Current events: The recent hail storm - May 2017
This hail was large, but pea sized hail can also cause damage (to cedar siding, trim, screens, etc.) Normally it takes ping pong ball sized hail to damage a roof. Concrete tile roofs can usually take baseball sized hail before being damaged. If a roof is old and nearing the end of it’s life expectancy, even marble sized hail can cause damage.
Different shingle types will vary in the amount of damage they receive. 3-tab shingles are rated for 20 year & 25 year life expectancy. T-lock shingles are no longer available, but there are still a lot of T-lock roofs around (if you have a T-Lock roof, 1 damaged shingle warrants a full replacement. The most common roofs today are architectural, laminated shingles in 30 year, 40 year & 50 year ratings. Medium and heavy wood shake shingles typically have a life expectancy of approximately 29 years. However, the older the shingles, the more damage they are subject to. There are also stone coated steel; concrete tile and clay tile roofs. Class “4” shingles are rated “Impact resistant” and will cost more, but they are much more resistant to hail “impact” damage. The “payback” is usually somewhere around 3 years.
Insurance companies vary on the requirements to “total” a roof. The insurance adjuster will do “test squares” (100 square feet) and will count the number of damaged shingles “hits” in that test square. The repair vs. replacement amount of damage will vary from from 6 – 10-12 hits/square for an asphalt shingle and up to 25-30 for shake shingles. When inspecting wood shakes we look for fresh “splits” in conjunction with the impact mark of the hail, and the inspection requires inspecting EVERY shingle in the test square. Repairs/replacement may be made by a “slope by slope” determination.
Tile roofs are easy to repair and do not necessarily have to be replaced. Some roofers will explain that tile roofs are very difficult to repair and should be replaced. (Google “Tile roof repairs” by Haag Engineering for a better explanation) Custom Tile Roofing here in Englewood can match almost any type of tile required. Many times the lower corners of the tile are broken, but not necessarily by hail and sometimes must be determined by the collateral damage. If you have a tile roof, DO NOT let anyone walk on the roof UNLESS they are tile certified and know how to walk on tiles without breaking them. Concrete tile roofs and shake shingle roofs are totally different in the method to walk on the shingles without doing damage, as is stone coated steel.
When looking for hail damage to asphalt / fiberglass shingles we look for “bruising”. The impact of the hail will “dent” the shingle and will embed granules into the matt and also remove granules (granule loss in gutters or at the discharge of the downspouts, is not necessarily a sign of damage – granule loss is a natural part of the aging process).
Watch out for “storm chasers” – use a local contractor. If you have a leak a year from now, who do you call? AND, do not pay until the job is complete!!!
Starts on the roof by looking at the soft metal surfaces, the hip and ridge shingles, and then the slopes. The metal surfaces can give you an idea of the size of the hail. The hip and ridge shingles are the most susceptible to damage. If minor damage to the soft metal, and minimal or no visible damage to the hip and ridge singles, there may not be any damage to the roof. However, sometimes there CAN be damage that is not visible and it may be necessary to make a determination by the amount of collateral damage. Most policies allow for a re-inspection – wait for several months and let the roof go through several weather cycles, and then call for a re-inspection.
When inspecting the exterior, walk around the house and check screens, window frames, glazing bead, siding, exterior lights, garage door, shutters (actually manipulate the shutter), and don’t forget the mailbox.
Be aware that most policies do not pay to match. If the siding is damaged on only one or two elevations, they will usually pay to repair / replace the siding on THE damaged side, but will not pay to wrap the house.
One thing to remember is that the adjuster can be your friend, or he can “hurry” the inspection. Be cordial and treat him like a professional. Hopefully, you will get an experienced adjuster, but if he is a rookie and does not have experience, you can always call for a re-inspection.
When I was working CAT work, our contract required us to work 7-12 hour days for the duration. When a person is working 90 – 100 hours a week, they may not appreciate any hassles. Remember the re-inspection.
When a storm of this magnitude hits, there are literally thousands and thousands of claims and it may take a while before the adjuster can get to you. But, that doesn’t mean he isn’t doing his best. He has a LOT of people to try to accommodate.
As far as myself, after spending 15 years of 12+ hour days and being on the road for months at a time, I decided it was time to start sleeping in my own bed. And, after 23 years as a home builder and another 15 years of inspecting homes, becoming a home inspector was a natural.
Feel free to call me if you have any questions. I’m always glad to help.
Bud Monk - (303-981-6699) – A-1 Quality Home Inspections, Inc.