For the average person in Saskatchewan, monitoring the weather goes well beyond a curious interest. It’s the content of most conversations and is tied directly to the farming community.
As a homeowner, you may also take an interest in the weather. Homeowners across the province become well acquainted with the level of damage mother nature can dish out in a short time period. In Saskatchewan, hail and wind are two of the most dominant forms of weather damage to homes during the summer.
If you’ve recently been through a hail storm, how would you know if your roof needs repair? There are signs and indications you can look for to know if your home was damaged and how urgently you need to address the problem.
Without getting overly technical, the shingles on your home will typically have a fiberglass mat as its base. Then an asphalt coating is applied on top. Lastly a layer of granules (small colored rocks). The fiberglass mat is the “structure” of the shingle. So long as it stays in good shape, your shingles will continue to shed water. When this matting is damaged (by hail or other situations) the integrity of your shingles will be compromised.
The granules on top of your shingle are a functional part of the shingle in that they shield the asphalt layer below it from the sun, reflect heat, add color, and provide fire resistance. Almost a third of your shingle weight comes from granules!
Granules are best compared to the tires on your car. They are designed to wear. Your shingles will gradually lose their granule covering, just like your tires slowly lose their tread over time. After a large storm, you may be shocked and concerned to find granules in your gutters and on your lawn. So long as the fiberglass matting underneath the granules hasn’t been compromised, the granules did their job protecting your shingles from damage.
HAAG (the leading engineers in roof research in North America) conducted a 15-year study in which shingles were impacted with hail just aggressive enough to dislodge the granules but not expose the asphalt and matting on impact. They found that this wear did not affect the serviceability of the shingle as it was not functionally damaged.
So what does hail damage look like?
Assess the rest of your home
Before getting on a ladder, one of the easiest ways to see if there may be damage to your roof is to look at different areas of your home. Look at your downspouts, metal flashing, a/c unit fins, and other softer metals. Hail will leave dent marks in these metals. The larger the dent, the more aggressive the hail. Your fence or decking may also give you an indication as to how aggressive the hail was. Hail can chip paint and on older fences create a “splatter” look as it cleans off areas of the wood that have been oxidized or are dirty.
If you see damage like this around your home, there’s a good chance you’ll want to take a look at your roof too. If you aren’t comfortable on a roof it is recommended you hire a professional to perform an inspection for you. However, hail damage can often be seen from the ladder without even getting onto the roof.
Your shingles will have suffered functional damage if they can no longer shed water. Hail has the potential to fracture the shingle mat and compromise its integrity. Functional damage to a shingle is very noticeable and can be felt through the top or bottom of the shingle with your finger. This is because the structure will have been fractured.
If hail has damaged your roof, one of the best indicators will be black circular markings on your roof. This is because the hail stone has driven beyond the granules and has exposed the black asphalt backing below it. In every case, the granules will be driven into the shingle where the black mark is. If there are black circular markings on your roof but you don’t see granules driven into the roof, this will be a different form of damage and not caused by hail.
Areas like the ridge cap or valleys on your roof will be more susceptible to damage as they will be less supported structurally than shingles lying flat on your roof.
If you’re inspecting your roof, take a look at any roof vents or gas vents you may have. These can also help you understand how aggressive the hail was.
If you would like to learn more about functional damage issues, we would encourage you to visit www.haageducation.com for more information.
As mentioned before, if you’re not comfortable with being on a roof, or perhaps unsure if what you are looking at would be considered functional damage, be sure to consult with a professional.