Locating structural damage after a storm is straightforward when there are broken windowpanes, perforated walls, and fallen windows. The roof also experiences significant damage during a storm of any kind. Spotting roof damage can be more than challenging. The leading reason for it is the sheer variety of damage that roofs can experience. Due to the lack of knowledge about roof damage, most homeowners do not know what to look for. Therefore, once in a few years, they have to hear the most dreaded words from roofing experts and contractors – "your home needs a new roof." Neither is roofing a short process nor is it budget-friendly. It is easy to think that no visible chunks of wood or cement falling off the roof is a sign that your roofing company is trying to rip you off, but most of the symptoms of damage are subtle. It is impossible for the untrained eye to find the signs of wear-and-tear on a roof that does not seem to look battered.
Why are hail storms such a menace for homeowners?
Hail is not a common natural phenomenon in most of the cities and states of the USA. Salt Lake City experiences the occasional hail storm about twice or thrice a year. Although rare, these storms have the potential to wreak havoc on the crops, cattle, city life, connectivity and the houses. When hail the size of golf balls hit the roof of a building without any deceleration, they can not only crack the cement, tiles, and shingles, but they can also tear through the insulation material ripping through the roof. Cars, patio furniture, lawns, and gardens take a more direct hit as compared to the roofing material. Cracking of shingles is a nightmare, but you would be lucky to spot it since cracks give you the chance to repair. Similarly, shingle's missing granules are straightforward to detect. Roofing damage can be more covert. Sometimes the faults run for several feet without coming on the surface. Such inner damage can lead to a further compromise in the roof and house structure.
How to locate the signs of damage after a hail storm?
After a hailstorm, you should wait for a little while until the clouds have gone, there is a bright light, and the storm water has dissipated as well. Always be extra careful while climbing on top of the roof for inspection. You might want to speak with professional roofers Salt Lake City before deciding on investing in repairs and construction.
Here are a few signs of roof damage from hail you should be aware of –
- Cracking - spotting it is easier than other types of damage. Cracks on the shingles usually run visibly for quite a distance.
- Missing granules - if your shingles are missing granules in between, it should be easy for you to take notice. You will see patches of discoloration or bare spots on the damaged structure. The contrast is stark from the undamaged shingles.
- Bruising - it is a little more challenging to notice bruising on the roofing materials. If you see a visible dent or a dimple, press down slightly to see its hardness. In case, the dimple yields, it is time to call the experts.
- Denting -The soft metal on the roof should show visible spots, dents, and marks. That will indicate the size of the hail as well. Dented gutters, downspouts and gutter screens mean hail damage.
- Bubbling on the roof -Sometimes, prolonged exposure of the ruptured surface to rains and logged water can also cause the surface to bubble. Missing pieces of asphalt, cracking on the cement and chipped shingles are telltale signs of hail damage on a roof.
It is wrong to believe that you can only see the signs on the roof. Homes take a hit from all sides during a hailstorm. Check the window sills and window casings for the impact of hails on the structure. If your lucky stars have not been aligning correctly off late, you might also notice dents and cracks on your outdoor HVAC unit or air conditioning unit. Hail damage is visible on the patio, outdoor furniture, deck and outdoor lighting fixtures.
Why should you never investigate hail storm damage without assistance?
Before going on the roof to inspect the damage the most recent storm may have caused, you need to take safety precautions. Unless you have a reliable pair of soft-soled insulating shoes or dedicated roofing boots, you should not think about climbing on top. The logged water and faulty wiring can make the roof a treacherous place. Always carry a few pieces of chalk to mark the signs you notice, take a small camera to collect images of the damage and keep your phone away to minimize distraction while you are up there.
Additionally, when you climb on top of a roof, always tell at least another adult about your plans. Apart from severe injuries that falling debris can cause, you might end up in a silly situation like being stuck on the roof while your family is out camping for the weekend. It is always safer and smarter to call a roofing inspector to check the possible damage than to investigate it on your own. Asking a professional will also give you an accurate estimate of the expense you might have to bear to restore the waterproofing, insulation and structural soundness of your roof.
After a hailstorm, the large particles of ice usually take a few hours and sometimes a couple of days to melt. Do not be impatient. When hails are large, and the weather is cold, you increase the risk of injury by going on the roof immediately after the storm stops. Unclean roofs can be slippery due to falling leaves, decomposing organic matter and a generous quantity of running water from the hails. Patience is the key to safety for homeowners, who want to conduct a test before the professionals get there.