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What does hail damage on a roof look like?

hail damaged asphalt roof
What does hail damage on a roof look like?

Hail damage, even if it's minor, can be costly. This is especially true for homeowners living in hail-prone regions as roof damage can involve repeated insurance claims and costly repairs every time a hail storm rolls through town.

One of the biggest issues with hail is when the damage goes unnoticed–and a leak develops in the attic, for instance. Even a minor leak can cause thousands of dollars in damage, especially if it leads to mold inside the home.

Visible hail damage varies depending upon the specific roofing surface material, so we’ll cover what hail damage looks like on common roofing materials such as:

We’ll also cover what to look for in a hail-resistant roof.

What does hail damage look like on an asphalt shingle roof?


Hailstones on an asphalt shingle roof will leave dents and craters that look like hammer strikes. If the asphalt shingles have already begun to warp or “fishmouth” from exposure to sunny weather, even a small hailstone can cause significant damage. It’s important to have an asphalt roof checked after a hail event, as the impact can damage the underlayment of the roof as well. The underlayment is the complete roofing system’s backup moisture barrier and the last defense against water leaks inside the home.

Asphalt shingles will show obvious signs of hail damage including:

  • Shingles that are cracked, torn or missing from the roof completely.
  • Fragments of asphalt shingle debris scattered around the home.
  • Bare spots exposing the roof deck.
  • Color patches on the roof where hailstones penetrated and fragmented the shingles.
  • Spots of visible underlayment, usually the easily torn felt also known as “tar paper.”

What does hail damage look like on a clay or concrete tile roof?


Clay and concrete tile roofs are some of the heaviest roofing materials available, and many homeowners are surprised to learn that weight does not equal strength when it comes to roofing.

Clay is brittle and easily fractured, and even just a few broken tiles can be difficult to repair. Hail aside, any falling objects such as tree branches or storm debris can cause damage, leaving the underlying roof deck vulnerable to leaks. Just walking on a clay tile roof for routine maintenance can cause damage.

One major thing to look for when inspecting a clay or concrete tile roof for hail damage includes:

  • Fractured or chipped tiles on the roof, or on the ground near the home.

What does hail damage look like on wood shingle or wood shake roofs?


Wood is one of the most moisture-absorbent and expansion-prone roofing materials still in use today. Even the best cedar shakes expand and contract in seasonal weather extremes and that causes loosening around the fasteners, which in turn enables warping and splitting to occur.

Wood is prone to leaks from the cracks and splits caused by hail impact, so it’s important to check for damage after a hail event.

When hail strikes a wood roof, you’ll want to look for the following signs of damage:

  • Shattered or splintered wood fragments around the home.
  • Areas of bare roof where the shingles or shakes were blown off.

What does hail damage look like on a metal roof?

It’s important to distinguish modern metal roofing systems from sheet metal on top of an old, rusting shed. Sheet metal from the local Home Depot can be dented by hail as it is not engineered for use as part of a residential roofing system.

Modern metal roofs, such as stone-coated metal, are manufactured from high-grade steel and are considered one of the best roofing materials to withstand hail impact. In fact, metal is so durable and resistant to hail damage that it is one of the few roofing systems that can actually qualify for insurance discounts.

Given the durability of metal roofing, hail damage can be difficult to spot. While it’s rare, if a metal roof is damaged by hail, it will be in the form of small, surface-level dents. Structural problems are very rare and hail damage on a metal roof, if any, is typically cosmetic and normally won’t affect the integrity or underlying structure of the roof.

What to look for in a hail-proof roof?

If your home is located in a region prone to frequent hail, you’ll want to ask these questions when searching for the best type of roof for hail:

Here’s a deep dive into everything you need to know about a hail-resistant roofing system.

Protect Your Roof from the Damaging Effects of Hail with DECRA Metal Roofing

Since 1957, DECRA roofs have withstood the test of time and protected homes in hail-prone regions around the world. DECRA roofs come with the highest UL2218 Class 4 Impact Rating for hail and are warranted for hail penetration up to 2.5” in diameter.

As a testament to our commitment to quality, we also conduct testing above and beyond the requirements. DECRA submits our products voluntarily to the Terralab Engineers International NBS Series 23 Hail Resistance of Roofing Materials test with ice ball compressed air guns.

The results?

“DECRA products withstood hailstones up to 3” in diameter without damage. The products also withstood without damage by impact from 4” hailstones. The 4” hailstones are not part of the NBS Series 23 and were shot for client information purposes only.”

In addition to protecting homes from hail damage, DECRA roofs also meet the high-velocity hurricane zone requirements of Miami-Dade county, and are warrantied for winds up to 120 mph and lab tested at twice that velocity.

Ready to see and feel the DECRA difference? Order a complimentary sample today

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