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How big does hail need to be to damage a roof?

Should you panic every time you hear hail clinking on your roof? The short answer is no. Hail can be a pretty common occurrence depending on what part of the country you live in. Colorado, along with Wyoming and Nebraska, is part of what’s known as the “hail alley”. You can expect to see seven to nine hail storms a year from April to August, with the majority of intense hail storms arriving in June and July.

 

If you’re a homeowner, it’s hard to not worry about hail damage every time you see those dark clouds looming and hear the pattering on your roof. The most important thing to consider when worrying about hail damage is the size of the hailstones. Hailstone sizes are broken down below into commonly accepted categories comparing them to familiar items to help you get a gauge on when to be concerned.

 

¼” or pea sized hail is the most common type to fall in Colorado and is generally nothing to be concerned with as far as your roof goes. Cosmetic damage in the form of dings and dents on your roof is quite common with this type of hail, but it usually does not result in functional damage. So that’s great news, you can breathe a sigh of relief! You will not need to replace your roof every time pea sized hail starts to fall.

½” also known as marble or mothball sized hail is almost as common as pea sized hail. If you have a sturdy roof then you probably have nothing to fear from this type of hail. However, if you have been putting off repairs or postponing replacing your roof for a while, then you should definitely consider getting your roof inspected.

¾” to 1¼” is referred to as coin sized hail, ranging from pennies to half dollars. While the smaller hailstones typically strike roofs at slower speeds, coin sized hailstones start to pick up falling at rates of up to 25 to 50 mph, which can ding up your roof. On first glance, these small cracks and dents don’t look very serious, but they can lead to bigger more costly problems down the road. With that in mind, you’ll definitely want to get your roof examined after one of these storms.

1¼” to 4” includes the ping pong to softball sized hail. You can be darn near 100% sure that hail of this size will damage your roof. Hail on the larger end of this category can reach speeds of up to nearly 100 mph; that’s crazy right? These sorts of hailstones can result in shattered, punctured, or penetrated shingles and will without doubt result in further damage to your home without repair. Any hail storms of this magnitude should be followed up with a professional inspection

So to recap, small hail up to ½” or pea sized falls slower and is less likely to damage a roof than larger hail, although they might leave some cosmetic damage behind. Hailstones ¾” and larger start falling in the category of concern, and anything above 1¼” will most definitely cause functional damage to your roof and require work. If you notice damage to your roof but aren’t confident in deciding whether it’s cosmetic or functional don’t hesitate to schedule a free inspection!

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