A quick Q & A when it comes to hail damage and your home:
What does hail damage on my roof look like?
You can see the dark spots where the granules are knocked off, this is where the shingle will start to fall apart. As the sun makes the asphalt base brittle more and more granules will fall off. Within a pretty short amount of time your roof will look like its 30 years old.
What happens when hail hits my house?
If the hail is large enough and flying fast enough it can dent your siding and gutters, it can crack your skylights and even make holes in vinyl siding.
What about my roof?
When hail strikes asphalt shingles if can blow off the granules on the face of the shingle. The face of asphalt shingles is made up of ceramic granules, the granules give the shingle it’s color but more importantly they protect the asphalt base of the shingle from the sun. When asphalt is exposed to the sun it will age exponentially, the suns ultraviolet rays make the asphalt in the shingle brittle. When the shingles become brittle they fail; you have seen old cracked neglected asphalt driveways, now think of a parking lot or driveway that has been sealed. Same principle, the sealant on the driveway does the same job that the tiny granules do on the roof.
My roof looks fine from the ground…
Most of them do, however the only way to check for hail damage is to go up on the roof and look. If the hood of your car is dented, if you can see dents in the gutters or if there is dented or cracked siding then chances are the roof took a beating too.
What do I do now?
First; protect your house. If the skylight was shattered or a vent was torn off in the wind you should call a licensed roofing contractor to cover anything that might lead to more damage to your house.
Second; call and file an insurance claim. If your house has a lot of damage your insurer will send out a claims adjuster. If the hail damage is widespread it might take a while to get a representative to you. After big storm events independent adjusters will come in from all over the country to work through the claims; most claims are settled within three weeks.
Third; get estimates for repairs. It will make the process a lot easier if you have an estimate for the repairs when the adjuster meets you at the house. The adjuster will make determinations of what he will cover and what he won’t; the insurance company may pay for an entire new roof or they may pay for re-roofing one damaged area.
Can you replace the roof, gutters and siding?
Yes we can. We do it all the time.
Do I have to replace my roof or siding now?
No, you don’t. However prices for roofing, siding and gutters go up every year, your insurance company is paying you a fractional amount of what the work costs today. By not replacing the damaged parts of your house now you will be left to pick up the difference later. Also some insurance companies have cut off dates for allowing claims; if you wait too long you may be out of luck. Also, selling a house with hail damage can be difficult.
Which contractor should I hire?
Hire someone local, hire a contractor that has an investment in your satisfaction. When large disasters happen contractors (called storm-chasers) will be driving here with both feet on the gas from all over the country; they skip town as soon as the work dries up or until an even bigger storm hits somewhere else. Many storm-chasers do good, honest work, but some leave homeowners with shoddy repairs and material suppliers with piles of unpaid invoices. You may have heard of the “tail light warranty”; that means the warranty on his work is good as long as you can see the tail lights on his truck.
Hire a contractor with a fixed local business address, a good Better Business Bureau rating, a website, a CheckBook rating, a stellar Angie’s List Rating, a long local reference list and a vested interest in your happiness. Although the guy from Oklahoma may say all the right things he certainly wont be heading back to see you if there is a problem.