What are the signs of hail damage to your home after a hail storm?

Please note this blog is for informational purposes only. Roofing inspections should only be completed by trained professionals with the appropriate equipment.

It starts with whistling winds. You look outside, and notice the clouds look a bit peculiar. Soon, you hear a lone knock, but it’s not the door. Another knock. Then another. Soon it becomes a torrent of sounds; hammers on the roof, golf balls hitting your windows. You remembered to park in the garage, right?

After the storm passes you instinctively walk out front to check the damages to find… Well, not much really. Most items seem to be intact, and the truth is unless you’ve had a particularly nasty hail storm, your home will “seem” to be completely fine. Hail storms can be a terrifying experience, with hail stones ranging from the size of peas to larger than softballs. Even smaller hail can sound like your house might not make it. But your fence doesn’t need to be laying on its side to have structural damage. Your windows don’t need to be shattered, your roof doesn’t need to have gaping holes, and your gutters don’t need to be detached. Let’s discuss the nuances of hail damage, and what it looks like on your roof, windows, gutters, and fence.

What does hail damage look like on a roof?

When hail strikes a roof, granules are knocked off or pushed into the shingle. The matting of the shingle becomes bruised, and the integrity of the shingle is compromised. Hail damaged roofs typically show various signs of being damaged:

  • Random damage with no discernible pattern
  • Black impacts generally circular in nature
  • Loss of granules
  • Hail hits can be soft to the touch

 

The problem with a non-professional inspecting your roof? These signs can appear from other types of damage, and there is no silver-bullet when identifying hail damage. Granular loss can be a symptom of age or ventilation issues. It can be a defect in the shingle. Contractors performing other work on your roof can cause damage that looks similar. Trained professionals experienced in comprehensive inspections have the ability to differentiate between these types of damages.

What does hail damage look like on a window?

The most obvious form of hail damage to a window is broken or shattered glass. Often hail will not be large enough or descend at an angle necessary to break the actual glass in the window. Broken glass is not the only form of hail damage to a window, however. Hail damaged windows can have various signs and parts being damaged:

  • Dents to the metal framing of the window screen
  • Holes or tears in the window screen
  • Cracks or holes on the window beading
  • Cracked or broken glass

 

What does hail damage look like on gutters?

Gutters are typically one of the easier items to identify damage on. Hail dents in the basin are easy to spot from the ground. These spherical dents protrude on the metal surface of the gutters. Metal gutters can also have damage on the top lip of the gutter, but often require a ladder to access. Plastic gutters can often crack or have holes. Strong winds can cause rusted seams to crack, or spikes and ferrules to recede from the fascia. Once a spike recedes from the fascia, your gutters are no longer secured.

Downspouts, which carry water from the gutter basins down to the ground, are often the safest place to check. Depending on the direction of the hail storm, you may only find damaged downspouts on 1-2 sides of your home. Downspouts damage in the same way your gutter basins will, only the dents will not be protruding. Dents will normally form on the corners of the downspouts. Larger dents will be easily visible by sight, but smaller dents may require you to run your hands along the downspout. Pro tip: Run a piece of children’s chalk flat along metal the surface of the downspout edges. This will catch even the smallest of dents and outline the dent for you.

What does hail damage look like on a fence?

Hail damage on a fence can be either cosmetic or structural. The form caused by most hail storms is cosmetic damage in the form of stain knocked off the fence. The fence will appear polka dotted. This is generally corrected by power washing and re-staining the fence.

Large enough hail will not only remove the stain, but can also crack or dent the wood. The general rule of thumb: if power washing and staining will not return the fence to its pre-storm condition (e.g. power washing will not fix a crack), the damage is no longer considered purely cosmetic. The damaged portion will need to be replaced to return the fence to its pre-storm condition.