Hail Damage Inspections must be Comprehensive to be Conclusive


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hail Hail vs nonhail

When inspecting roofing for hail damage an expert must take a comprehensive approach.  An expert must first determine the size of hail experienced at the subject location. Weather reports often provide information on the size of hail that was experienced in a general/broad area.  However, as with all weather events, there is a point at which hail is no longer experienced (i.e. an end to the storm). Quite often people will rely on this weather data as “evidence” that large hail was experienced at the specific location in question.


Other aspects that must be taken into consideration are the roofing material itself, the age of the roof, how the particular roofing system would be expected to age, the presence of large trees overhanging the roof, the prevalence of birds (bird feces is very acidic and damaging in the long term to most roofing systems), maintenance history, if the area experiences snow/ice, and other site specific conditions.


Quite often deteriorated roofs have areas misidentified as hail damaged. Asphalt shingles for example, a common residential roofing product, often present areas misidentified as hail damage. One example is blisters, which are observed as isolated areas of granule loss and are generally round in shape.  They are created as gases/moisture trapped within the asphalt expands with increasing temperatures.  All shingles experience granule loss throughout the life of the roof.  Long-term exposure to sunlight (UV radiation) and rain eventually result in cracking throughout, referred to as alligatoring, which is accompanied by growing areas of granule loss. An expert will be able to differentiate between hail damage, blisters, and granule loss associated with the typical/expected aging process.


Should it be deemed necessary, sampling and laboratory testing can be used to identify the underlying causes and extent of damage.


What should be taken from this is that thorough investigations are critical in providing accurate roof assessments. There are many factors that contribute to the condition of a roof. A qualified engineer will be able to identify the idiosyncrasies that differentiate these phenomena.