What Size Hail Will Damage a Roof

July 20, 2023

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Homeowners often wonder, what size hail will damage a roof? This is vital to understand, as not every storm brings roof damage. On the other hand, hail damage isn’t always visible to homeowners unfamiliar with roof repair.

Pea-sized and marble-sized hail don’t typically risk roof damage. However, anything more than 3/4” or a full inch in diameter risks damage to shingles, metal, and other materials. Also, hailstorms can mean clogged gutters and dented siding.

Note that this is just a quick explanation of potential hailstorm damage to your home’s roof. Knowing more about how hail affects roofing materials and other features around the home is vital! You can then know when to call a roof repair contractor near you. In turn, your home will be in good condition from the top down.

what size hail will damage a roof

What Size Hail Will Damage a Roof, In Detail

Not all hail damages roofs, as said. The size of hail that damages a roof depends on various factors. These include the type and condition of the roof, its material, and impact angle. In general,

larger hailstones are more likely to cause damage. However, even smaller hailstones can lead to damage under certain circumstances. This includes high winds and if the hail hits a surface straight-on. Note a few added guidelines for hailstone sizes and their potential impact on a roof:

  • Pea-sized hail (1/4 inch in diameter) usually does not cause significant damage to roofs.
  • Marble-sized hail (1/2 inch in diameter) may not cause severe damage. However, it can still dent metal surfaces like gutters and vents.
  • Dime-sized hail (3/4 inch in diameter) can cause damage to weaker roofs. This is especially true for older or poorly maintained roofs.
  • Quarter-sized hail (1 inch in diameter) has the potential to damage asphalt shingles.
  • Golf ball-sized hail (1.75 inches in diameter) risks significant damage to most types of roofs. This includes asphalt shingles, wood shingles, and metal.
  • Tennis ball-sized hail (2.5 inches in diameter) is highly likely to cause severe damage to roofs and other property.
  • Baseball-sized hail (2.75 inches in diameter) risks extensive damage, including puncturing roofs.
  • Softball-sized hail (4 inches or more in diameter) often means severe damage to roofs and other structures.

Lastly, remember that wind speed and hailstone density both influence the severity of the damage. Roofs in good condition may withstand smaller hailstones without much damage. On the other hand, smaller hailstones can damage weaker or older roofs easily.

Can Pea-Sized Hail Cause Roof Damage?

While not common, pea-sized hail risks roofing damage. This is especially true if the roof is already in poor condition and for certain materials. Check out what this means in added detail:

Roof Material

Different roofing materials have varying levels of resistance to hail damage. For instance, metal roofs are more likely to withstand pea-sized hail compared to asphalt shingles. Durable metal doesn’t dent or ding easily. On the other hand, even smaller hail can strip shingle granules or risk cracking the material.

Roof Age and Condition

An older or poorly maintained roof is more susceptible to hail damage. Older roofs might already suffer from small cracks and leaks. Also, roof materials tend to break down and degrade over time. In turn, even the smallest hail risks damage.

Angle of Impact

The angle at which hailstones strike the roof influences the extent of the damage. Hail that hits the roof straight-on is more likely to cause damage than hail that strikes at an angle. The roof’s slope also affects the angle of impact. Hail won’t hit with as much impact on a sloped roof than a flat surface!

Wind Speed

Strong winds accompanying hail increase the force of impact. In turn, this risks more damage to your roof and other surfaces. Also, high winds can loosen shingles and other roofing materials. Consequently, hail can easily strike the roof’s underlayment and decking, risking damage.

In conclusion, note that it's essential to conduct a thorough inspection after any hailstorm. Look for dents, cracks, or granule loss on asphalt shingles. If you notice any issues, have a roofer assess the damage and make necessary roof repairs after the storm. Addressing minor damage promptly prevents more significant problems in the future.


marks after hail damage to a roof

What Is the Most Hail Resistant Roof?

If you live in an area prone to hailstorms, it’s helpful to consider a hail-resistant roof. Manufacturers design these to withstand the impact of hailstones and minimize damage.

  • Metal roofing, specifically steel and aluminum, is considered the most hail-resistant option. Metal offers extra durability and toughness and doesn’t tend to come apart under hail impact. Also, roofers usually bolt metal panels to a roof. In turn, they won’t simply come off the roof’s surface during a storm.
  • Impact-resistant asphalt shingles are also an excellent choice. Manufacturers produce these shingles with enhanced impact resistance. In turn, they can withstand the impact of hail better than standard asphalt shingles.
  • Concrete tiles are relatively durable and resist damage from smaller hailstones. However, larger hailstones or a significant impact may still risk damage. Ask your roofer about the right tile manufacturer and type for your needs.
  • Certain synthetic roofing materials, like rubber or plastic-based shingles, offer good hail resistance. These are less brittle than other materials so they’re not likely to crack or fall away during a hailstorm.
  • Polymer composite shingles, made with both plastic and rubber, offer better hail resistance than traditional asphalt shingles.

Additionally, ask your roofer about products certified for impact resistance, such as those meeting the UL 2218 Class 4 impact rating. These ensure a strong resistance against hail and other damaging elements.

Do Metal Roofs or Asphalt Shingles Last Longer?

Generally speaking, metal roofs last far longer than asphalt shingles. If you install and maintain it properly, a metal roof can last 40 to 70 years or more. Also, metal resists damage common with other materials including rot, insect damage, and fire. A metal roof also stands up well in harsh weather, including heavy rain, snow, and hail.

On the other hand, asphalt roof shingles are more affordable. High-quality asphalt shingles usually last around 20 to 30 years, while lower-grade shingles may last less than 20 years. Weather, storm damage, and other factors all affect asphalt roof lifespans. Note what else can affect your roof’s longevity in more detail:

  • Regular maintenance extends the life of any roof. This includes cleaning gutters, inspecting for damage, and addressing minor issues promptly.
  • The local climate plays a significant role in how well a roof holds up over time. Metal roofs tend to perform better in extreme conditions, including high winds, hail, and UV exposure.
  • Proper installation is crucial for any roofing material. Both metal and asphalt roofs require skilled installation. This ensures they perform optimally and last as long as possible.
  • Adequate roof ventilation helps regulate temperature and moisture levels. This reduces the risk of damage and prolongs the roof's lifespan.
  • The pitch or slope of the roof impacts how well it sheds water and debris, affecting its overall longevity.

measure hail size after storm

What to Do if You Have a Hail Damaged Roof

  • Visual Inspection: Conduct a thorough visual inspection of your roof from the ground to look for potential hail damage.
  • Safety First: Avoid climbing onto the roof yourself to prevent accidents; instead, use binoculars or a camera with a zoom function.
  • Look for Signs of Damage: Check for the following signs that may indicate hail size damage:
    • Dents or cracks on metal flashings, gutters, or downspouts.
    • Granule loss on asphalt shingles, which can look like dark spots or bald patches.
    • Dislodged or broken shingles, tiles, or shakes.
  • Document the Damage: Take clear photos from different angles, capturing all the visible damage for your records and insurance claims.
  • Professional Inspection: Contact a licensed, experienced roofing contractor to perform a comprehensive assessment of your roof's condition.
  • File an Insurance Claim: Reach out to your insurance company promptly to file an insurance claim with the evidence of the damage you've collected.
  • Prevent Further Damage: In case of severe damage, consider covering exposed areas with tarps to prevent water infiltration until you the roof repaired.
  • Regular Maintenance: Even if no visible damage is apparent, it's still a good idea to have your roof inspected periodically to catch any potential issues early on.

Remember, addressing damage quickly after a hail storm can prevent leaks and more extensive repairs down the road, so don't delay in taking action.

A Word From Our Roof Repair Team

RC Roofing is happy to help explain what size hail will damage a roof. Hopefully, we’ve given you some good information to consider. Also, you can call our Rhode Island roof repair contractors when you’re ready for a FREE quote. We stand behind all our work, so contact us today to complete a full roof inspection.


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