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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!

Everything You Need To Know About the Roof Inspection Process

Most people take action when there is a noticeable sign of a damaged roof. For example, a spreading moisture stain on the ceiling may encourage a homeowner to call a contractor for an inspection. If you have to place buckets in your attic every time it rains, you’ll probably be making a call to a roof repair professional in the near future. However, many people don’t have their roof inspected at the most opportune time, which is before major damage occurs.

You may not notice that your roof needs maintenance. After all, it’s not exactly at eye level. An experienced roofing professional will be able to detect minor problems before they become bigger issues and recommend repairs to get the most life (and peace of mind) out of your roof.

Roofs Have an Age Limit

Every day, you get older. You expose your body to toxins and sunlight. These things can take a toll on your health. Of course, you can take steps to stay healthy, but you can’t prevent the inevitable.

A roof is quite similar. The roof is baked by UV rays every day. It is exposed to the elements. Every time it rains, hails, sleets or snows, your roof ages a little more. You can’t avoid replacing a roof eventually. However, you can extend its life by getting regular maintenance and repairing seemingly insignificant issues on a regular basis.

When Should You Get Your Roof Inspected?

Your roof should be inspected before your area’s severe weather season. It should be examined afterwards too. If you get a new roof, have it inspected to make sure that everything was installed properly. You may also wish to have a roof inspected if you are selling or buying a home.

The Roof Inspection Process

When a contractor comes out to inspect your roof, the following areas will be visually examined:

  • •The structure of the roof
  • •Underlayment materials
  • •Flashings
  • •Roof covering materials

During the inspection, the professional will walk along your roof, lifting up shingles at the edges to examine the flashing, underlayment and sheathing. If the inspector cannot access certain areas of the roof for safety reasons, he or she may use a camera.

You can also request a moisture survey. A moisture survey should be conducted periodically to look for damage to roofing materials that is caused in the presence of moisture. During a moisture survey, the insulation may be scanned with an infrared camera. Wet areas transmit heat better than dry areas and will be picked up during the scan.

An inspector may also use a nuclear isotopic meter to count the number of hydrogen ions present in the roof. More ions indicate the possibility of water in the structure. Electrical meters can measure your roof’s ability to conduct electricity. A roof with wet areas will conduct electricity better than a dry one.

The inspector will let you know if any deficiencies were found. The inspector should also be able to estimate the remaining lifespan of the roof and provide you with an inspection certificate.

Possible Deficiencies

Below are some things that your contractor will look for when inspecting your roof.

  • •Ice dams – Damaged asphalt shingles on the edge of the roof that are caused by the melting and re-freezing of ice and snow on the roof
  • •Shingles that buckle – Caused by improper installation
  • •Improper layers – Asphalt shingles that are applied in layers that are thicker than recommended can lead to an unnecessarily heavy roof structure.
  • •Flashing – If flashing is not properly installed and in good condition, it could create moisture and mold problems.
  • •Exposed or absent underlayment – The underlayment material is made of felt. If this is exposed, it can quickly lead to leakage. If there is no underlayment, any moisture that gets in through the roof cover can damage your home.
  • •Inadequate roof sheathing – The sheathing that is used on the roof must be approved for this use.
  • •Storm damage – Shingles may be removed, cracked, pitted, worn and weathered from damaging weather.

Roof inspections should be done by a roofing professional. General home inspectors do not typically have the training to conduct these types of inspections. You probably do not have the safety equipment necessary to properly inspect your roof either. This job is best left to a professional.

If roof damage isn’t detected or is left untreated, you could end up with moisture problems, structural damage, electrical issues or mold. Regular inspections minimize damage and can prevent you from shelling out your hard-earned money on something that could have been prevented. They can extend the life of your roof and help you stay protected and dry in the safety of your home.

Highlands Ranch Hail Storm – June 2016

Highlands Ranch Swath
On June 6, 2016 Highlands Ranch, Colorado experienced a damaging hail storm with golf-ball-sized hail. At the height of the storm, hail as large as 2.75″ in diameter was tracked. If you live in the Highlands Ranch area and you experienced property damage from this storm, we’re here to help. We have a local team of storm experts on the ground and ready to assess your property today! Just give us a call at (303) 792-5123 and we’ll have someone out in the next 24 – 48 hours.

We are experienced with processing insurance claims, and will ensure that all work is properly documented within your insurance carrier’s requirements. Read more about our process here.

Need a storm contractor? Our team is experienced in the following areas:

  • – roof repair and shingle repair
  • – window and glass replacement
  • – siding repair and replacement
  • – gutter repair

We have the knowledge and experience to get your home back to pre-storm conditions as quickly as possible. Get peace of mind with Weatherguard Construction Co.

For fastest service, give us a call at (303) 792-5123 or email denver@wgccinc.com.

Highlands Ranch Damage

How Severe Storms Are Formed

The more unstable the air mass and the stronger the lifting mechanism, the stronger the thunderstorm updraft becomes and the more likely the storm will be severe. Increasing winds with height also help to the storms ability to maintain itself. The longer a storm lasts, the greater chance it has of becoming severe. The National Weather Service defines a severe thunderstorms as a storm producing three-quarter inch or larger hail and/or winds greater than 58 mph. When thunderstorm updrafts reach speeds of 70 mph, they can support the growth of hailstones.
A hailstone is a lump of ice that falls from a thunderstorm. It can range from pea size to the size of grapefruit. Such large hail can impact the ground at nearly 100 mph demolishing crops, breaking windows, and damaging roofs, cars and airplanes. Hail begins as rain droplets which are carried by strong updrafts to high altitudes (well above the freezing level) where they are frozen into ice pellets. The ice pellets collide with more water droplets which freeze to the surface of the developing hail stone increasing its size. The stone continues to grow until the updraft can no longer suspend its weight and the hail falls to the ground.
Long-lasting thunderstorms, sometimes referred to as supercells, are more likely to be severe. For a thunderstorm to last, it must be able to sustain both its updraft and its downdraft. One way that this occurs is with increasing winds with height. If the horizontal wind, blowing into the storm, is stronger in the mid and upper reaches of the storm, the rising updraft becomes tilted. Now the rain is carried downwind of the updraft instead of collapsing upon it. Another important factor is if the horizontal wind, blowing into the storm, veers with height (changes direction in a clockwise motion), the storm’s updraft may begin to rotate. The combination of veering and increasing winds with height can produce a tilted and rotating updraft. This rotating thunderstorm, called a mesocyclone, is able to maintain its updraft and warm inflow region independent of the storms rain-cooled outflow. The rotating updraft of this type of thunderstorm is where the tornado can form and descend to the ground