Where you live, you’ve probably experienced harmless small hail that melts so quickly when it stops that there is practically nothing left on the ground. It doesn’t break windows, or even scratch the finish on a car; and it certainly doesn’t hurt your roof. They fall at about 29 fps (feet per second) and even at that speed don’t have enough mass to hurt you.
Those that are the size of a nickel are basically pretty harmless, too, though they can play havoc with your flowerbeds and with farmer’s crops. Aside from those problems, they’re still pretty innocuous and unless your roof is near the end of its lifetime, your house can shrug off their effects easily. They do have enough energy to sting when they hit bare skin.
The biggest hailstone ever recovered and recorded in this country, was 8 inches across and had a circumference of more than 18½ inches. It weighed an amazing 2 pounds. It hailed (pun intended) from Vivian, South Dakota, landing in late June of 2010—but they don’t need to be nearly that big to be dangerous.
A 4 inch hailstone falls at about 157 feet per second, or 108 mph. It would have the mass and speed of the very best professional baseball pitch, but be even faster than the current world record holder, Aroldis Chapman, at 106 mph. Imagine hundreds of Chapmans floating over your house and throwing their best pitch over and over again. Nothing could stand up to that.
Fortunately, that is an extremely rare occurrence. You’re much more likely to experience something of a more conventional size that causes damage rather than utter destruction.
The criterion for a severe thunderstorm, with hail occurs when hail reaches 1 inch in diameter. Now ordinarily, one inch hail falling directly out of the sky, would just be annoying if they were still slushy, resembling a little snowball, rather than a missile. The problem arises when you add in the wind factor. The updraft, anywhere from 40 to 100 mph, in a thunderstorm suspends the pellets and they grow bigger and bigger, and then form a hard icy shell (left image). If they just agglomerate (right image), they have air spaces, aren’t as strong, and spread out their energy when they strike something, doing less damage. In either case, once the updraft can no longer support them, they fall.
You’ve probably heard that a fleck of paint shed from a satellite travelling in orbit at 17,000 mph (like the International Space Station) has enough kinetic energy to blast right through another satellite traveling at a considerably different speed. Hail is sort of like that, too. The pellets are already falling very fast, but when you add energy of crosswinds they can become highly destructive, decimating your vinyl siding and windows.
At just 30–39 miles per hour it becomes difficult to walk against the wind; by the time it hits 40–54 miles per hour, twigs are breaking off trees, and you cannot walk against it. Once you get into the 55–72 mph range, chimneys are starting to take damage and shallow rooted trees are being pushed over. From 73–112 mph, old roofs start to peel off, windows start to break, mobile homes start to move or overturn, and moving cars are pushed off the road. At 113-157 mph, roofs are torn off houses and cars are lifted right off the ground.
Imagine all that energy concentrated into thousands of little tiny ice- balls, battering your car, your roof, and your body, if you can’t find shelter.
If your shingles stand up to the battering and prevent actual penetration of your roof, you’re still not out of the woods. The superficial surface damage is almost always magnified where you cannot see it. These two examples of typical damage might be easily overlooked if you’re surveying from the ground. These are not happy little smiles secretly pleased with having weathered the storm. They’re the leftover malicious grins of the hailstones and Mother Nature, celebrating the fact that they have found a way into your domain.
From a practical standpoint even a 100-year-old person with failing eyesight could recognize this as significant, home-threatening damage. The sheer number of marks is cause for concern. At every point where the granules are missing, the asphalt is exposed and can begin to rot in the UV light from the sun.
Any divot in your roof, no matter how small, is a threat to its structural integrity. Once there is a pathway for water to enter your roof structure, be assured that it will enter your roof structure.
In the following example you can see the surface damage to a single shingle. When we cut it away and turn it over so that we can examine the backside, suddenly the threat becomes clear.
What appears to be minor damage is actually an easy route for water to get inside your home. And that is why you need to have your roof inspected after a hailstorm.
If your home or business has experienced hail lately, this would be the perfect time to click here and schedule a free inspection. Just because you cannot see a problem doesn’t mean the damage isn’t there. Worse, if you can see damage, its impact (pun intended) is usually much worse.
Besides, you probably don’t want to be surprised in the middle of a rainstorm with water running down the living room wall, or more insidiously, black mold gradually appearing on your ceiling, requiring an entire roof replacement. In the worst case scenario, when it has penetrated so thoroughly into the structure that it can’t be cleaned, demolition of the house is required because it is too toxic for people to live in.
That is why it is important to have an inspection after a significant hail-event. It’s always better to replace a few damaged shingles now than to face a massive expense in the future, right?
And, as everybody knows, CREST Exteriors is your trustworthy roofing expert. We have fair prices, top-quality materials, excellent workmanship, and we always leave your property sparkling clean when the job is finished. Give us a call today and let us help you protect you most valuable asset!
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