What Size Hail Will Damage a Roof?

When a storm rolls through your town, there are a lot of things that can do damage. Heavy winds are the usual culprit, but there is another type of storm that can do a ton of damage: hail. Hail storms are usually nothing to worry about as hail does not often hit and the pellets are smaller.

It is when those pieces of hail start to grow in size that you can be concerned about things like your car or, even worse, your roof. When there is damage to your roof of any kind, the costs can be heavy. Even a little of damage can cost thousands of dollars and most of us do not have that kind of money lying around. Because hail damage leads are often hot items for roofers, cities recently hit by storms will be ripe with them. Be aware of whom you’re dealing with.

What’s worse is dealing with insurance companies. They say that they are there for us when disaster strikes, but the fact of the matter is that most insurance companies will find any reason to not pay out a claim. It is how they strengthen their bottom line, after all.

When hail does become a point of concern, it can help to know what size hail can do damage to your roof. Again, not all hail is worth worrying about but when those bigger chunks do begin to hit, you can be left wondering what to do. Inspecting your own roof is dangerous and you may not know what to look for.

Understanding which hail sizes can damage your roof gives you a good inclination about when to call in an inspector to check for damage on your roof. Here are a few of the most common sizes of hail that have been known to inflict damage on roofs throughout the country.

Hail Size Measurement¼-inch hail (known as pea-sized hail)

Your milder hailstorms will generally produce this size of hail and only for a few minutes at a time before it shifts over to a steadier rainfall. When dealing with this size of hail, a roof can often fair pretty well. Use some common sense and judgment before jumping to any conclusions.

If you have an older roof that might already have potential damage that pea-sized hail could potentially exacerbate the existing damage. Be aware of the condition of your roof before making a judgment on whether or not your roof needs an inspection after a hailstorm.

½-inch hail (known as marble-sized hail)

As a general rule of thumb, the marble-sized hail can also fall into the safe zone when it comes to hail. This means that it is generally not thought to cause damage to roofs that don’t already have substantial damage.  Keep in mind that hail is produced by updrafts of wind that shoot raindrops higher into the atmosphere. When it gets higher into the atmosphere, it freezes and then falls back to earth.

When you have more extreme winds, the hailstones will generally be larger. While the quarter-inch-sized hailstones might not be of much concern, again, exercise caution and common sense. If you have any thought at all that there might be damage to your roof, call in an inspector right away.

¾-inch to 1-inch hail (known as a dime to quarter-sized hail)

When you begin to see hailstones that are larger than the ½-inch described above, you should call in an inspector immediately. Finding a local roofer that is reputable is a great place to start and you also need to make sure that you place a call to your insurance agent.

Hail this size will generally leave damage to roofs in the form of dents and cracks, though in some cases it can definitely leave greater damage. Do not leave this unaddressed; expensive as it can be, if you leave the damage unaddressed, it could turn into a more expensive, extensive, and potentially dangerous condition to live in.

It is imperative that you talk to your insurance agent immediately in any event. Knowing what your policy covers and what might be paid for can help you determine what your budget is and what contractor to go with. Part of the headache of dealing with damage to your roof is in dealing with the insurance company; try to get that duck in a row as soon as you can.

1 ¾-inch to 4 ½-inch hail (golf ball-sized hail)

While this isn’t the most uncommon size range of hail, it can present substantial damage to your roof, car, and home. If you see storms with hail of this size rolling through the area, you can be almost positive that there is damage done.

Much like the previous size, in the event of hail this size, the first thing you want to do is to get your insurance agent on the phone and discuss your options. They might even work with you to send out a roofer to do an inspection, determining what the overall damage is before moving forward. If your policy covers you, there’s a good chance that at least some of the damages done to your roof can be covered.

Hail can be a nasty beast to deal with even if it rears its ugly head only once in a great while. Whenever there is hail in your area, it is critical that you assess the size of the hailstones first and foremost. Under ¾-inch and you are probably fine unless your roof already has substantial damage and age to it.

Anything larger than 1/2-inch and you will likely need to discuss the next step with your insurance agent and find a roofing contractor to perform an inspection on your roof. Being calm and knowing the steps to take when a hailstorm hits your area can make all the difference in the world when trying to get the necessary repairs done.

The key is to not panic and not jump to conclusions. Make sure that you take all of the proper steps so that you can not only get your roof repaired but get it done in a way that is cost-effective.

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