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Flat Roofs & Hail Damage: Signs To Look Out For

Written by Brendan Conner

On March 8, 2021
Hail to the palm

In a single year, there were more than 5,000 major hailstorms across the country, wreaking havoc everywhere they turn up.

Hail storms often come on suddenly and can leave just as quickly. This makes it easy to dismiss the storm as minor and forget to check for areas of hail damage across your property. Especially when it comes to inspecting the roof since it’s not always accessible, it’s easy to talk yourself into believing there are no problems until it’s too late.

And to make things even more difficult, hail damage is easily hidden and hard to detect. Luckily for you, this is a full guide to help you inspect your flat roof for hail damage to avoid major problems.

1. Inspect the Surrounding Area

It’s not completely necessary to climb on your roof immediately following every hail storm you experience. You can look for signs down below before venturing up the ladder.

Once the storm is over, look around your property for signs of hail damage in the landscaping, outdoor living areas, or even vehicles. Chances are if the hail was strong enough to damage your roof, there will be other items that are damaged as well. This helps you avoid unnecessary trips to the roof that could be dangerous.

Pay particular attention to flat surfaces that mimic the shape of your roof, like the hood of a car for example. If these areas have small dents or cracks, it’s definitely worth looking into the situation on the roof.

2. Visible Dents to Flashings

A lesser thought of aspect of detecting hail damage on a flat roof is double-checking all of the flashings. Flashings are the thin metal barriers that roofers use to bridge the gap between the roof and any vertical object on the roof, like a chimney.

When the flashing is damaged by the hail, it’s usually very obvious and the dents can be seen on inspection.

These dents can also be a sign that the membrane is damaged underneath as well. If no damage is seen on the metal, most likely the roofing membrane isn’t damaged either.

As you check your flashings, make sure there hasn’t been any damage to the edges that would allow water to run in. The sealing points are the most critical to keep an eye on as the damage can often be missed.

3. Look for Blisters

One of the ways hail can damage flat roofs is by leaving blisters on the membrane. These are small indentations that can often go unnoticed because they are easily hidden. On some types of roofing, like TPO, blisters are small, round marks.

Blisters are a tricky kind of damage first because they are hard to spot and second because they look so unassuming. It’s a minor impression that looks mostly cosmetic. But they can become a major problem if left unattended. The impression is a weak spot that will be more prone to spreading as it’s exposed to more over time.

When the blister spreads it can become a hole or a crack that we talked about earlier, which is why they must be caught early to avoid those problems!

4. Damaged Insulation Board

When most people do a roof inspection for hail damage, they typically stick to the surface. That’s where most of the damage can be seen, therefore, it’s where most of the effort is put.

But forgetting to check the membrane and insulation board can be a major mistake.

These are crucial areas of the roof’s structure and functionality, if they’ve been compromised you might be looking at more major problems down the road. Hail damage can particularly have a big effect on how well the membrane can adhere to the other roofing materials.

5. Don’t Forget Interior Signals

Roof damage isn’t only visible from the top, it trickles down into the interior as well. Sometimes very literally.

After a major hailstorm in your area, keep an eye out for any signs of room damage from the interior as well. This would include light coming in where there aren’t skylights, water leaking through the ceiling, or visible dents.

leaky roof is the most important sign you’re looking for as it often means the most serious problems. Unfortunately, if you’re already noticing water inside your home where it’s not supposed to be you’re likely in need of some major repairs. So the sooner you can catch those issues, the better.

The effect of hail on a flat roof often extends to the interior of the home so it has to be inspected as well.

6. Call in the Professional

Looking for signs of hail damage on a roof can be an intimidating process, especially when you’re not quite sure what you’re looking for. The damage can show up in so many forms, you don’t want to miss it and deal with the negative consequences later.

This is why so many property owners decide to call in the experts after a major hailstorm or if they suspect there could be damage.

A professional roofer has the experience and knowledge (not to mention the tools) necessary to locate any hail damage quickly and efficiently. You don’t have to worry if something went undetected and you don’t have to get on the roof. They’ll handle the whole thing for you with their free inspection services!

Signs Your Roof Has Hail Damage

It can feel scary or intimidating to go looking for hail damage, especially on your roof. But it’s an important step to take to make sure everything continues to work properly and you’re not left with a big problem.

Catching hail damage early sets you up to be able to resolve any issues before they expand to other areas, becoming more dangerous and costly along the way. This is why many people prefer to leave the job to a professional who will then be able to assess the damage and give advice for moving forward with repairs.

If you think your roof has some hail damage and would like to have a free inspection done, contact us today!

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