What Is The Cost Of Roof Repair For Damage Caused By Hail?
Hailstones can be a fact of life in the USA and many areas of both America and Canada will see violent regular hailstorms. Most householders are only too well aware of the damage that hailstones can cause to their homes and other property like cars. On tiled roofs, it is not unusual for the inspector or the roofing contractor to remove tiles surrounding the damaged area to correctly and thoroughly inspect the areas of main impact. Here are some average costs to repair a roof that has been damaged by hail using standard asphalt shingles.
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) keeps a record of severe storms on a database and in 2019, there were in excess of 5,000 major hail storms across the USA. The insurer, Aon, put the losses caused by major hailstorms in the US over the last twenty years as between $8 billion and $14 billion.
Many modern roofing systems are rated for hail resistance with a scale from 1 thru 4 with 4 being the best possible hail resistance. This usually relates to the size of the hail that has been tested on a sample of that roofing material so the purchaser can understand what size and type of hail the roof can resist. Hail resistant roofing is pretty much an essential if you live in certain parts of America prone to serious weather systems.
What is the repair cost for a roof which has suffered hail damage?
|Type of damage||Cost to repair|
|Mild to moderate requiring spot replacements or repair||$550 - $1.500 for every roof square|
|Severe damage||$4,000 - $6,500|
|Full roof replacement||$9,500 - $25,000|
|Average roof repair costs for hail damage||$4,000 - $5,000|
Hail damage almost always means replacing damaged roof shingles or panels not just patching up or repairing, this is because the violent force and destructive power of the hailstones will often damage the roofing material beyond repair. The cost of restoration will depend on the extent of the damage and the type of roofing material. Vinyl and metal tend to become dented by hailstones whereas stone, clay and fiberglass asphalt shingles will be left with gouges or nicks or maybe even cracks and fissures. Standing seam metal roofs or corrugated metal panels will also require replacement.
Restoration of a hail damaged roof is economically viable and, in any event, many homeowners are able to claim for this under their home insurance policy so do not have to meet the expense from their own pocket.
Before any restoration work is contemplated, the extent of the damage to the roof needs to be determined. You might think damage caused by hail is easily visible from street level but not so; a roofing contractor will need to make a proper inspection at height even if you think you have got away with it. However, with very large hailstones so golf ball or larger, there will often be clear damage to the roof sidings or windows which is easily visible so you will know that the roof has probably experienced similar treatment.
If you are making an insurance claim then your insurance company will likely send an assessor to evaluate the damage to the roof although some people also ask their own roofing contractor to take a look as well. Depending on the type of the storm and the hail drop, only parts of the roof may be affected or sometimes the whole roof can be impacted by the hailstones.
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What kind of damage can hailstones cause?
Hailstones are pellets of ice and they can be sizable - any hailstone bigger than half an inch can cause significant damage to a roof. Did you know there are different types of hailstone and they can measure from around ¼ inch to just under 5 inches? Each size of hailstone will have a different effect on your roof ranging from some minor scratches to full on substantial damage. Also, hail will behave in different ways depending on the specific climatic conditions at the time; hailstorms often also feature strong winds and heavy rain. Here are some of the different types of hailstone:-
- Pea-sized hail – around ¼ inch in size and shaped like little peas, this type of hail is usually interspersed with rainfall and doesn’t last very long, roof damage is usually very minimal if anything at all
- Marble-sized hail – as the name suggests, these hailstones are about the size of a marble and around ½ inch in size. Surprisingly, even hailstones of this size don’t impact too much on a decent quality roof
- Quarter-sized hail – these hailstones are around ¾ inch in size and will cause damage in the shape of dents and cracks. It is particularly damaging to 3-tab asphalt shingles which tend to be a generally weaker roofing material. They will always need repairing or renewing as although the damage may seem comparatively trivial, it can cause problems with weatherproofing further down the line if not restored
- Golf ball-sized hail – anything over 1” upwards to just short of 5” is called golf ball sized hail and will cause significant damage to even the strongest roof. Cedar shingles are particularly vulnerable to damage from hailstones of this size and even concrete tiles which you might expect to be stronger will not withstand an onslaught from this sort of hail
Hailstones are often not the only problem as they frequently coincide with heavy rain and high winds and so there could be other types of damage to the roof in addition to the impact of hailstones.
What is the best type of roofing material to withstand regular hailstorms?
Within the roofing industry, a hail-resistant roof is generally deemed to be a roof which is able to withstand hailstones 2” or less in diameter without suffering damage. 2” hailstones are roughly the size of a regular chicken’s egg.
Because of the frequency of hail and its destructive properties, there are bespoke roofing products available which can guarantee protection against 2” hailstones and there are some which can withstand hailstones double that size.
All of these products are made of rubber with patented roofing materials all of which offer high protection from hail and decent hail-proof ratings for impact and have long and impressive warranties.
The great thing about rubber is that it can be fashioned into different tiles and shingles so it doesn’t have to look like rubber. Here are some of the choices on offer:-
- Hail-proof slate-look rubber – these products feature a truly realistic slate textured surface and retail at a competitive price point probably sitting between standard asphalt roofing shingles and premium, top dollar roof materials like metal and real slate. There are different ranges of rubber slate look products with some of the most expensive offering the most realistic slate finish. Most of these products carry at least a 20-year warranty for hail of any size and then beyond 20 years, the product reverts to the standard warranty which is for hailstones of 2” or less in diameter for the next 30 years
- Wood shake rubber – with a hand-split appearance, they appear just like traditional wooden shakes but without the usual drawbacks of mold, water and moisture absorption, curling, cracking or warping in hot temperatures
The great thing about these faux slate and wood shake rubber products is that not only do they often retail at less per roof square than the real thing but they repel hail and also avoid many of the hazards traditionally associated with natural slate and wood shake.
Impact resistance is not the same thing as hail resistance
Impact resistance covers things like damage from debris like falling tree branches; a product that is sold as ‘impact resistant’ does not necessarily also repel and protect against hail. Always carefully check the wording on the manufacturer’s warranty and don’t assume that an impact resistant roofing material will garner that desirable discount with your insurance company. Contact your insurer before you purchase roofing material to see if they approve it for hail resistance.
When is roof repair not economically viable and roof replacement a better option?
If the roof is already quite old and the damage is fairly severe in terms of its extent then it might be a better option to put the money towards the cost of a new roof however, the insurance company may not agree with you and only agree to release funds to the value of the repairs that they deem necessary. Nonetheless, you can add to this money and re-roof the house anyway.
If the damage is extensive, i.e.to more than 20% of the roof then it could be time to consider starting again; it also depends if the roof has been affected by high winds and heavy rain which can accompany hailstorms and whether there has also been other types of damage.
Is hail resistant roofing material a good option in certain US locations?
For sure otherwise you are going to have repeated high value hail damage claims with your insurance company and this is going to end up impacting on your premium price. If you want to upgrade your roofing material then here are some of the key factors to consider:-
- What is the frequency of hailstorms in your area?
- Which type of hail-resistant roofing products does your roofer recommend?
- Will your insurer offer you a discount if you use certain types of products or conversely, will they penalise you for repeated claims for less hail resistant products by raising your insurance premium?
When you have found a hail resistant product then consider other aspects of the roofing material which might be important to you namely:-
- Insulating properties
- Aesthetic appearance
- General lifespan and longevity
- Weight of the product in terms of the roof deck
- Eco-friendly credentials so sourced from recycled material and recyclable at the end of its shelf life
Did you know…
There will be a limitation period within which you should make an insurance claim following damage to your roof after a hailstorm after which the claim will not be covered so don’t delay. Also, if you do delay, then your roof could be subject to further storm damage which would not then be covered by your policy.
How to find the right roofing contractor
This should also read, ‘beware of hail damage storm chasers’! It is not unusual for hailstorms to bring an influx of non-local roofing contractors into town chasing work if there are multiple properties damaged. This happened in northeast Columbia after a very severe hailstorm in May 2014. Characterised by fast turnaround times and low prices, your insurance company are going to want to approve the contractor doing the work if they are going to pay for it. It is also not unusual for a percentage of these firms to be offering shoddy or poor workmanship or even be part of a scam.
Try and find a trusted local roofing contractor; if you live in an area prone to hailstorms then you probably already have one or two people that you use all the time.
Any roofing contractor you use should be checked out on the Better Business Bureau where there are online reviews and other information which can help flag up a rogue trader, this might be a constantly changing business address or registered office or possible court hearings.
If you don’t have a friendly roofing contractor then ask around for some recommendations – neighbours, family and work colleagues are a good place to start. Community forums on socials can also put you in touch with local companies but just bear in mind that the people doing the recommending may not be known to you.
Always try to get three quotes from different contractors. Only accept quotations which have been produced following a thorough roof inspection. If your insurance company is footing the bill then they will need to approve your choice of roofing contractor and will often ask for three estimates so they can make their own selection.
What about hail damage and other storm damage?
Hail damage is often not isolated as hailstorms are usually accompanied by high winds and heavy rain so there could be more destruction to your roof than just that caused by hailstones. High winds and heavy rain tend to cause a different type of damage and will lift shingles off and potentially saturate exposed roofing timbers. A roof inspector or insurance company assessor should always expect the roof for all types of damage not just that caused by hailstones.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the main areas in the USA affected by hailstorms?
Not all parts of the US are plagued by hailstorms, the most common locations for damaging hailstorms are all areas from Texas to Washington state, the Midwest, southern Canada and across to Maine and down to Florida. In North America, there is an area called ‘Hail Alley’ which includes the following locations, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, North Carolina and Virginia, Illinois, Alberta and Southern Ontario. If you live in one of these locations then a hail resistant roof is essential.
Do some home insurers offer discounts if you use roofing materials on your home which are certified to be hail-resistant?
Not all insurers will offer a premium discount for hail friendly roofing materials but some do. In certain states, insurance cover for damage from hailstones is mandatory and insurers will stipulate the products that they will accept as roofing material.
What about the eco-credentials of rubber hail-resistant roofing products?
Some of the rubber materials used for hail resistant roofing are made from over 90% recycled rubber. Talk to your roofing contractor if you want to find a product that is environmentally friendly and good for the planet.
Why repair hail damage if it doesn’t look that serious?
Hail damage will speed up the process of wear and tear on the roof and shorten its lifespan; just a few hailstorms can take a significant chunk of lifespan off the roofing shingles if you don’t restore the roof after each storm. You may also find that failure to repair or restore the roof can impact subsequent insurance claims.
What is the biggest impact on the cost of repairing a hail damaged roof?
Two things, the type of hail damage inflicted and its extent plus the nature of the roofing material to be replaced. Some of the most expensive roofing material like natural slate or ceramic tiles is also the most vulnerable to impact damage from severe hail so if you have this type of roofing then it could be time to consider switching to a rubber, hail resistant product. There are plenty of options which will give you the look that you want for your home.
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