Is Your Home Protected From Hail Damage?

I have insurance. Why should I worry about hail damage?
Sure, standard homeowners policies will cover hail damage. But that doesnít mean youíre free and clear and can just leave the problem to your insurance company. All policies have some kind of deductible or co-payment. No matter what your type of coverage, as a homeowner, you will be reaching into your own pocket to repair or replace a roof damaged by hail. Repairing or replacing a roof covering is a major inconvenience. Knowing which roof coverings resist impact well, and which do not, can save you a lot of trouble and a lot of money.

What causes a roof to wear out?
Several factors can speed a roofís decay, including ultraviolet light from the sun and temperature extremes in your area. Exposure to wind, snow, ice and rain and foot traffic on the roof donít help either. Darker color shingles, because they absorb more light, may have shorter service lives than lighter colors in southern climates.

Why do wood roof shingles split and crack?
Wood naturally splits and cracks as part of the aging process. This is largely due to swelling and shrinking caused by moisture and subsequent drying.

Can an existing asphalt shingle roof be covered with another?
A roofing contractor may be able to apply the new material directly on top of the old layer, depending on its condition. Although this saves a little bit of time and money, experts strongly recommend against it, especially in hail- or wind-prone regions. Hail tends to cause more damage when there is more than one layer of shingles. In windy areas, the new layer will not grab as tightly as it should if there is a pre-existing layer under it. Any other type of roof covering is typically removed before the new roof covering is installed.

Can composition shingle roofs be repaired?
Yes. If damage is minor, a roofing contractor can remove individual shingles and replace them.

Canít I just do the work myself?
Only if you have sufficient experience in replacing roof coverings. Otherwise, donít try it. Most roofing jobs are not for the do-it-yourselfer. Novices can do more harm than good if they use improper roofing techniques. More importantly, they can severely injure themselves by falling off or even through a roof. Professional roofing contractors are trained to do the job safely and efficiently.

What sort of ongoing maintenance should I do?
Inspect the roof in the fall and spring for cracked or curling shingles, and clean rain gutters filled with dead leaves and other debris. It's best to use binoculars and do this from the ground. If you really feel that you need a closer look, use a firmly braced or tied-off ladder equipped with rubber safety feet. Wear rubber-soled shoes and stay on the ladder (and off the roof) if possible so you donít damage your roof or yourself.

Deck/Sheathing:
The surface ó usually plywood or oriented-strand board (OSB) ó to which roof underlayments and coverings are applied.

Dormer:
A small structure projecting from a sloped roof, usually with a window.

Drip edge:
An L-shaped strip (usually metal) installed along the edges of the roof to allow water to drip clear of the deck, eaves and siding.

Eave:
The horizontal lower edge of a sloped roof where it extends past the outer wall of the house.

Fascia:
A flat board, band or face located just below the eave.

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