Hailstones are clumps of layered ice that form when falling raindrops are carried skyward by thunderstorm updrafts. As they are carried upward, they reach extremely cold areas of the atmosphere (generally -10° C to -25° C) and, in the process, collide with other freezing raindrops. Eventually, a hailstone is formed, and it becomes too heavy for the updraft to sustain its high altitude. Gravity then takes over, and the hailstone falls back to the Earth, potentially damaging whatever lies below.
The size of hailstones, and the destruction they cause, typically depends on the strength and size of the updraft that carries them. Often, hailstones are fairly small. But, during intense thunderstorms, they can become behemoths.
Marble-sized hailstones typically fall to the Earth at around 20 mph, while baseball-sized hailstones can reach speeds of more than 100 mph. The amount of damage they cause can also be determined by their shape; while those that take on a smooth form can be damaging, it’s jagged hailstones that are the most destructive.
While hailstorms are most commonly associated with “Hail Alley,” the area consisting of Nebraska, Colorado, and Wyoming, hail can happen just about anywhere. In fact, it may surprise you to know that some of the most severe hail damage has happened outside these states. Here’s a look at 2017 hail damage estimates as reported by analytics firm Verisk, which provides data for insurance companies.
While determining where hail may strike can be a bit of a moving target, pinpointing when it may occur is a bit easier. Weather conditions that are ripe for hailstorm activity occur during the late spring, summer, and early fall months. So, May through September is “prime time” for hailstorms.
Following a hailstorm, there are often some obvious ground-level signs of damage, such as broken or damaged windows, siding, or doors, which may indicate roof damage as well.
Here are 11 other things to look for which could indicate that your roof may have taken
Check for damage such as dents, cracks, paint chips, or holes.
The impact of hailstones can remove dirt and algae from driveway surfaces, leaving splatter marks of “clean” driveway.
Check metal and fiberglass window screen mesh for tears.
Hail, especially the jagged variety, can tear through the leaves of bushes and shrubs.
Check for cracked or broken light fixtures in the yard or on your home.
These outdoor items, left uncovered, can sustain dings and dents.
Vinyl fencing and decking material may have holes or cracks due to hail, while wood fencing and decking may display new scrapes and splintered wood.
Look for dents, dings, paint chips, and scuffs on the siding and doors.
Shingles, tree branches, and other debris in your yard or pool means you experienced heavy wind that may have compromised your roof.
Hail-damaged roofs often allow water to seep into homes and garages, causing discoloration on ceilings and potential mold or mildew growth.
Leaks caused by hail damage can cause water to become trapped between drywall and paint during the storm, leading to bubbling paint.
Heavy hail has been known to crack or completely split these types of roofing
On soft roofing materials, such as PVC or weathered roof patch compounds, look for punctures or puncture marks
Missing shingles may seem like a dead giveaway for hail damage, but this could simply indicate heavy winds. There are, however, signs of damage.
Metal roofing is less likely to sustain damage during a hailstorm, however an extreme hail event may cause dents and dings. This damage is typically cosmetic in nature.
Not all roofing is created equally, and it has long been common knowledge that certain materials withstand wind and hail better than others. However, there was not a defining standard. That all changed in 1996, when the Underwriters’ Laboratory (UL) created a national standard for roof impact resistance by rating roofing materials based on their resistance to impact testing with steel balls simulating 90 mph hailstones of different sizes. This resulted in the Class 1 – 4 scale, with Class 1 being most susceptible to damage and Class 4 being the toughest.
“Every year, thousands of homeowners lose their roofs to hail and wind damage,” Jack Stanton, State Farm Insurance Company’s Loss Mitigation coordinator told the Insurance Journal. “We now know that Class 4 materials offer some of the best long-term roof protection available to homeowners.”
In fact, the Class 4 rating gives many property insurance companies so much confidence that they often offer a premium discount on homeowner insurance just for installing a UL Class 4-rated roof! Metal roofing is UL Class 4-rated.
Shingles aren’t expected to last more than 20 years, while a metal roof can
last 50-60 years.
Metal roofing offers beauty and brawn. Check out our visualizer tool to see
what a metal roof would look like on your home.
Metal roofing reflects much of the sun’s heat and energy, which results in lower energy bills.
Metal roofing contains a high percentage of recycled materials. Plus, when its service life ends, it can be recycled again!
Unlike some roofing materials, metal is non-combustible. Even though it’s no more likely to be struck by lightning than other roofing materials, it won’t catch fire even if it is.
Because metal roofing has Class 4 hail resistance, many insurance providers offer discounts for installing it.
If you’re tired of replacing shingles and are ready to fight back against hail, you can count on McElroy Metal. We’ve been at this for more than 57 years, and we have dozens of superior UL Class 4-rated steel profiles that look as good as they perform.
To ensure your roof is installed properly by a reputable company, we have a national network of distributors and contractors. You can find one near you on our website.
Want to learn more about metal roofing? Be sure to download our Residential Metal Roofing Guide.
Whether you’re building a new home or planning renovations, a metal roof can deliver long-term cost savings and comfort. To explore your options and find the product that meets your aesthetic and budgetary needs, contact a McElroy Metal distributor or contractor in your area today.