When to repair hail damage on your home roof
Hail attacks your home as chunks of ice, varying in both size and velocity. Your windows are the most obvious risk during a hailstorm, but it can also damage your roof. This can mean costly roof repairs, especially if you don’t catch the damage early.
The definition of hail.
Frozen precipitation that can cause major damage to buildings, roofs and motor vehicles.
Hail forms very simply.
When temperatures are freezing, hailstones form around minuscule nuclei moving through the sky, such as droplets of water or a dust particle. This nascent hailstone is carried high through the clouds and will freeze swiftly and expand in size. It will pick up additional moisture from water vapour and rain as it is hurled by wind lower into the atmosphere, then it will be grabbed by the storm currents again and will re-freeze.
The stronger the wind in the storm, the longer the cycle between circling back and forth from freezing to non-freezing temperatures, thus growing in size. Eventually, the hailstone plummets to land below, causing damage to anything in its path such as buildings, roofs and vehicles.
A marble-size hailstone is estimated to drop at 32 km/hr, but cricket ball size and larger hail can exceed speeds of 200 km/hr.
Recent major hailstorms in Australia
Hailstorm damage can have a major effect on a family – the physical home and the financial situation. Hailstorms occur more frequently between September and March in Australia. Sometimes these storms create large hailstones which can cause extreme damage which means extensive repairs are needed to the property.
Over a third of Australia’s total natural event insurance losses (1968-2005) were caused by hail!
Cricket ball size hail dropped from the sky on 14 April 1999 in Sydney. The most sizeable hailstone measured 9cm diameter. Sydney was bombarded by hail at speeds upto 200km/hr. An estimated 500,000 tonnes of hail fell from this storm. This particular storm affected 130,000 people, damaged over 20,000 buildings & 40,000 motor vehicles. Insurance claims totalled over A$1.7 billion, but the total damage bill was estimated approximately A$2.3 billion. A state of emergency was declared by the State Government. As far as natural disasters go, this storm is still one of Australia’s most expensive.
$60 million in damages caused by hail in Queensland’s Gold Coast in 2005.
$1.05 billion in damages caused by a catastrophic storm (hail, torrential rain and flood) in Perth, Western Australia in 2010.
$1.1 billion in damages caused by a hailstorm in Queensland’s capital Brisbane in November 2014. The storm only lasted 30 minutes, 39 people injured and 12 hospitalised. Recorded wind speeds at 141 km/hr. 2000 homes sustained roof damage, 100,000 cars damaged and planes were flipped over at airports. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Severe_storms_in_Australia#Queensland
Another major hailstorm affected Sydney in December 2018. The damage was estimated at $798 million.
Southeast Queensland sustained another immense battering in November 2019. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) labelled this hailstorm a catastrophe. The severe storm affected Southeast Queensland, predominately the Sunshine Coast region. Combined damaging winds and giant hailstones resulted in estimated initial losses of $120 million (expected to increase).
Protecting your home
Be prepared. To minimise damage in a hailstorm:
- Be aware and know the risks (Bureau of Meteorology can provide weather warnings and storm history in your region)
- Clear debris from down pipes and gutters
- Trim over-hanging branches
- Keep yard and balcony clear of loose items that could become projectiles
- Make sure your roof is in good order – correctly installed & maintained
- Make sure the gutters are in good order
- Ensure you have adequate levels of building and contents insurance cover for your home against financial loss from hailstone damage.
Of course, these must be done prior to the start of a storm. Another option is to reinforce your home with hail resistant roofing materials.
Impact of a hailstorm
The degree of hailstone property damage depends on many factors:
- Intensity, frequency and severity of the storm
- Velocity of hail impact, and size, density and shape of the hailstone
- Speed of the wind and direction
- The building exposure and vulnerability to the hail
- Barriers (neighbouring structures and natural trees, etc)
- Roofing material toughness (old roofs or poor quality materials are more likely to sustain hailstone damage).
Whether big or small, hailstones cause costly and serious destruction and damage to your roof. The main structural damage that can be caused by hail are:
- metal roofing sustaining permanent indentation,
- glass damage,
- roof tiles cracked and
- hailstones buildup in the gutters.
Don’t assume your roof is okay after a hailstorm, always check again. Don’t Ignore Damage from Hailstorms.
Ignoring roof hail damage can lead to significant implications. Hail can damage your property and reduce your roof’s lifespan, forcing you to incur unexpected expenses on extensive home repairs. Inspect your roof regularly and repair any damage promptly.
A decent percentage of houses impacted by hailstorms are never inspected for damage because the owners do not know what to look for and can not identify the damage. In many cases, the insurance company may pay for roof repairs or replacement, gutters and siding when assessed properly and the claim is lodged within the time period.
Hail damage signs on your roof.
After a hailstorm it is important to check for any damage to your property that may have resulted from the wind or hailstones. Be thorough when inspecting the roof for hailstone damage. Minor damage found early will save you money and headaches down the track.
Remember, any problems that go undetected will become worse and more costly to fix as time goes on. That’s why it’s worth it to hire an experienced roofing professional to inspect your roof. If you are tech-savvy use a drone to assess your roof for hail damage. Take pictures and videos from angles that you couldn’t normally see from climbing up on the roof yourself.
Check skylights, vents and chimneys on the roof for hail damage.
Check for broken or cracked if your roof has skylights.
Check any roof vents for chips, dents and dings.
Check the metal flashing around the chimney.
TIP – run chalk sideways over the surface to identify hail impact points.
Check gutters for damage.
Check for denting or dimpling (metal) or punctures and cracks (vinyl).
Check for tears or deformities in gutter leaf guard or gutter screens (metal or plastic).
Check for shingle granule buildup in your gutters, this could mean hail damage to your roof shingles.
Hail damage to different roof types
Roofing materials respond and absorb hailstone impact in different ways.
Hail damage to Metal or Aluminium roofing
- Look for dings and dents from hailstone impact (chalk sideways on the roof surface)
- Look for deeper cracks and punctures from bigger hailstones
Hail damage can be serious on a metal roof, it can lead to corrosion, leaks and structural weak points.
Hail damage to Concrete, Clay and slate roofing
- Look for gouges or cracks from hailstones impact
- Look for broken tiles
My Roof has Hail Damage, what now?
If you believe your roof has sustained damaged from a hailstorm, it’s recommended to have a roofing professional inspect the roof thoroughly. They can assess the damage, if the damage is extensive, you should be able to claim on your building insurance policy.
If you need a roof inspection or not sure about hail damage (and you live in Brisbane north to the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane South to Logan and Brisbane Bayside or Redlands) contact us at Bayside Roofing for all your repair, restoration and roof painting needs. We also have a roof maintenance service so we can check your roof on a regular basis.