What Does Hail Damage Look Like?
So the other night, there was a heavy rainstorm, and your house was hit by hail, but how do you know if there was hail damage and what does hail damage look like?
If you own a home in Texas, you already know that you will have guys knocking on your door any time hail falls in your area. They will all tell you that you have hail damage, and they know this because your neighbor had hail damage also. How do you know if it is true or if you really have hail damage? When should you allow someone to inspect, and when is it better to not?
Common Signs of Hail Damage
There are several common signs of hail damage that the average person can identify.
Bruises on Shingles
On asphalt shingles, hail damage is seen as bruises on the shingle. This is a spot where the granules were knocked off the shingle during the hailstone impact. These spots will be darker than the surrounding area. On darker
-colored shingles, this might be more difficult to see, but an educated eye is quick to point them out.
Newer roofs will also be less affected by hailstone impacts. Roofs that are less than 10 years old may not have any damage, but a 12-year-old roof might have major damage present. However, if the hail is of substantial size, even a brand new roof can be severely damaged.
Dents on Gutters
Another sign of hail damage is dented gutters. You can inspect the troughs and downspouts for dents. You should look at the gutters that are facing in the direction that the storm came from.
Damage to Window Frames and Screens
When hail impacts window screens, it may puncture the screen, but it may also only cause “streaking.” Streaking is a marking on the screen that distorts the screen but does not cause a puncture. Impacts may also be seen on the window frame. In some cases, the windowpane could even be broken if the hailstone is large enough or has enough energy.
Damage to the A/C Condenser
Another location other than on the roof to look for hail damage is the a/c condenser. The sheet metal on the grill guard on top of the condenser can sometimes show damage. This sheet metal is thinner than the sides and flat, allowing larger hailstones to dent the cover.
Secondly, you can look on the condenser coil for smash marks where the coil’s fens have been damaged. This is very easy to spot, even to the novice eye.
Hail Damage to Siding
Siding is another location that can be damaged by hail. Siding materials like vinyl and aluminum are the easiest to spot, but even wood and fiber cement siding can also be damaged. Vinyl siding may have holes knocked through it whereas, aluminum siding will have dents.
Wood siding and fiber cement siding often referred to as Hardie siding, may chip or dent. Look for impacts near the edge of lap siding for hail-related chips. The paint could also be marred from the hailstone impacts.
Dents on the Roof Vents from Hail
If your roof is easily walkable and you are able to get up on it, looking for dents in the roof vents is another easy way to spot hail damage. Roof vents are made of soft metals. Hail that will dent a roof vent will likely cause bruises on the shingles.
Box vents and turtle vents (the round ones that look like a turtle shell) are the easiest to tell, but you can also look at turbines. A turbine that is not spinning smoothly could have hail damage, but high winds could also damage it.
Hail Damage on Metal Roofs
Metal roofs can easily be dented by hail. Hail damage to standing seams metal roofs is easily identifiable since they have long, smooth panels. Textured metal roofs like impressed steel roofs could be more difficult to find the damage if the hail was not very large. If your home has a stone-coated steel roof, then you can look for knocked-off granules and dents.
It is important to note that not all hail damage to a metal roof will qualify for repairs or replacement. Many homeowners, unknowingly, sign a cosmetic waiver that prevents metal roofs from being repair or replaced for purely cosmetic dents. Your metal roof could look like a golf ball and still not be covered by your insurance policy. These types of policies require the metal to be penetrated or otherwise damaged so that failure is likely to occur.
Hail Impact Marks to Wood Fences
Wood fences make finding hail damage very simple. Even in a light hail storm, marks on a wood fence are prevalent. The damage could range from small dots to large dents where the wood is visibly damaged. Older fences that have become gray will have bright marks showing “fresh wood” from the hail impacts. Additionally, the impacts could remove the stain leaving blemishes.
Hail Damage to Cars
If your car or your neighbors’ cars have hail damage from the storm, it is likely your home has damage also. The more severe the damage to cars, the more definite your home has also fallen victim.
Get a Free Roof Inspection
Nearly all legitimate roofing companies will offer a free roof inspection in hail storm areas. Many will offer to inspect your roof to look for old hail damage as well. These companies will extend this service to you for free, assuming that if you do have hail damage that they will be allowed to do the work that the insurance approves.
If they find hail damage during the inspection, they will notify you to file a claim with the insurance company, provide you with a hail date and even meet with the adjuster when they come to perform the insurance inspection. You should expect to sign a letter of intent that allows the roofing company to directly deal with the insurance company.
This intent letter only becomes a contract if the insurance company approves repairs for your home. Never sign anything if you are not comfortable with the company or representative. You should not even allow them to do an inspection until you know that they are trustworthy. For more on this, read “Is My Roofer a Scam Artist?” and “5 Tips to Choose the Right Roofing Contractor.”
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