It’s estimated that hail causes as much as $1 billion dollars – or more – in damage to property and farm crops every year. If you’re in Indiana, Illinois or any surrounding state, you’re most likely familiar with the impact that hail has on property.
Hailstorms can shatter windows, damage the building’s exterior and, most important, destroy or damage the roof. If your commercial building is in the Midwest it’s likely to be in a hailstorm at some point and when that happens, damage may occur. Even a relatively minor hailstorm can compromise the watertight integrity of your commercial roofing system.
Inspect for Hail Damage
After a hail event (or any other significant weather event), you should at a minimum conduct a visual inspection of your roof. You may see cracks, fractures, indentations and/or membrane punctures that are clear evidence of damage – and those issues need to be addressed immediately.
But not all hail damage may be so visible. Less-obvious damage can lead to roof leaks and failure well into the future. If you notice interior ceiling or wall discoloration or water dripping without an obvious source, it could be the result of a long-forgotten hailstorm.
Even if leaks don’t appear, hail can weaken the roofing membrane, which will shorten its life expectancy. Also consider the impact on underlying insulation. Hail can cause Insulation to dent and the facer to separate from its interior section. This can cause the roof membrane on top to become unsupported, adding stresses and decreasing its strength and ability to resist future problems.
Beware of Long-Term Damage
Depending on the type of commercial roofing system on your building, hail can weaken the attachment or adhesive bond between the membrane and the insulation, which may worsen over time. Months or years later, an extreme weather event could lead to a complete detachment of the membrane; the cause could have been the initial hail damage.
So, whether there are leaks or obvious signs of hail damage make sure your commercial roof continues providing watertight protection by contacting Sentry Roofing for a professional inspection. Sentry specializes in commercial and industrial roofing system inspection, repair, and installation. We can identify all types of rooftop damage and if there is a loss, will work with you and your insurance company to determine an appropriate, cost-effective course of action.
Here are some FAQs that customers often ask regarding hailstorms and their impact on commercial roofs.
What size hail can damage my commercial roof?
This depends on the type, condition and age of the roof, wind speed and direction, intensity of the storm as the shape of the hailstones. Even if the size of the hail is small, sharp hail and concentration of stones can cause significant damage. We have seen roof damage from ¾” hail and no significant problems from 4” hailstones.
On average, 1” hailstones are considered big enough to damage some commercial roofing systems, depending on the age of the roof, type of substrate and overall roof condition. Larger sized hail will, of course, create more significant issues.
Metal roofs are generally very resistant to hail but can be dented (like automobiles). Insurance may or may not cover a claim for dented metal roofs as some carriers determine denting to be cosmetic damage only, not covered under the policy.
Ballasted roofing materials are nearly impervious to hail unless they are nearing the end of their useful life. Sprayed foam roofs are highly susceptible to hail damage and require an immediate inspection following a hailstorm. Strikes from hailstorms can break through blisters or ridges in modified bitumen or built up roof systems.
Other membrane roofing systems (like PVC or TPO) can be resistant, but the extent of hail damage can be a factor of the thickness of the membrane’s top film layer, density of the center scrim, age of the membrane and the rigidity of the substrate.
What are the signs of roof hail damage?
After a hailstorm of any magnitude you should visually inspect your roof or have it evaluated by a professional.
New dents and/or divots on the roof following a hailstorm are a clear sign of hail impacts and possible damage. Hail can also scuff the surface, creating “cleaner” areas on membranes or bare spots on roofs with granular surfaces. Other signs of possible hail damage are tears, cracks or material that has been deformed or stretched in spots.
Hail can also cause damage that you don’t notice right away. Thin cracks and delamination of materials can be difficult to see until the roof weathers significantly. If there’s no visible damage to the roofing material, check your AC unit, coping metal, gutters, flashings and vent covers for dents, indicating that a severe hailstorm has potentially compromised your roof.
A four power jeweler’s loupe or magnifying glass may be helpful in discovering small fractures from hail impact. This is important as even small fractures will shorten the life expectancy of the roof and may result in leaks in the future.
Again, if you notice any concerns during the visual inspection, call the professionals at Sentry Roofing for a comprehensive assessment.
When does hail damage mandate roof replacement?
This largely depends on the age of your current roof and the condition of the material it’s made from. A single storm can cause enough damage to require replacement, especially if the roof is already at risk due to age or other factors. For example, an older membrane roof may be more brittle and less resilient to smaller sized hail.
Our inspectors will provide an honest assessment of any damage so that you can make the best decision for your building and business. If repairs are all that are needed we can complete that work for you.
However, if constant repairs become more expensive than getting a new roof, or your roof is aging to the point where another weather event could cause significant problems, it makes more sense to replace it. Don’t let an unreliable roof damage building structure, threaten inventory or equipment or compromise the safety of staff and visitors.
If roof replacement is needed, the first choice for commercial roofing needs is the Duro-Last roofing system. Since 1978, Duro-Last has manufactured prefabricated PVC commercial roofing solutions that are customized to the specific needs of each rooftop.
Sentry Roofing has installed Duro-Last commercial roofing systems for thirty four years and has received awards for the quality of our workmanship and installation volume since 1988. We are one of the largest contractors in the nation for Duro-Last, with successful installations in 39 states and over 40 million square feet installed.
Some manufacturers, including Duro-Last, offer optional hail protection warranties. Depending on your location and weather patterns, a hail warranty may be a consideration for you.
How does insurance work with respect to commercial roof hail damage?
Hail is a fairly frequent event in our part of the country and most commercial property insurance policies cover hail or storm events. Don’t wait until after a hailstorm to review your policy to verify hail damage is covered. Even if hail is covered, not all policies are the same.
Cosmetic damage, such as dented metal, is covered by some policies and not others. Insurance companies also differ in how much damage they require to consider a roof in need of replacement. This can be based on type of damage or number of hail strikes in (for example) a 10’ by 10’ area. You should also make sure that your deductible is set at a level you are comfortable with.
After a hail event, addressing the rooftop situation sooner rather than later gives you a better chance at making a successful insurance claim. It may be hard to prove that the damage was caused by the hailstorm if you don’t have documented proof in a reasonable time frame following the event. Work with your insurance company claims department to begin the process following a storm. It’s handled just like any other covered event, including the application of your deductible.
Can Sentry Roofing help with my insurance claim?
Yes, we regularly work with insurance companies to help our clients obtain satisfactory results with their claims. We can help you with documentation for them and we’ll meet insurance adjusters on the roof to help them identify damage and resolve the claim. Over the Sentry Roofing representatives have met with hundreds of insurance professionals.
In our experience, most insurance companies treat customers fairly. However, it helps to have an experienced contractor help deal with the details and to make sure the adjuster understands the full extent of the damage done to your roof and rooftop equipment.
When it comes to hail damage to your commercial roofing system, the age and condition impact the extent of the damages and the cost to repair them. Sometimes, it makes more sense to replace an aging roof with one made of more durable materials that can withstand hail and other significant weather events.
As commercial roofing experts, the pros at Sentry Roofing have a trained eye when it comes to finding hail damage on the roof of your commercial building. Let us help you get the best solution for your roof.
Visit SentryRoofing.com for more information on our services and the products we offer to commercial building owners and facilities managers. We look forward to serving you!No schema found.