What to Do When Hail Damages Your Roof

Roof Care & Maintenance
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What to Do When Hail Damages Your Roof

Hail is perhaps the form of weather with the greatest destructive power, posing a danger not just from initial impact but also water ingress as the hailstones melt. Hail occurs most frequently in winter for most of the UK, but severe hailstorms can happen at any time of year. Often arriving quickly and without warning, homeowners need to be aware of the danger hail poses to their property, particularly hail damage to the roof.

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How Hail Affects Different Roofing Materials

Whilst most roofing materials are more than capable of resisting damage from hail, they can each suffer damage in different ways. That’s why knowing what to look out for after a hailstorm is vital.

Metal Roofing

If your property features metal roofing sheets or metal roof tiles, damage from hail is generally quite easy to spot. Thanks to the metal’s fantastic strength and durability, it will resist all but the most severe impacts. That’s why you need to look for major dents, cracks or punctures when inspecting a metal roof after a hailstorm.

You should note any damage, no matter how minor, as this could indicate weak points, which may significantly reduce the lifespan and reliability of your roof.

Concrete, Clay, or Slate Tiled Roofs

Whether your home features clay, concrete, or slate roof tiles, a tiled roof can be especially vulnerable to damage from impacts. Prominent red flags to watch out for include cracked, broken, or missing roof tiles, which can be caused by both heavy impacts and high winds.

If your tiles are loosened by hail damage and ripped off by a strong wind, they could potentially strike and damage other parts of your roof. This is why homeowners with tiled roofs should perform a thorough assessment after a hailstorm, as even the tiniest crack can lead to water ingress and become a serious problem.

Cedar or Felt Roof Shingles

If your roof is battered by a particularly severe hailstorm, wood shingles can become seriously damaged. This damage includes cracks, curling, split edges, and dents – all of which can lead to water ingress and potentially the growth of moss and algae. Felt roof shingles are also vulnerable to weather damage, as a heavy downpour of rain or hail can compromise the shingle. Even if a small part of a felt shingle has been exposed to UV light, it can quickly become cracked, brittle, blistered and highly susceptible to the same water ingress and unwanted growth as wood shingles.

What Else to Look Out For

Even if a hailstorm doesn’t cause immediate damage to your roof, it could considerably compromise your roofing structure without you even noticing. Hail can weaken any component of a roof, even if they appear undamaged at first glance. You should ensure to check all aspects of your roof, including:

  • Guttering, Fascia & Soffits: Be on the lookout for obvious cracks or holes, as these could allow rainwater to seep into your roof space. Even a tiny fissure can have a big impact on the effectiveness of your guttering system, so it’s vital to fix any breakages ASAP. Take a look at our guide to fixing leaking gutters to learn how.
  • Roof Vents: Roofing vents can become damaged when struck during a hailstorm. They can also be blocked by debris, have their covers knocked off or even detach from vent pipes. Naturally, any of these issues will have a serious effect on the performance of your roof ventilation system, which could lead to damp, mould, and condensation.
  • Chimneys: The easiest chimney damage from a hailstorm to spot would be spalling or missing bricks, which are likely to be on the ground around your home. Other potential targets for hail damage include flashing, chimney caps or bird guards. All of which lead to serious issues such as water ingress or allowing small animals or birds into your roof space.
  • Roof Windows: If hailstones fall large and fast enough, they can even cause cracks and chips in roof windows and skylights. Even if the damage is not yet severe enough to cause a full hole through the window, it should be dealt with straight away. This is because these cracks can quickly become weak points that could lead to serious health and safety risks.
  • Hail Splatters: After a hailstorm, your roof can sometimes be left covered with ‘Hail Splatters’. These marks and stains don’t pose any danger to your roof other than being a little unsightly. However, they can give a strong indication as to the severity of the hailstorm you’ve just been through. This info can help you assess the level of potential damage to your roof and wider property.

What Size Hail Causes the Most Roof Damage?

Although any size of hailstone can damage roofing materials, the larger and heavier the hail, the worse the damage is likely to be. So, how big can hailstones really get? Take a look at our list below.

  • 0.25 inches: Hailstones of this size aren’t very dangerous, but could cause minor issues for already compromised roofing materials
  • 0.75 inches: Generally nothing to worry about but can cause problems for vulnerable roofs when paired with strong winds. Hailstones of this size can tear felt roofing or even chip roof tiles.
  • 1 inch: 1” hailstones are where more significant damage can start to occur. This includes damage to fascia and guttering systems, as well as potentially breaking or loosening roof tiles and slates.
  • 1.25 inch: Once hailstones get past the 1-inch mark, they’re seen as a far more serious threat to your roofing. This sort of hail is far more likely to damage your roofing materials and can even cause dents in galvanised steel sheets.
  • 2+ inches: Although hailstones of this size are not very common in the UK, they can appear in more severe storms and pose a very serious risk to roofing as well as your safety. These larger sizes can cause large holes, dents, and cracks to appear in your roof.

So, What Are the Main Risk Factors to Consider?

Length of the Storm

The amount of damage hail can do to your roof depends largely on how long the storm lasts. Hailstorms in Britain can last anywhere from a few seconds up to around ten minutes. Of course, the longer the storm, the greater risk of damage.

High Winds

The combination of hail with high winds can be disastrous. Heavy winds can accelerate falling hailstones, further increasing the amount of damage they can do to your roof. Other common issues with high winds during a storm include debris from nearby trees, which can cause impact damage to your roof and block your guttering system.

Weak Structure

Poorly constructed roofs made from low-quality materials are far more susceptible to being damaged by hail. Homeowners should consider their roof an investment, not only in the aesthetics of their home but also in its long-term safety and security. Opting for low quality roofing today could leave you with expensive repairs in future.

Size and Density of Hailstones

Of course, storms that last for longer and feature larger hailstones have far more destructive potential than light, short-lived storms. You should try to take a mental note of the severity of the storm to understand the sort of damage to look out for.

How Do I Stop My Roof Being Damaged by Hail in Future?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to control the weather. What you can control, however, is making sure that you use high-quality, robust roofing materials that are installed correctly to protect your property. Another vital step is to perform regular roof maintenance, which as a minimum includes inspecting your roof (inside and out) as well as cleaning your roof. These inspections will allow you to assess the state of your roof and identify any weak points in need of repair. You should also consider pruning any trees near your home, as overhanging branches can break and fall directly onto your roof during stormy weather.

If you’ve got any more questions about what to do when hail damages your roof, get in touch with our award-winning customer service team. They can be reached via telephone on 01295 565 565, email at [email protected] or via the handy live chat on our website.

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