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Can Roof Hail Damage Result in Replacing an Entire Roof?

How much damage to your roof can come during a hail storm? In Georgia, hail storms are not that uncommon and many homeowners visibly see hail several times during the year. That is the case in metro Atlanta, where the last few years have responded in elevated hail activity.

Most people are certain aware of the damage hail can cause, in particular the greater variety of hail that is notorious for damaging and denting cars. This awareness does not always fully translate into the impact a hail storm can have on your home's roof. While you can visually see the damage to your car after a hail storm, you can not always see the damage to a roof. The damage you can not see can put the longevity of your roof at risk.

Roof replacement due to hail damage is one of the most expensive fixes for homeowners and insurance companies. Hail can vary in size dramatically, falling as small as the size of tiny pellets, or as large as baseballs. It is typically the larger hail that can cause enough damage to your asphalt roof to justify a roof replacement.

Asphalt Roof Shingle Damage from Hail:

Hail damage to asphalt roofs occur when hail beating against the surface of asphalt shingle results in the protective granular surface of the shingle to loosen and potentially fall off. When the granules are loosened, the asphalt shingles loses some of its protection potential and becomes vulnerable to additional damage.

  • Note: Damaged asphalt layers can potentially allow water seepage into the roof.

  • Tip: If the granules of an asphalt shingle are removed by a hail storm, the shingle's longevity can be severely diminished.

    Signs of Hail Damage to an Asphalt Roof:

  • Bruises or small dents in the asphalt shingle
    – Granulation is displaced exposing the asphalt
    – Granulation has settled at the base of your downspouts
    – The hits hit by hail usually leave a soft spot in the shingle
    – Significantly damaged metal air vents on the roof indicate similar hit pattern for roof
    – Damage and denting of siding, or gutters

    If my Roof is damaged, how fast should I replace it?

    There is a misconception if your roof sustains damage from a hail storm that your roof needs to be replaced immediately. You'll find some conflicting evidence from other roofers that advise immediately replacing your roof. In Georgia for example, any reliable roofing contractor in Atlanta should tell you otherwise. Typically the damage sustained from a hail storm will pose no immediate threat to your roof. The threat is in the longevity of the roof, because hail can dramatically reduce a roof's life expectancy. The deteriorated protection from a roof that is not expected to last its full life is why insurance companies will authorize the replacement of your roof.

    Will Homeowner's Insurance Cover a New Roof?

    This answer varies by the coverage on your homeowner's insurance policy. For some homeowners the answer is "yes." If you believe your home has been the victim of hail, contact your insurance company to determine if your policy will cover the damage. For many homeowners they will be able to have the roof repaired, or replaced and will need to pay a deductable.

  • Tip: If you are unsure if you homeowner's policy covers hail damage to your roof, contact your insurance company.

    Caution: Avoid Storm Chasers!

    Homeowners need to beware of 'storm chasers.' A storm chaser typically consist of an out of town roofing contractor that goes door to door after a hail storm soliciting for business. While it may seem tempting and convenient, these roofers can do more harm than good. Make sure any roofer you look to work with has a good reputation in the community. Look for a roofer that is located locally and check references. Look for references that are over a year old and ones that are more recent, within the last 30 days. Finally never give a deposit for a roof. A reliable roofer will only ask for payment once the roof has been complete.

If you think your home has sustained roof hail damage, get a professional opinion. Experienced roofing contractors should be willing to provide free roofing estimates upon request.

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