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What is the big deal about hail damage to your asphalt shingle roof?

Hail Damage Charlotte NC | Ridgeline Exteriors

With the arrival of Spring comes the potential for large, violent, hail producing thunderstorms. I thought this would be a good time to talk briefly about the effect hail can have on an asphalt shingle.

To begin it is important to understand the makeup of an asphalt shingle. Basically, there are three components.

Base (also called the mat or the substrate) – The base is the backbone of the shingle. holding things together and providing strength against tears and fractures. usually made up of fiberglass.

Asphalt – The asphalt is the worker bee of the shingle. It is what keeps the rain out.

Granules – The granules primary role is that of protector. They protect the asphaltic matrix from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. The second role of the granules is to give the shingle its color.

So, how do hail strikes effect the shingle? There are two types of damage.

 Latent Damage – When the hailstone strikes the shingle it removes the granules from the impact area and exposes the underlying asphalt to the sun’s ultraviolet rays. This exposure can speed up the deterioration of the shingle thus significantly reducing its expected lifespan. In our area this is the most common type of damage and it is not a cause for immediate concern as the roof will continue to perform as intended, but just not for as long as originally intended.

Severe Damage – If the hailstone is large enough and the impact is strong enough, it is possible for the impact to fracture the shingle. This is an immediate concern as the fractured shingle can no longer protect the home from rain. While we have seen some of this type of damage in our area, it is very uncommon here. This type of hail storm would also cause severe damage to other items such as a mailbox, air conditioner unit, grill, automobile, etc… I have even seen this type of hail shatter windshields and sunroofs. Again, this type of hail is extremely rare in our area

How can you tell if your roof has hail damage?

Other Damage – If hail has damaged your roof, you should be able to see some evidence of hail around your home. When hail strikes a weathered deck or driveway, for example it leaves a mark. It blasts away the dirt, mildew, etc… Also check the gutters, downspouts, aluminum window surrounds, air conditioner condenser fins, mailbox, automobiles and such. Generally speaking, hail damage on those items is a good indication that there may be hail damage to your shingles.

Granules – Mounds of granules piling up on the ground at a downspout outlet or gobs of granules in your gutter may be an indication that your roof has been struck by hailstones. Further investigation is warranted.

Visual Inspection – From a ladder or a window that looks out over a section of roofing, you may be able to see hail damage. Hail damage generally appears as an irregular circular area of missing granules.

If you suspect that you have hail damage contact a local, reputable roofing contractor to inspect the roof for hail damage. Most roofing contractors such as us, Ridgeline Exteriors offer a free, no obligation inspection.