Hail is a beautiful and fascinating form of precipitation. Unfortunately, hailstorms can be extremely destructive.
Hail forms within thunderstorm clouds. Updrafts (rising columns of air) carry water droplets into higher portions of a cloud where temperatures are below freezing. The droplets turn into icy balls or lumps, known as hailstones. Eventually, after becoming too heavy for the updraft to keep them suspended, the hailstones fall to the ground.
The more time hailstones spend in the below-freezing zone of the cloud, the larger—and more dangerous—they become.
Hailstones can damage vehicles, break windows, and even cause injuries.
Residential roofs are particularly vulnerable to hail. Hail can dent metal, shatter tiles, and break off shingles.
Let’s cover everything that Florida homeowners should know about hail damage to roofs, including:
- How often does Florida experience hail?
- What hail damage looks like on asphalt, metal, and tile roofs
- How to check for roof damage after a hailstorm
How Often Does Florida Experience Hail?
Florida experiences more thunderstorm activity than any other state, with more than 80 thunder and lightning days per year.
Compared to the frequency of thunderstorms, hail is fairly rare in Florida, with around 38 major hailstorms per year. That’s because high temperatures usually melt the hail before it reaches the ground.
However, any thunderstorm has the potential to produce hail and any hailstorm can cause damage.
The larger the pellets, the greater the hazard. According to the Florida Climate Center, hail over three inches in diameter has hit Florida around a dozen times. In 1996, softball-sized hail was reported in Lake Wales, causing $24 million in damage.
What Hail Damage Looks Like on Roofs
Hail is unmistakable. If you’re home during a hailstorm, you’ll hear loud knocking sounds as the hailstones bounce off your roof. The larger the stones, the louder the noise.
Hail can cause cosmetic damage or functional damage, i.e. damage that threatens the roof’s integrity.
The appearance of hail damage on roofs differs by material. Here’s what to look for after a hailstorm that hits your asphalt, metal, or tile roof.
Asphalt shingles can suffer functional damage during a hailstorm. Look for these marks:
- Displaced granules
- Round indents in the shingles
- Bruises, rips, or cracks in the shingles
- Shingles that appear or feel slightly dislodged
- Broken-off shingles lying loose on the roof or the ground
Displaced granules may appear to be a minor concern, but should be promptly repaired. Shingles with bare spots are vulnerable to leaks and UV damage.
Metal roofs are fairly resistant to hail. Most metal damage caused by hailstorms is cosmetic and does not compromise structural integrity.
Check for these signs of hail damage on metal roofs:
- Dents or punctures
- Small warped sections
- Loosened fasteners
Dents are generally considered cosmetic damage. Punctures, warping, and loosened fasteners indicate a more urgent need for repairs.
Clay or terracotta tile roofs are beautiful and a popular choice for high-end homes. Tile roofs are strong and long-lasting, but aren’t invincible against hailstorms.
Signs of hail damage on tile roofs include:
- Small chips broken off of tiles
- Cracked edges or corners of tiles
- Spiderweb-shaped cracks
- Shattered, loose, or displaced tiles
Any tile damage should be professionally inspected as soon as possible to avoid leaks and prevent the next storm from worsening the damage.
How to Check For Roof Damage After a Hailstorm
After a hailstorm, check the ground around your home’s foundation for fallen shingles or tiles. Then, view the roof from ground level to survey for obvious signs of damage.
Inspect your gutter downspouts and other structures around your yard. If your gutters suffered dents, that’s a sign that the hail was capable of major damage.
If you can safely do so, go onto your roof for a closer look. Check for dents, cracks, and loose parts. Take photos for your records.
Keep in mind that not all damage is easy to spot. If you have any reason to believe that hail harmed your roof, contact a roofing team for a professional inspection.
Has Your Roof Been Damaged? Contact HW Roofing for Repairs
HW Roofing is an Owens Corning Preferred Contractor with extensive experience repairing storm damage to commercial and residential roofs.
If your roof was damaged by hail or other extreme weather, HW Roofing can help.
We serve the Jacksonville metro area and nearby parts of Northern Florida and Southern Georgia (by request). We offer free inspections, simple and straightforward financing, and friendly expert service.
To learn more, contact HW Roofing today.