Hail can be a huge pain for homeowners. In 2020, there were 4,611 major hailstorms, and State Farm alone paid out over $3.1 billion in hail claims. But how can hail damage a home, and what are the signs to look out for? Plus, what should your homebuyers know about buying a home in an area where hail is common? Here's what you should know.
How Can Hail Damage Affect a Home?
Hail damage can affect pretty much the entire exterior surface of a home and can lead to bigger problems if not promptly repaired.
While the hardest to observe, the roof usually bears the brunt of the impact. Hail can bruise, dent, puncture, or crack roofing, compromising its ability to keep water out of a home. As a result, leaks can occur and cause extensive water damage. Further, unrepaired damage, like lost shingle granules on an asphalt roof, can cause a roof to age faster than normal, leading to the need for an earlier replacement.
Along with damage to the roof, a home's siding can also fall victim to dents, cracks, holes, buckling, and warping. While aluminum and wood are more prone to dents, vinyl is more likely to crack, chip, warp, or buckle. Either way, siding damage gives moisture an opportunity to get into the walls of a home which can lead to mold, rot, and mildew. Additionally, it allows air to seep in and out, causing drafts and difficulty controlling a home's internal temperature.
Windows and Gutters
Hail can also fracture window panes and damage window seals, allowing air and moisture to seep through. The consequences can be higher heating and cooling costs and mold or mildew growth inside a home's walls. Additionally, gutters and downspouts will often be dented and could be knocked loose.
Overall, a hail storm can be similar to throwing marbles, golf balls, or even baseballs at a home over and over. The exterior often takes a beating that leaves the interior vulnerable to the elements. Being so, it's important to make repairs as needed after each hail storm.
Signs of Hail Damage
Where should you look for signs of hail damage? Here are the telltale signs:
Rain gutters and downspouts: Dents, dings, or detached gutters. They can also become clogged due to shingle granules coming off the roof.
Windows: Windows may be dented, chipped, cracked, or broken. Also, look for fog between the panes, moisture on the window sills, drafts coming through the frames, and holes in the window frames or siding.
Siding: Siding could have dents, oxidation marks, holes, cracks, warping, or buckling.
Roofing: Asphalt and composition shingles may have black divots that are soft when you touch them, lost granules, and shingle damage you can see. Wood shingles may have impact marks or dents and splits that are brownish orange.
Deck: Look for dings, dents, and cracks on deck areas.
Water damage: If the hail damage has gone untreated, you may see signs of leaks, rot, mold, or mildew inside the home.
Chances are, if you are seeing signs of hail damage on the siding, deck, rain gutters, or windows, you are also going to find significant damage to the roof. In that case, it's probably going to be a good idea to get a roof inspection.
How to Minimize Damages from Hail
The best way to minimize the damages hail can cause to a home? Stay on top of home maintenance. Ensure the roof, siding, windows, and flashing are in good condition at all times. When a hail storm does hit, homeowners should assess and repair any damages as soon as possible. The good news is that homeowner's insurance will typically cover the damage from hail.
The not-so-good news? Not all homeowners stay on top of investigating potential hail damage after a storm. Being so, hail can lead to damages in homes you are trying to help clients buy. When a client is considering a home purchase in an area subject to hail storms, advise them of the signs of damage and how to keep their home protected in the future.
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