Hail is one of the most destructive common weather phenomena out there. Sure, tornadoes, hurricanes, and floods pack a bigger punch, but these aren’t daily occurrences in most parts of the world. Hail, however, can happen anywhere, seemingly out of nowhere. These chunks of ice, which can range from the size of sand grains, all the way up to golf balls or even worse, can wreak untold havoc on your property. We all know the damage this can do to your car, but a lot of people don’t realize that it can be just as destructive to your roof.

When you have a nasty hail storm, it pays to know how to determine how badly-damaged your roof is, so you can get with your insurance company, and a roofing repair provider right away. Every second the integrity of your roof is compromised, the damage worsens, and the elements can additionally damage your home. Your resale value and curb appeal will plummet, and as this damage worsens, the repair becomes more expensive and time-consuming.

Today, we’re going to learn about the factors that affect the damage hail can cause, and the effects that it can have on the most common roofing types in use. This so very important, so take heed!


First, let’s take a look at the factors that affect the impact hail can have on your roof. Like any other weather phenomenon, it’s somewhat complex and somewhat unpredictable.

  • Size/Density – This is the most obvious one. The size and density of hailstones directly affect the amount of damage they can inflict. Size alone isn’t the only concern, because if the structure of stone is especially pithy or lose, it’s basically an exceptionally hard snowball. This would hurt if it fell on you but probably wouldn’t do much to a roof. Similarly, very small, hard hailstones lack the inertia to deliver a strong enough impact to damage things but would sting when hitting you. The right ratio of size and density, however, can make for very damaging results (and when striking you, could even kill you).
  • Materials – All building materials in use in the modern world are designed to absorb some amount of impact from wind, debris, and of course hail. However, depending on the physical structure of the material, it can be easier for persistent hail to inflict damage. Materials like aluminum siding and gutters can be pretty easily dented by or cracked, and wood shake likes to split if the impact hits the surface just right. Asphalt shingles are among the more resilient materials in the face of hail, but they can crack, split, or buckle if the impacts are bad enough, and the shingle old enough.
  • Barriers – Location relative to other things can diminish the impact of hail. Trees, neighboring structures and the like can absorb a lot of the onslaught, depending on the direction of the wind carrying the hail. However, this can have secondary problems, especially in the case of trees, as stones can bring limbs down on your roof.
  • Wind Direction – Wind direction can affect hail as well. In some cases, very horizontal winds can slow the descent of hail to an extent, which can be beneficial – that is, if this horizontal wind doesn’t itself damage your roof. However, sometimes a very vertical impact is less damaging than an angled one, as angled impacts can be absorbed less effectively, and the stones can strike against the edging of shingles, chipping them, or even lifting them up.

What Hail Damage Looks like

Different roofing materials can manifest hail damage in different ways, as we alluded to a moment ago. We’re going to look at what the two most common shingles (asphalt/composition and wood) do when damaged in this way.

Asphalt/Composition Shingles

  • Especially dark areas (coating loss).
  • Soft, bruised areas (similar to bruised fruit).
  • Granule loss, exposing the underlayers.
  • Randomized damage.
  • Shiny mat (loss of coating).

Wood Shingles

  • Dents and splits.
  • Sharp corners/edges from splits.
  • Randomized damage.
  • Brown/orange discoloration.
  • Splintering.

It’s important to note that there are various types of shingle damage that can be mistaken for hail damage upon a superficial glance. The normal wear and tear of shingles follow a similar pattern of visible signs, though in most cases, this sort of decay will show a pattern that spreads not dissimilar to an infection from an initial weak spot.

Don’t wait for hail to surprise you, fill out our contact form today to learn more!