Your roof has one consistent enemy – HAIL. Severe storms are a seasonal occurrence in most states and with severe storms comes hail. Homeowners know that hail damage can cause their roof to be replaced or repaired, but how exactly does hail damage a roof?

Hail damages the ceramic granules that protect the shingle’s layer of asphalt. While these dents and divots are relative small, they allow UV rays from the sun to dry up and crack the asphalt. Additional rain and wind further deteriorates the damaged spots. Water then leaks in, destroying the remaining roof layers, and affecting the structure of the home itself.

There are several factors that will determine the amount of damage hail can inflict:

Roofing Materials

Roof age and condition determine how much damage a roof can withstand, as well as how different materials absorb the impact. Most shingles are composition – a layer of asphalt covered by a protective layer of ceramic granules. Wood shakes, however, can be cracked from hail’s force, especially if they are dry. Aluminum gutters or siding can be dinged from hail, which can affect their ability to function correctly.

Weather Severity

Wind speed and direction also play into how shingles are damaged.  Wind can lift shingles, causing hail to reach beneath the top layer, as well as allowing it to damage the attachment point.

Hail Size

The size and shape of the hailstone is an important part of its ability to damage a roof. Softball size hailstones can puncture shingles and cause significant damage to the underlayment. Normal size hailstones can still render damage, with rough edged stones wreaking even more havoc.

Shingles comprise the outer most cover of your roofing element and protect the layers underneath. Most hail storms cause little damage to shingles and other elements, but it’s important that any damage be inspected and repaired. To the untrained eye your roof may look perfectly fine after a storm, but to an expert, the almost imperceptible marks can add up to big costs later.