Common Causes of Hail Damage to Roofs

Hail storms can cause extensive damage to many types of roofs. Homeowners must know the most common hail damage to minimize costly repairs. Knowing what problems hail can cause and how to prevent them is essential in protecting your roof and keeping it in top condition.

In this guide, we’ll explore the most common types of hail damage that affect roofing materials and how these issues can be prevented or repaired. Next, we’ll cover what makes hail such an unpredictable danger and why the severity of hail-induced roof damage varies from region to region. Finally, we’ll review a few methods for minimizing the chances that your roof will suffer from hail storm damage.

Causes of Hail Damage

Hail can cause significant damage to a building’s roof, shingles, and even siding. Hailstones can range from pea-sized to larger than softballs, and they are often one of the most common causes of hail damage to roofs. Understanding the causes of hail damage can help you take the necessary steps to protect your home. This article will walk through the most common causes of hail damage to roofs.

Size of the Hailstone

The size of the hailstones that strike a roof is one of the most common causes of roof hail damage. Hailstones range in size considerably, and the smaller ones are generally not large enough to cause damage, while larger stones have the potential to cause significant harm. Typically, anything greater than a 1/2 inch in diameter should be cause for concern.

The more giant hailstones can become increasingly destructive, with stones over 2 inches in diameter able to break windows and dent cars. Hail sizes vary depending on factors such as storm intensity, temperatures present during the storm, location within pockets of heavy rain, wind direction and velocity, and more.

During an individual hailstorm, multiple hail sizes may fall at different times, which can also influence possible damage levels to roofs and other surfaces such as vehicles and outdoor home items. Roofs typically take on external impact damage from hail falling at a steeper angle since it travels faster toward ground level than horizontal planes.

This explanation implies that certain roof parts may be more vulnerable to hail than other areas where it strikes with a glancing or lower angle trajectory that limits its available force to pierce or penetrate surfaces like roof shingles, tiles, or metal sheeting material used in roofs today.

Wind Speed

Wind speed is another leading cause of hail damage. Hailstones typically only form when the wind speeds are 20 and 45 mph. Stronger winds can disperse hail before it can reach a surface, while weaker winds can reduce their momentum, slowing down their impact and lessening any potential damage. 

Unfortunately, as strong winds often come hand in hand with storms, they can also increase the chances of hail formation and forceful impacts on roofs and other surfaces.

Duration of the Storm

The duration of a thunderstorm, especially those with strong winds and hail, is an essential factor in the damage to a roof. Longer-duration storm events can cause more severe damage than short-duration storm events due to the increased time for the hailstones to accumulate on the roof.

The longer the hail has to fall, the greater its chance of accumulating on the surface in higher quantities, potentially causing more damage. Additionally, storms can last for several hours, allowing smaller hail stones that generally wouldn’t cause much damage at all to become bullets after being cycled through a thunderstorm several times.

Identifying Hail Damage

Hail damage to roofs can be a common problem for many homeowners, and understanding the causes of this damage is essential for proper repair and prevention. Hail can cause anything from dents in your roofing shingles to extensive damage to your roof’s flashing and ventilation systems. In this article, we’ll discuss the most common causes of hail damage to roofs and what you can do to minimize the risk of this type of damage.

Visible Damage

When it comes to hail damage, visual inspection is the first step. The first signs of hail damage occur in the form of dings and bruises across any exposed surfaces of a building, usually in the form of shingles or siding. The impact can cause much identifiable physical damage to roofs, siding, and other materials. These include:

Damage to Roofing Materials

When hail strikes a roof, it can cause damage to the underlying roofing materials. Depending on the size of the hail, the severity and type of damage will vary. Hailstones can leave indentations in softer roof materials such as asphalt shingles, leaving an uneven surface or causing tears along edges and corner points.

Roof tiles and slate are more porous and absorb moisture from gunfire, resulting in “hail scars” that appear as rounded pits or dimples during the inspection. Wool insulation is easily shredded during hailstorms, leading to significant short-term energy losses and infiltrated moisture over time due to weakened waterproofing seals.

Metal roofs are typically the most resilient to hail damage, with few visible signs unless witnesses report claims of severe hail impacts at the time of impact. In addition to hailstones, inspecting flashing around dormers and pipe boot seals for possible ice impacts due to displacement during storms with large chunks of frozen precipitation is essential. If left unaddressed, these areas become potential weak spots for water infiltration into interior spaces due to compromised waterproof enclosures.

Damage to Gutters and Downspouts

Their thin metal construction makes gutters and downspouts particularly susceptible to hail damage. High-speed hail can cause dents, holes, granule loss, and cracks in these items, eventually leading to roof leaks and other roofing problems

Additionally, the hail can knock off pieces of insulation or building materials that make up the roof itself. This can weaken the roof’s overall structure, potentially causing cave-ins or unstable weights that could injure those below the structure. Therefore, inspecting gutters and downspouts after a storm is essential to identify any potential damage due to hail. In addition, through regular inspection, homeowners can reduce their risk of experiencing significant water damage over a 

long period.

Preventing Hail Damage

Hail damage to roofs occurs more often than you might expect and can cause substantial structural damage. Therefore, it’s essential to know what the most common causes of hail damage are to take steps to prevent it. This article will discuss the most common causes of hail damage and what you can do to protect your roof.

Installing Impact Resistant Roofing Materials

One of the most effective ways to reduce the likelihood of hail damage to roofs is by installing impact-resistant roofing materials such as metal, foam, or rubber. Metal or aluminum roofs are the best choices for hail protection since they are more complex than other materials and can withstand hailstones up to a specific size.

On the other hand, foam or rubber roofs can be more flexible when withstanding more giant hailstones. Additionally, foam and rubber products have excellent insulation properties that help keep homes more relaxed in the summer months. Another benefit of these materials is that they do not need a lot of maintenance or upkeep, since they are generally more rigid and more durable than traditional roofing shingles.

Homeowners should also consider installing impact-resistant windows and doors in areas exposed to heavy winds or hail storms to further protect their roofs from possible damage. Finally, homeowners should take additional precautions when protecting against hail damage, such as ensuring that roof systems have sufficient gutters and that landscaping features are in place for added reinforcement.

Regular Roof Inspections and Maintenance

Regular roof inspections and maintenance are essential to prevent hail damage. A regular roof inspection should include the following:

It is essential to gather all necessary information before beginning the repair and follow all manufacturer’s recommendations for products to ensure the roof remains in good condition. Homeowners should take a look at their roofs at least twice yearly for signs of weathering or damage from storms or other natural events. Checking for strong gusts of wind or hail stones during a storm can help locate damaged areas on a roof surface. Cracked shingles, dents in flashing and metal components, loose nails, missing shingles, signs of water seepage through seals and rain runoff lines, and stains indicate that hail has impacted your home’s legal coverage.

Regular maintenance should also include cleaning and checking gutters adjacent to roofs so that problems caused by sediment build-up on roofs can be prevented; tiles should also be checked for signs of shifting which can lead to more hailstones hitting valuable components such as air conditioning units over time – these tips will not only help protect your investment but can also help save you considerable money in costly repairs later down the road!


In conclusion, hail can cause extensive damage to a roof due to its size, density, and the force at which it hits the roof. When a hailstone collides with a roof, it causes at least one impact point. This impact then causes the granules on the shingles to be chipped off or displaced, exposing the protective layer beneath.

Therefore, it is essential for homeowners to check for visible hail damage and get a certified roof inspector to inspect their roofs periodically.

This will prevent minor problems from developing into significant repairs that could otherwise be avoided by timely detection. In addition, contacting your insurance company in case of suspicion of repairable damage is always recommended. Professional roofing contractors or roofing experts can also offer valuable help in identifying the extent of roof damage that a hail storm may have caused, and suggest appropriate solutions.