Hail Damage in Great Falls, VA
Residents of Great Falls, Virginia are very familiar with stormy weather. With the average rainfall of more than 4-inches each May and wind speeds year round that are higher than the national average, Great Falls residents are used to cleaning up after a storm. When hail stones strike, however, the type of damage they leave can be a little confusing. In fact, you may not even realize that your roof has been damaged until weeks or months later. That’s why it’s so important to have your roof inspected by a qualified local contractor as soon after the storm as possible.
Identifying Hail Damage
Most people don’t think that hail has damaged their roofs if they don’t see very obvious damage, such as broken shingles or water pouring in from your ceiling. Hail damage is more subtle, however, and sometimes the damage doesn’t become evident right away. So homeowners who might be proactive about cleaning up their yards after a storm and repairing the visible damage might not take care of that hail damage on their roofs until it’s too later and more damage has occurred.
This is because unless the hail stones that strike your roof are the size of baseballs, the damage it leaves might not be visible to the untrained eye. After all, how much time do you spend looking at your roof, and how familiar are you with the way your shingles look now?
When a hail stone strikes your roof, it bruises the mat or the underside of the shingle where you can’t see. This bruise could cause your shingle to begin deteriorating faster, which will lead to your roof breaking down and allowing moisture to come in.
At the same time it bruises your shingles, the hail stone also loosens some of the granules on top of the shingles. These granules are what help protect your roof from the elements; without them your roof will begin to deteriorate.
Over time, those high winds and rainy springs that Great Falls is so known for will wash away the loosened granules on your roof. Now your shingle will begin to break down, which will lead to water soaking through to your roof deck. Now things like mold, mildew, and wood rot will occur in your attic, even before the water comes through in such sufficient quantities to get your attention.
Having Your Roof Inspected
Because your roof damage may not be evident until weeks or months after the storm, you may not connect this damage to the hail that fell for only a few minutes several months ago. And because of this, you may not file an insurance claim that will help you pay for this damage. That’s why it’s so important to have your roof inspected after a storm; to find and fix this damage before it can cause further problems throughout your home.
Likewise, even if you suspect damage, without an inspection by a qualified local contractor, you may not know if this damage is severe enough to warrant an insurance claim. Your insurance adjuster has a formula that he will use to determine whether or not to approve your claim. This involves dividing your roof up into sections and counting the number of visible hail stone strikes in each one. You need to have a certain number of strikes per section to get your claim approved. Your contractor can advise you as to whether you have enough visible damage or not. Likewise, your contractor can also be on hand during the insurance inspection to help answer questions and ensure your adjuster sees this damage.
Beware the Storm Chaser
It’s important to have your roof inspected by a qualified, local contractor – and not everyone will fit that bill. Qualified local contractors will have the licenses, insurance, references, and know-how to handle your project from start to finish. They’ll also have local ties in your community, and can be there to assist you in the form of warranties after the job is done as well.
Storm chasers are contractors who travel the country, following large storms to collect the insurance money that often goes with them. They may use strong-arm sales tactics to get you to sign a contract with them, then they may leave you waiting until they’re ready to start the job. They may also leave in the middle of a project if another storm blows through somewhere else, and because they aren’t local you may not be able to get a hold of them if something goes wrong after they’re done. Worst of all, they may not pay their suppliers if they leave a job early, leaving a lien against your home.
Therefore, it’s important to check out any contractor you hire to work on your home. Ask for the following to determine your contractor’s eligibility for the job:
- A local driver’s license and state license plate
- State licenses and insurance
- At least three local, recent references
- References from local suppliers and manufacturers
- A high rating at the Better Business Bureau
If your contractor can’t provide you with these things beware; he may be a storm chaser.
Call for a Free Estimate
Northern Virginia Roofing has been working in the Great Falls area for more than 50 years. We’ve handled more than 2,000 hail damage jobs and have written a book – The Ultimate Hail Damage Guide for Homeowners: Learn the Storm Damage Industry Secrets and Avoid Getting Ripped Off. The eBook is available on Amazon but we will give you a free copy. Click here to download it.
We have one of the best warranties – 25+ years – in the industry, and an A+ rating at the BBB. Call us today for a free estimate and let us help you get your roof back to great condition.
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