What Size Hail Can Damage a Roof | Xterior LLC

What Size Hail Can Damage a Roof

Hail can crack shingles and dent metal roofs
Read Time: 4 minutes
Oct 10, 2022

Hail causes billions of dollars of damage each year. Even the largest of hailstones may not seem very big, but they can cause damage that seems disproportionate to their size when you take into account how fast they’re falling from the sky. While some of the most readily visible hail damage is dents on cars and broken windows, hail can cause a lot of damage to a roof.

How Much Damage Can Hail Cause?

different size hailstones next to a measuring tape on the grass

The amount of damage that hail can cause to your roof depends on the size of the hail. The smallest sizes of hail may not be large enough to cause much damage at all, while larger hailstones can wreak havoc.

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

Typically, hail larger than one inch or larger can damage your roof.

¾” Hail

¾” is the smallest hail that is typically measured. It’s not an inch in size, so it doesn’t cause a lot of damage on its own, but if it’s accompanied by high-speed winds, it can be problematic. On your roof, metal fascia might get damaged by ¾” hail. This size of hail could also damage vinyl siding, deck paint, and window screens. You may also notice granules from your shingles in your gutters and downspouts or on the ground below your roof.

Why is shingle granule loss a problem?

The granules on your shingles are the protective outer layer. Without them, the interior of the shingle is exposed and is at risk of further damage.

1″ Hail

Hail that is an inch in diameter is usually the threshold at which you’d expect roof damage to happen. At this size, hail can cause more significant damage to siding as well as to your roof. You could start to see damage to the underlayment of your roof, cracked shingles, and shingles missing altogether. You could also see damage to your gutters.

1¼” Hail

Hail of this size is large enough to cause damage without the aid of high-speed winds. You could see dents in a metal roof or cracked shingles. You might also see cracks and dents in your shingles. It does take larger hail to start to damage a metal roof than it does for a shingle roof.

1½” – 1¾” Hail

As hail increases in size, it has the potential to cause severe damage to your roof, especially if it’s accompanied by strong winds, which can give hail of any size extra speed. If you see that hail is 1½” or higher, you could start seeing significant damage to your roof, the siding on your house, and anything on the outside of your house.

2″ Hail

At the 2″ point, hail can start to damage roof vents and ridge caps and penetrate into the underlayment and other, softer, parts of the roof that the metal or shingles are meant to protect. This is because metal fixtures on your roof that help to keep your roof sealed against the weather can get damaged, which would expose the inner parts of your roof to the risk of water damage.

How do I know that I have hail damage?

If you see 2″ hail, then there definitely is damage of some kind. Hail of this size can cause harm to any type of roof, even more durable ones like metal.

What Kind of Damage Can Hail Cause?

The exact kind of damage hail can cause depends on the type of roof you have.

How Can Hail Damage a Metal Roof?

A metal roof, for example, can get dented, or the fastenings that hold the metal sheets together or to your roof could get damaged, exposing the underlayment.

How Can Hail Damage a Shingle Roof?

a shingle roof with marked hail damage circled in chalk by a professional roofer

If you have a shingle roof, then smaller hail could cause your shingles to lose granules, exposing the inner asphalt. Hail of larger sizes could crack shingles or could cause them to fall off the roof altogether.

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