hail damage

Posted On: August 4, 2020

Hail and Storm Damage Experiment – What Does Hail do to My Roof?

Hail damage can occur on your roof, siding, landscaping, and even your poor windows. We wondered how different roofing materials stand up against hail, depending on their design, material, and how severe a storm has to be.

We know asphalt shingles can be easily damaged from hail, especially when it’s backed by a strong wind. Hail damage on asphalt shingles usually looks like granule loss or dented shingles. But what about metal roof hail damage? Metal roofs are supposed to be one of the most durable roofing materials out there, but there’s a common myth that it is susceptible to dents—and we want to find out the truth.

How Does Metal Roofing Stand Up Against Hail? ?

The fact of the matter is most storms don’t produce hail big enough to actually affect a metal roof. This is especially true for steel metal roofs or metal shingles. But, it doesn’t mean metal roofing is impervious to hail damage.

Factors that can affect how and if a metal roof is damaged by hail include:

Size of the Hail

There are two ways that hail can damage metal roofing: denting or puncturing. Hailstones that are less than 1″ in diameter usually won’t cause any damage to a metal roof. But, stones that are 1.25″ in diameter or larger can cause light to moderate denting. And, if hail is accompanied by high winds, it can cause severe puncturing.

The Roof’s Slope

The steeper the roof’s slope, the less likely it is to experience hail damage. This is because the angle of incidence (the angle at which hailstones strike the surface) is lessened, and so is the impact force.

steep metal roof hail and storm damage test

Metal Thickness

The thicker the metal, the more resistant it is to hail damage. For example, a steel roof with a thickness of .060″ will be more likely to experience hail damage than a roof made from galvanized steel with a thickness of .032″.

The Style of Metal Roofing

Metal roofs are available in multiple styles: aluminum, copper, corrugated metal, metal tile, metal slate, standing seam, steel, tin, and zinc (to name a few). Some are super strong and durable, like steel and metal slate, but aluminum and tin will be more lightweight and at risk of dents.

The Metal Finish

Specialty metal roofs are embossed with a texture, like stucco-embossed or stone-coated steel, that lessens the blow of any debris, including hail, on its surface. In addition, it eliminates scratches, dents, and other cosmetic flaws that might make people want to replace their metal roofs much faster.

Aerial top view of house with brown metal roof

Hail Damage Experiment: Asphalt vs. Metal Shingles ⛈ 

Today we wanted to put some shingles to the test. So, we put together a fun experiment complete with pickles and slingshots to see what shingles can withstand when it comes to “hail,” aka chunks of ice at a high rate of speed. Enjoy this video we made that will help you gain a great understanding of hail and storm damage.

Today, we are equipped with a slingshot, frozen water balloons, and some roofing samples. Today we are testing some asphalt shingles and some textured metal shingles. We’ve got a freezer full of frozen water balloons, so let’s see what we can find out. But, in the name of science, what is life without having some fun?

We wanted to see how these asphalt and metal shingles would hold up when ice was being shot at them via my slingshot. It’s as close as we can get to simulating hail hitting your roof.

The textured granules on your asphalt shingles act as the initial protective layer for your roof. The second these get knocked off, the less protection you have. Damaged or lost granules will lead to faster deterioration and open your roof up to potential damage.

Experiment #1: How Do Asphalt Shingles Handle Impact?

We first tried some small hail balls, which are decent and can still cause some damage. These small hail balls will travel down at about 9-25 miles per hour during a storm, which is fast but not too bad.

Golf ball-sized hail is over an inch in size and will hit your roof at a rate of 25-40 miles per hour during a storm. These displayed much more damage than the smaller ones. Keep in mind that wind-driven hail can get up to speeds of 50, 60, and even 75 miles per hour. That can definitely break a window, dent your roof, and cause some pretty severe damage.

close up of Hail on the roof after hailstorm

Experiment #2: How Do Metal Shingles Handle Impact?

Next, we tested our metal shingles. Metal roofing has many benefits such as strength and durability, low maintenance, long lifespan, fire resistance, lightweight, and energy-efficient. However, their one downfall is their ability to dent when hit by hail or debris. So, we put it to the test to truly see what kind of dents we can expect from hail.

It’s hard to see the dent amongst its textured grooves in this picture, but the hail did dent the metal shingle. The thing is, even if it had a dent, it wouldn’t necessarily compromise its integrity. We are also lucky that these shingles, in particular, have a design that hides imperfections pretty well.

However, if you have smooth metal shingles, from a cosmetic standpoint, you will have more unsightly damage if it dents. You can often get that covered and replaced through your warranty or insurance.

What Else Can Cause Damage to Shingles?

We know that hail is not the only hazard that can come with a severe storm that can cause damage to your roof. High winds can blow debris, branches, and even detach shingles—all of which can leave dents and damage to your roof. Even a small shingle blowing off can fly over and damage another part of your roof. The same goes for a branch breaking off and scraping or gouging your shingles.

We did a test using a big branch we found. We chucked it as hard as we could at our roofing samples, and the branch left a gaping hole in the asphalt shingles. When we threw it at the metal shingles, it left a decent-sized dent.

Both of these damages are potentially functional damage, which definitely ruins the integrity and functionality of your roof and must be repaired.

Broken metal roof from branch

What Happens When Your Shingles Are Hit With a Giant Jar of Pickles? ?

Last but not least, and just for fun, we decided to see what a gigantic jar of pickles could do. The jar shattered, but no pickles were harmed. They taste just as amazing.

So, as you can see, even in our mediocre, very non-controlled environment experiment, large chunks of ice can cause both cosmetic and functional damage quite easily.

If you find yourself facing any sort of storm damage to your home, siding, or roof, give us a call for a FREE inspection and damage assessment. We do our very best to do storm estimates the same day, otherwise, you can expect it the very next day.

Call Northface Construction at (763) 710-2933 for all your storm damage needs. We’ve got you covered!



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