Determining if You Had Hail Damage- Home Inspection Checklist
Ultimate Wind & Hail Damage Guide For Homeowners: Wind & Hail Damage Home Inspection Checklist
Hail Damage Anatomy
I’ve seen many homeowners walk around their house after a hail storm, looking at their roof thinking that everything is fine since they can’t see any obvious damage from the ground, while the roof was actually damaged and that damage was not apparent without a basic home inspection checklist.
The damage will be obvious if you have experienced a golf ball size or larger hail, but even if the hail was smaller than that – there is a good likelihood that your roof was damaged (it may take 2-4 months to become apparent though). And here’s why:
When hail hits your roof it loosens the granules on your shingles – how much the granules are loosened depends on the size of the hail. The larger sized hail will show granule loss immediately but the smaller sized hail will only loosen the granules. So for smaller sized hail damage the granule loss will be over a graduated period of time depending on how much rain you get.
When it rains, the loosened granules wash off the roof and expose the asphalt in the shingles over a period of time. Since granules protect the asphalt in the shingles, once the granules are gone the asphalt is exposed. Exposed asphalt will make the shingles deteriorate much faster than normal, thus causing roof leaks.
In conclusion, hail damage accelerates the aging process of your shingles taking 5-10 years off the life of your roof. So it’s important to find the damage to your home early on before it causes leaks. Also, if you wait too long, the insurance company will not cover any damage and you will be forced to replace the roof, siding, and/or gutters on your own dime.
What to Look For- Home Inspection Checklist
I hope I made a strong enough case for you to get your home inspected after a hail or wind storm. Here are some of the things that you can look at before you get an inspection:
Damage to Vehicles: The first thing you should do is look at any vehicles that were exposed to the hail. Look to see if there are any small dings or dents on the body of the vehicle. Often times you won’t be able to see the dings and dents unless the sun hits the vehicle just right and the reflection causes the dings to appear. Another trick is to pour water on the hood of your vehicle and step back and look to see if there are any dings or dents.
Damage to Your Metal Vents or Flashings on Your Roof: Go on your roof and look for any dings or dents in the metal. Look at the vents, the drip edge, the fascia, and your gutters for signs of damage.
Note: It is very dangerous to get on the roof; please only do this if you have easy access to your roof and the slopes are not too steep. If you are not comfortable with getting up on your roof – call a Qualified Local Contractor to do the inspection for you.
- Shingle Roofs: Look at the shingles for indents or missing granules. Hail might produce a “dent” or a damage point on the surface of an asphalt shingle roof, resulting in granule loss and reduced remaining roof life. You can also check your gutters and the area around the base of downspouts for excessive granule build up. If evident, there is strong chance there has been roof damage from the storm.
- Cedar Shake Roofs: Look for scrapes or slight indents on the cedar shakes. Some of the shakes will splinter, while others will have cracks or chips on them.
- Slate/Tile Roofs: These roofs usually withstand hail much better than shingle and shake roofs but it is possible to get cracks and chips in the slate or tile roofs, so they should be inspected as well.
- Metal Roofs: Look for dings and dents in the metal roof. Use the same method as you did to inspect your vehicle. Make sure you look at your metal roof after a rain because that’s the best time to see the damage.
Again, it is very dangerous to get on your roof; many homeowners have fallen of their roofs over the years. I highly recommend that you get an expert to inspect your roof.
Gutters and Downspouts:
The next thing to do is walk around the house and inspect all your downspouts and gutters for dings and dents. Check the area at the bottom of your downspouts for a buildup of shingle granules.
Look for dings or dents on the siding the same way you inspected your vehicle; you want to make sure you check the siding after a rain, because water magnifies any dings or dents on metal. If it doesn’t rain you can spray the siding with a hose and look for dings and dents.
Roof damage does not always cause immediate leaks, and all too often hail damage goes undiscovered until after leaking or other serious damage occurs. As damaged shingles degrade, your roof may begin to leak, so inspect your interior ceiling after a heavy rain for any apparent water damage multiple times throughout the year. Water staining anywhere on the ceiling is a good sign of roof damage.
Your Qualified Local Contractor, who looks at thousands of roofs each year will be able to determine if your home sustained any hail damage or not and give you recommendations on whether you have enough damage to consider filing a claim. This home inspection checklist though is a good start.
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