hail damage

How to Identify Hail Damage

Article by:

Share On:


You may be familiar with hail knocking on your roof and windows as a Canadian. As May begins, you know heavy hail might be on its way. You may have already had one of those days waking up to see your car damaged by last night’s hail.


Sadly, that’s not always the end of the story. Hail can be even more destructive, damaging not only your car but your windows, roof, gutters, and siding. Some of this damage is obvious; there may be holes or dents which can be easily detected and fixed.


But not all hail damage is as noticeable. Sometimes you need a trained eye to spot all the tiny cracks and holes in your roof. However, if you want to survey your house before asking an expert inspector, you’re in the right place.


Here we help you identify all sorts of hail damage on your property, which, if left unattended, can leave you with bigger costly problems.


Factors Affecting the Severity of Hail Damage


Not all hail causes equal damage. Different factors impact the type and degree of damage done to your property. While in most cases, hail damage can only be seen on the roofs, when accompanied by a strong wind, your siding is also in danger. 


Wind Speed


You hear thunderstorms and heavy wind outside. That’s when you know hail will probably be following soon. Depending on the severity of the wind, and its direction, you can expect minor to major hail damage. 


Size and Density of Hailstones 


It’s no surprise that hailstones come in different sizes and shapes. As small as a half-dollar coin or as large as a tennis ball, hail damage mainly depends on the size of the hailstones. Additionally, most hailstones have rough edges that can exceed the damage to your property.


Housing Material 


Different building materials have different resistance to hailstones. While hail can cause minimal damage to aluminum siding, gutters, asphalt roofs, and shingles, vinyl and wood are the most vulnerable materials.


However, if the hailstones are larger than a softball, the chances are high that you will get holes in your window or roof no matter what. 




When it comes to hail damage, trees, neighbouring properties, fences, or other barriers around the house are considered good. These barriers act like a shield in front of hailstones and can decrease hail damage significantly.


Different Types of Hail Damage to a Roof


We discussed different factors influencing the severity and type of hail damage. With normal hail, chances are high that you only get cosmetic damage such as bruises, granules loss, or broken edges. That being said, even cosmetic damage can turn into functional ones in the long term.


Keep reading to learn more about the different types of damage your home is exposed to during a hail storm.


Hail Damage on Shingles – Granule Loss


Granules are the preserves of your shingle, meaning they protect it from heat and light. So once hailstones damage the granules and break them, the shingle is exposed to elements, causing more damage to your house.


Hail Damage on Shingles – Cracking 


Large hailstones, or those coming with high winds, can grasp parts of your shingle and create cracks. These cracks leave exposures and bare spots in your roofing system, preventing effective protection against weather and natural elements.  


Uncovered Fiberglass Mat


Once you have broken granules and shattered shingles, the fibreglass surface beneath is also exposed. This can eventually lead to a fractured fibreglass mat in the shape of cracks and tears.


Diminished Seal


Hail affects roof structures by weakening the self-seal strip of the shingle. The diminished seal allows the shingle to blow off and eventually leave the surface of your roof exposed to nature’s elements. 


Once your shingle is damaged, your house is also open to further damage from water leaks, mould, insects, cracks in fibreglass mats, and more.


Identifying Hail Damage on Roof and Siding.


A hailstone larger than one diameter or a smaller one coming with speedy winds often leaves noticeable damage on your roof. After a hailstorm, check your roof for signs of dents and dings. 


If your roof has been previously damaged or it’s in poor condition already, it’s safe to stay on the ground and check it from there. Here’s a list of things to look for from the ground if you recently had a hailstorm in your district:

  • Dings on the garage door
  • Broken windows
  • Dings on any part of your siding
  • Dings or strikes on your grill, electric meter or AC unit
  • Dents or holes in your mailbox 
  • Dents or homes on your car

Note: Check out our website to learn more about Structural Integrity: How Building Inspectors Help Maintain Buildings. 


Hail Damage on Wood Shingle Roofs


Cedar is known to be a high-resistance material. However, nothing is resistant enough when you’ve got hailstones as big as a tennis ball. But how can you identify hail damage on wooden roofs? Some of the signs listed below tell you that your roof had a tough time.


First and foremost, look for indents in the shingle. Hailstones are usually about the same diameter, meaning you should look for indents around the same size. If huge winds accompany the hail, you may also find holes in your roof.


Check thoroughly for holes, as they’re usually very small and hard to detect. If you don’t fix these holes immediately, you should expect water damage, mildew, and insect infestations.


Additionally, hail damage can cause cracking between ridges and valleys of your wooden roof. These cracks are usually half-circled in shape and can allow moisture to penetrate roof layers beneath them. 


Subtle Hail Damage and How to Identify Them


Sometimes you do the first round of checkups, and there’s nothing noticeable. However, that doesn’t mean there is no damage at all. Hail damage can leave smaller holes and dents that are more tricky to be found. 


In these cases, you can ask for a professional inspector, like a member of our professional structural engineering team, to check your roof and siding. You can also take advantage of our practical tips.


Check your gutters and downspouts if you want to know whether hailstones have damaged your roof. If you see any dings, dents, or strikes on the gutters, the chances are high that you also have problems on your roof.


Additionally, sometimes hail damage causes shingles to break and shed. So if your gutters have been clogged, it’s a sign there’s a problem with your roofing system.


Note: If you want to learn more about natural disasters and how to keep your properties safe during one, check out our post on Which Natural Disaster Causes The Most Damage in Canada?


How Can You Repair Hail Damage?


So, now you’ve checked your roof and siding and you’ve detected almost all hail damage, how can you repair it? Is it going to be costly? Well, it depends. 


If you’ve been keeping your house in good condition, ensuring it’s standing strong against any natural disasters, a small hail storm probably won’t bother you much. But if your roof and siding are old, and you’ve been going through a heavy hail storm, you might even need a roof replacement.


Yes, there’s a huge difference, and it’s not often easy to determine which one you’ll need. That’s why Roar Engineering Structural Engineering Services is here to help. Contact us, and we will give you a complete roof hail inspection, so you know the severity of the damage.


Is It Necessary to Repair Hail Damage?


If you don’t want it to become a huge, pricey problem, yes, it is. While small dents or dings on your shingle may seem trivial at first, they can lead to serious problems once ignored. Your broken granules can soon become ice dams allowing moisture into your house. 


A few protective steps and repairs while the problem is still small can save you thousands in the near future. 


Hail Damage Costs


When discussing the repairing costs of a hail-damaged property, it takes work to determine an exact number. Sometimes you have minor problems that can be taken care of in a matter of minutes, while others can take more than a few days. 


However, roof damage takes about $5,500 to $10,000. If your siding is also damaged, you may have to pay between $6,150 and $15,900. Remember that this is an estimated number and can differ from house to house.


For more information on hail-damaged house repair costs, read more about Roar Engineering Structural Engineering Services.


How to Handle a Hail Damage?


After you’re done with your roof hail inspection, it’s time to reach your insurance company. Usually, homeowners insurance policies include coverage for different hail damage. So call your company and check if you’re eligible for a hail damage claim.


Depending on the place you live, your insurance company, and your policy details, your coverage can vary. So before proceeding any further, make sure your claim is approved.


Insurance Hail Damage Roof Process


If you’ve filed an insurance claim before, you know it’s not the most fun process in the world. In fact, it can be quite confusing and time-consuming. Make sure not to sign any paperwork until you’re certain that your claim is approved.


Well-respected roofing contractors will help you with the insurance process and give you a thorough assessment of hail damage on your roof and siding. And once your claim is approved, they’ll begin with repairs. 


If the insurance company denies your claim, there’s no need to panic. Ask a second insurance agent to inspect your house. Sometimes, your claim has only been denied due to a simple mistake.


A Few Last Words


Hail is a common phenomenon in many parts of the world, often causing no severe damage. However, sometimes large hailstones follow a heavy wind and cause great damage to your house and your car. 


If your house is damaged by hail and you need a thorough inspection to make an insurance claim, or if you are looking for a team of experienced structural engineers to arm you in repairing your beloved house, Roar engineering will be by your side. 


Our expert team in structural engineering is eager to work with you on your project. Now you can lay back and enjoy a top-notch service in time and within your budget. Don’t hesitate and contact us now. We’ll be happy to answer all your questions. 


How to Identify Hail Damage FAQ


What type of roof is best for hail?


When looking for a hail-resistant roof, you need to consider two important factors, durability and longevity. Metal Roofing and slate are considered some of the best types of roofs for hail and other extreme weather.


How do you know if your roof has hail damage?


Hail damage can be seen in various ways on roofs. The best and safest way to identify hail damage is from the ground. Look for dents on the gutter, loose granules, cracks on the siding, broken windows, and damaged mailboxes.


If you have noticed any of these signs, you probably have hail damage on your roofing system.


How do you prevent roof damage from hail?


First, make sure your roof is in fine condition. Inspect your roof regularly and fix any tears or cracks, no matter how small. If you think your roof is too old to endure extreme weather or there is damage beyond repair, replace it. 


Finally, ensure to only use the most resistant materials for your roof.


What does hail damage look like on a roof?


Generally speaking, hail damage on shingles looks like a bruise or a dark spot. This happens when granules are broken and dropped, and layers beneath are seen. In severe damage, even the fibreglass mat is exposed and damaged.


In the case of wooden roofs, like cedar, hail damage on shingles is usually seen as a brown or orange split. These splits often have sharp corners and edges; if not attended to soon, they’ll lead to moisture and mould growth.