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How to Spot Hail Damage on Your Roof + Next Steps

wind damage on roof covered with tarp
// 6-minutes Read

Did you know that hail causes an estimated $1 billion worth of damage in the U.S. each year? This precipitation might be small, but it’s definitely mighty!

If you’re a Michigan homeowner, you’ve seen your fair share of it. Our state is known for its prominent rainy season, which lasts from around March to October. 

Naturally, your roof is one area of your home that’s especially susceptible to hail damage. If you know what to look for, you can schedule the necessary repairs and keep your property in great shape. 

Today, we’re sharing how to spot signs of hail damage on the roof, and what to do next. 

Shingle Damage

heavy storm damage on the residential roof

The morning after a heavy hailstorm, there are a few different types of roof damage to look out for. The specific problems you’ll see will depend on the type of shingles you have. 

Asphalt and composite shingles tend to react differently to hail than wood shingles. Let’s take a look.

Asphalt and Composite Shingles

If you have these types of shingles, you may notice that the hail has caused random spots of damage all over your roof. You are unlikely to see a discernable pattern. 

Where the hail did impact your roof, you’ll see a dark black smudge. The spot might be soft, like a bruise on a piece of fruit. It could also be shiny and smooth in texture, along with the surrounding areas. 

In areas where the impact was especially hard, the hail might have been strong enough to take off the shingle granules altogether. When this happens, you can see patches of the underlying roof felt poking through the intact shingles. 

Wood Shingles

As with asphalt shingles, wood shingles don’t usually show a distinct pattern of hail damage. If the hail was strong enough to split the wood, it will typically leave a brown or orange spot at the point of impact. 

Even if no color changes are present, look for signs that the wood has split or splintered in places. These spots will have sharp corners and edges. This helps them stand out from the other shingles, which should be lying flat. 

Along the splits, you may also notice other signs of impact, such as pockmarks or dings. 

Factors Affecting Damage

damages on the house roof marked with chalk

Even if you know what to look for, the signs of hail damage can still be difficult to detect. This is because hail comes in all shapes and sizes, and can impact your roof in different ways. 

In addition to the variations based on shingle type, you also need to account for changes based on the hail itself. Here are a few considerations to note. 

Hailstone Size

Hailstones can run the gamut in terms of size. While most are around 1/4-inch in diameter (the size of a pea), others can be as big as a softball. 

The largest piece of hail ever recorded in Michigan was a whopping 4.5 inches! It fell on July 26, 1978, in Livingston County. 

If the hail is especially large, it can obviously affect a larger portion of your roof. However, don’t discount the damage that small hailstones can cause. These often travel at higher speeds due to their lighter weight, and it’s that wind velocity that can wreak havoc on your shingles. 

Still, it’s the bigger stones that are the harshest. These fall directly from the sky and hit your roof with more weight. Hail that’s bigger than one inch around will leave dents or dings in your shingles.

Sometimes, it can be strong enough to shift them around slightly. If yours look like they’re a little misaligned, this could be a sign that you need roof repair

Hailstone Shape

Most hailstones tend to have a crystallized structure, with small, sharp edges. They aren’t usually rounded or soft like snowflakes. 

It’s the edges that can scratch or scrape your roof. Look for lines that resemble nail marks, discoloring the outer surface. 

Wind Speed and Storm Direction

shingle damages after strong wind marked on the roof

Unless you’re a meteorologist, you might not pay too much attention to the wind speed, or the direction that the hailstorm is traveling. 

However, these two factors can affect the amount of damage that your roof suffers. If the wind is traveling at a high speed and in the direction of your home, you can expect damage to not only your roof, but also your windows, HVAC unit, and even the hood of your car!

Location of Impact

While your first thought might be to check your shingles for signs of damage, don’t forget to check all around your roof, too. 

In addition to the primary surface, you may also notice dings, dents, or even splatter marks in the following areas:

  • Roof vents
  • Flashing
  • Gutters

Functional vs. Cosmetic

If you plan to file an insurance claim to help pay for your roof damage, it’s important to know if the issue is functional, cosmetic, or both. 

Functional damage is any issue that affects the function or performance of your roof. Examples include:

  • Cracked shingles
  • Fractured or broken shingles
  • Dents or impact spots on the roof 

Cosmetic damage affects the way your roof looks but does not render it ineffective in any way. This is most common with metal roofs. 

Hailstones can leave marks and dings on a metal roof, but there are no shingles to affect. As such, the damage is usually just aesthetic in nature. 

Spot Hail Damage on the Roof

Now that you know what to look for, it should be easier to spot signs of hail damage on the roof. While most storms only cause minor, aesthetic issues, others could be strong enough to inflict significant functional problems.

In both cases, our team is here to help. Leaving the problem untreated can intensify it, so it’s important to act as quickly as possible. 

At Tresnak Roofing, we provide a range of services, from new installations to extensive repairs. Serving Royal Oak and surrounding areas, we’re proud to be your local roofing experts. Contact us today to schedule a service!

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