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May 28, 2013   Email to Friend 

Surviving Hail
Miranda Mattheis

Choosing the right roofing material can save homeowners money following a hail storm, according to new research by the Institute for Business and Home Safety (IBHS).

Researchers used a cannon to fire simulated hail at various roofing materials. IBHS tested standard three-tab asphalt shingles, impact-resistant architectural shingles and standing-seam metal roofing.

The results were convincing.

“On the standard three-tab shingle, the majority of the damage was functional, where the (bases of the shingles) were cracked. This would mean roof replacement might be necessary,” said Building Science Expert Dr. Tanya Brown. “On the impact-resistant asphalt shingle, the majority of the impact was cosmetic in nature, but there were a few places where the damage was functional. On the metal side of the roof, all the damage was cosmetic in nature. The roof was dented, but there was no puncturing or penetration through the metal.”

These results are consistent with what Alfa claims adjusters see following a hail storm, said Alfa District Claims Manager Barry Grace.

“Impact-resistant shingles tend to fare better in a hailstorm than those that are not impact rated,” Grace said. “However, homeowners should remember that impact-resistant shingles are tested to withstand stones that are approximately two inches in diameter. When we have storms that bring baseball or softball sized hail, even the best roofing materials are likely to see hail damage.”

Grace noted proper maintenance could extend the life of roof and limit damage from a storm.

“Typically, we see customers who take good care of their roofs and keep them clean are able to keep the roofs in better shape if a hailstorm occurs,” Grace said.

The IBHS researchers agree.

“If (a roof is) not in good condition, you may want to consider replacing it,” Brown said. “Clearing debris off it, including leaves or other things that can sit and collect water, and removing tree overhangs that can prevent it from drying will keep the roof in the best shape possible.”

While insurance can offset roof repair costs, homeowners bear part of the risk through deductibles. Choosing more impact-resistant materials and properly maintaining a roof can reduce homeowners’ out-of-pocket costs.


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