In the Denver area, a hailstorm is not uncommon. Every year, we have several over the winter and throughout the year. Some are not a big deal. Others can cause a lot of damage.
Hail is frozen balls of ice that fall from the sky. In fact, there are a lot of misconceptions about hail, so let’s learn a little meteorology.
Not All Hail is Hail – and None is Rain
According to National Geographic, hailstones are not frozen rain. They are formed inside of a large cloud as water droplets circulate. A strong updraft will push balls of ice into the cloud to colder upper regions. As it falls again, it will gather other pieces of ice and water vapor. This cycle continues until the cloud lets go of the hailstones and they come down on your roof.
Frozen rain is actually water that freezes as it rains. It freezes near the ground, not high up in the cloud.
In the interesting facts category, National Geographic tells us that a “piece of solid precipitation that is fewer than 5 millimeters in diameter is not called a hailstone. It is called graupel.”
Here in Denver, we’re second only to Texas in hailstorms, but we haven’t had the worst storm on record. In fact, a storm in 1888 in Moradabad, India, killed 250 people.
So, hailstones are pieces of “solid precipitation” that form in a cloud and fall to earth. Golf ball to baseball-sized hail is not uncommon. In August 2019, the largest hailstone in Colorado history fell. It was 4.83 inches and fell in Bethune, Colorado.
What Can Hail Do to Your Roof?
Most residential roofs are shingle. Essentially, it’s a thick felt soaked in asphalt will tiny composite pebbles on top. They look great, last a long time, and even provide some energy benefits.
When they’re hit with hailstones, the force of the impact can knock some of the granules loose or even tear the shingles. The granules are there to protect the shingles from rain. Since hailstones can weigh up to one pound and hit the roof at almost 90 miles per hour, it can have a significant impact.
Metal roofs can get dented.
Rubber roofs, like those on commercial buildings with flat roofs can usually take the beating, but occasionally, the hail can hit hard enough to cause problems.
There are some secondary concerns. Hail is very heavy. Unlike rain, it won’t simply pour off the roof.
Most of us are familiar with snow dams that can cause the roof to be stressed and eventually fail; the weight of the snow can cause a roof to collapse. With hail, over time, it can simply turn into one large block of ice and can cause the roof to fall in quickly.
How to Know if Hail Damaged Your Roof
Of course, the most obvious sign is that there are pieces of shingles all over the lawn. You might also see granules washing off the roof through the drain spouts. You can also inspect the shingles directly by getting on the roof. A newer way to look at the roof is to fly over it with a camera drone and look at the roof that way.
If the shingles are compromised, water will get under them and cause the growth of molds. That eventually damages the underlayment and will cause a leak sooner or later and cost more to fix.
Metal roofs will usually let you know they’re being damaged by the loud sound of the hail hitting them. For commercial roofs, someone needs to get on the roof and walk around. Commercial roofs are usually too large to see from the ground, and there are no granules to signal a problem.
Do I Need to Replace My Roof?
Usually, hail damage isn’t an immediate crisis. While the damage will eventually cause water damage to the roof, it can take months to years to cause real issues.
After every hailstorm, you should inspect your roof. This can be a great reason to buy a drone. Look for damage. If you identify the damage immediately, your homeowner\’s insurance will take care of it. If it’s ignored and becomes a larger problem, it’ll not only be a larger problem, but it might cost you more by being denied by the insurance company.
You might not need to replace the entire roof. It’s possible that just the damaged areas will need to be fixed. This involves only taking off the damaged shingles. If the underlayment is still in good condition or replaceable, the contractor won’t need to put on a whole new roof.
Can Any Roofer Do It?
The honest answer is yes, any roofer should be able to replace and repair the damaged shingles. The real difficulty is dealing with the insurance company. When you’re going to file a claim, you need a company that works with the insurance people to get you the best results and make sure that you’re made whole.
In the Denver area, Red Hawk Roofing is that contractor. Our team will come to your home, give you a complete estimate of the project, and even deal with the insurance companies.
For years, Fire & Hail Restoration has been the Denver region’s leading restoration specialist. We have our own roofing division that handles scores of hail damage claims every year.
Let our team help you get back to good without losing your mind by having to jump through hoops with your insurance company. Fire & Hail Restoration will take care of it for you.