Hailstones form around water droplets, particles of dust and other nuclei floating in the air where there are freezing temperatures. They grow in size as they pick up more moisture from water vapor and rain. The amount of destruction hailstones cause is largely dependent on their size, the altitude from which they fall and the speed of the wind that carries them. Your roofing system may be hit by hailstones of different sizes at speeds ranging from 20 miles per hour (mph) to 100 mph – and possibly higher.
The amount of damage your roof suffers when it’s hit by hail depends on several factors.
Size, Shape and Density
Tiny hailstones might not cause much damage outright, but those that are bigger than 1.2 inches are the most destructive. When hail is driven by high winds, they can puncture roofs that are near the end or past their prime. Hailstones with sharp edges are particularly dangerous.
Although pea-sized hailstones are considered lighter and less damaging, they can still cause damage to certain roofs, such as those with multi-layered shingles. Any roof exposed to plenty of pea-sized hailstones for a long time can suffer leaks. If you’re in the market for a new roof, it’s advisable to ask contractors about materials that perform better against hailstorms.
An old roof is more likely to suffer damage from hail than a newer one. If your roof is properly maintained, it has a higher likelihood of surviving a hailstorm than a poorly maintained or neglected roof.
The intensity of the wind that accompanies the hailstones also has a lot to do with how much damage your roof sustains. High winds are the most damaging of all as they strongly influence the velocity as well as the angle of the hailstones’ impact.
If your home is the only tall structure in the area when a hailstorm hits, nothing will shield your roof from impact. If there are trees, fences, landscaping, other buildings and other neighboring structures around your home, they can help protect your roof from hail.