if the weather is cold enough, the water can freeze again quickly, creating an ice dam and causing water buildup.

If you live in an area that is prone to hail, you may want to consider using impact-resistant material for your roof. Consumer Reports tests and rates roofing materials based on their ability to withstand impact, among other things. You may have to hire a special installer or place a special order for certain materials. However, if your house is pummeled by many hailstorms, you’ll make up the expense over the years.

What To Do If Your Roof Is Damaged By Hail

Don’t wait for the damage to produce severe signs. If you wait for your roof to leak, you may have to deal with bigger issues, like mold and electrical problems.

If you suspect that your roof has been damaged by hail, hire a professional to inspect it. You should also contact your insurance company to notify them of the damage. Any claims for a roof that has been damaged by hail must be approved by your insurance company. You should find out what is covered before hiring someone to repair or replace your roof.

Contact a few state-licensed contractors to give you a proposal on repairs. An insurance adjuster will also inspect your roof. Present the contractor’s proposal to the insurance adjuster. You’ll be able to give the insurance company’s report to the contractor to make sure that the replacement value for materials matches up adequately.

You should always be the liaison between the contractor and the insurance company. Don’t pay the contractor before you receive your compensation from the insurance company. Do not allow the insurance company to pay the contractor directly.

How to Prepare for a Hailstorm

Fact: Minnesota is hail country.

If you’re new to the Land of 10,000 Lakes, you were probably told to prepare for the worst winter you could possibly imagine. You bought a down jacket capable of withstanding subzero temperatures; you chose a house with decent insulation and heated bathroom floors. You even sprang for a new furnace. After stocking up on hot chocolate (and maybe a bottle of decent brandy) you consoled yourself with the thought, “Hey, at least I can ski, snowboard, ice skate or play hockey all winter.”

And then it happened: you were slammed with your first hailstorm. Or was that the sound of your neighbor throwing golf balls at your roof?

If you thought that snow was the only kind of severe weather to hit the Upper Midwest, think again. Minnesota is part of the Hail Belt, which includes Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, and Illinois, among other states across the Great Plains, Midwest and Southwest.

How you can prepare for a hailstorm.

The good news is that your neighbor isn’t throwing golf balls at your roof–it only sounds that way. And, even better news: you can prepare for a hailstorm.

As far as weather phenomena go, hail differs from snow in its intensity and longevity. While even heavy snow can’t do much damage in a few minutes, hail can. Fortunately, the average hail storm lasts only a few minutes, and seldom more than 15 minutes.Despite a hailstorm’s brevity, it can pack a serious, damage-inducing punch to homes, cars and people. (Dog and cat owners take note: remember to let your pets inside during a hail storm.)

The damage, of course, isn’t merely physical–it’s financial. In the United States, hail damage can annually cost as much as $1 billion. In terms of the facts as to annual cost for hail damage is in the billions/year. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/events (this tool doesn’t have a sub-category for hail within the severe storm category but hail is always a component along with wind and tornado) Within hail there is also structural, auto and crop.  By taking a few preemptive steps, businesses and individuals can protect their property from hail damage–and the daunting bills that go with it. For homeowners, these steps are simple: investing in a quality roof and getting an annual checkup before hail season are two ways you can be proactive about avoiding storm damage.

Prior to a Hailstorm

As painful as it may sound, whip out that insurance policy and read the fine print. Better yet, ask your insurance agent to talk you through the fine print–after all, it’s their job. (Insurance agents specialize in fine print. If yours doesn’t, it’s time to find a new one!) By investing in storm insurance through a quality agent, you will avoid the stress and potential financial upheaval of being uninsured.

Talk with your agent about options for a deductible that’s appropriate for your particular situation. Deductibles can vary widely depending on the value of assets you want to cover and the level of risk you’re willing to assume.should hail and storm be separated?  I don’t know what would be best from an seo perspective but don’t know that most people will search for the combined versus the separate.  Also, this is a good section  – likely additional suggestions with respect to reviewing the policy – do you know if your deductible is a flat amount or based on the value of your home, do you know if it is a “replacement” policy versus an ACV (actual cash value) policy?  Does your policy cover building code upgrades?

Reducing Hail Damage

When is the last time you checked the state of your roof? If you’re like many busy people, the answer to that question might be “I have no clue,” or “Sometime during the George W. Bush administration.” Or even “never.”

Maintaining your roof is an important preemptive measure to protect your home from hail, which can wreak havoc on shingles and roof surfaces that are worn or otherwise in a state of disrepair.

During a Hailstorm

Picture a hailstone as large as a softball or a grapefruit as it hurtles through the air at 50 to 100 miles per hour. Does this sounds like a scene from an action movie in which Tom Cruise saves the earth from an apocalyptic hailstorm doomed to destroy civilization?

Actually, this scenario describes an actual, real-life hailstorm. While most hailstones are smaller, it’s important to be recognize the danger of what is basically hard pellets of ice falling from the sky at speeds that can exceed what would be considered legal illegal should be legalif you were driving.

Storms can change at any time, from what seems like a minor event to a catastrophic one. The best advice? Stay inside. Avoid both glass doors and sky-facing windows to avoid exposure to broken glass. Close drapes, blinds and shades to keep flotsam and jetsam from blowing inside. If you can, park your car in the garage or other sheltered area; if you’re not at home, parking under a shelter like a gas station pump rooftop is better than parking in the open.

After a Hailstorm

Thoroughly survey your property and belongings for damages. If you have hail damage insurance and you have discovered damages during your assessment, give your insurance provider a call at the earliest opportunity. Map Forensics will help navigate the insurance claim process by clarifying how to assess your damages, and by working with your insurance company to agree upon the scope of repair work needed. In the aftermath of a stressful storm, we’re staffed with friendly people to walk you through the complex assessment and insurance process 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Bottom Line: Are you Prepared?

If you’re worried whether you’re truly prepared for a hailstorm, why not give us a call today? We work closely with contractors, roofers and other companies in the business of helping clients to protect their assets from hail damage. Fill out the form below to get in touch!