What to Know About Hail Damage on Commercial Roofs
Small business owners everywhere dread the spring and summer when storms are more likely to occur because it means potential hail damage. Hail damage almost always means repairs and unwanted downtime. However, if not taken care of, hail damage can lead to other costly issues, including water damage and mold growth. This potential damage is why scheduling inspections after inclement weather is so important.
Signs You Have Hail Damage
The major signs of hail damage to a commercial roofing system include:
- Dents or Holes
- Broken or Cracked Skylights & Windows
- Gravel That Looks Peppered
You should be aware that hail damage is not usually covered in warranties for roofing materials. Plus, inspectors from insurance companies are typically motivated to represent their companies, not you.
That’s why it’s smart to have a professional third-party roofing company perform an inspection. A professional inspection by an unbiased party will strongly help ensure you, your insurance company, and others are on the same page. Read this article to learn more about what’s involved during a post-storm inspection.
4 Common Hail Damage Myths
Myth 1: The damage doesn’t look significant, so there’s no need to file an insurance claim
Truth: If you experience even a mild hail storm, scheduling an unbiased commercial roofing inspection as soon as possible is smart and advantageous. Time is crucial, so the sooner you schedule it, the better. Hail damage inspection requires specialized knowledge, and the damage must be confirmed with infrared scanning. It’s not uncommon for an insurance roofing inspector to disregard seemingly minor damage that can worsen exponentially with time.
Myth 2: The roof is new and is therefore covered under warranty from either the material manufacturer or building contractor
Truth: As mentioned earlier, most roofing material manufacturers specifically EXCLUDE hail damage from their warranty coverage. Read the fine print in your warranties to be sure.
Myth 3: Filing a hail damage insurance claim will cause my rates to increase
Truth: The fact is that an insurer may increase rates across the board after a natural disaster. If you do not file a claim, and your rates still rise, which they likely will, you’ll simply be paying for the restoration of other roofs instead of your own. Meanwhile, the damage will continue to expand with time, meaning costly repairs soon underway.
Myth 4: Fixing the problems myself is easier than filing an insurance claim
Truth: Flat roofing systems can be very effective and deliver extended service lives. However, their components must be properly installed and maintained, and particular skill sets are needed to ensure lasting professional results. It is generally not best for individuals to attempt self-repairing their commercial flat roofs. It’s much simpler and far safer to contact your insurance company, an expert roofing contractor, and file a claim.
How to Know If You Have a Roofing Emergency
It’s always intelligent to have a plan for severe hail damage or any other type of commercial roofing emergency.
But…what constitutes a real roofing emergency compared to a non-urgent need for repairs?
In the simplest terms, a commercial roofing emergency is any situation that causes a threat to the safety and efficient operations of your customers, staff, and business. It could be caused by a fallen tree, heavy winds, or severe weather, like a massive hail storm.
What to Do If You Have a Roofing Emergency
In an emergency, the first and most important action to take is to call a trusted commercial roofing contractor and ask them to professionally inspect, record the damage, and advise you on the best course of action.
Severe roof damage doesn’t have to involve obvious harm like the roofing membrane being ripped away. It can also be much more subtle, like excessive mold and mildew growth that’s resulted from a longstanding leak, missing or damaged flashing, or consistently pooling water.
Call for assistance as soon as possible. Only a roofing professional can accurately determine the severity of roofing damage and recommend the most cost-effective course of action. Generally, if the integrity of a flat roof has been compromised, it’s a roofing emergency and should be handled immediately.
Remember—don’t attempt self-repair. It can be very dangerous, and without proper materials, skills, and equipment, you can make the problem worse.
When to Hire a Professional
You should always contact your roofer for routine biannual inspections and any additional inspections after severe weather events.
It’s much smarter to find and address the damage than to allow it to worsen over time. Of course, there’s no harm in going on your flat roof and looking for stand-out damage, downed tree branches, clogged drains, or other apparent problems. However, a professional roofer can spot issues that untrained eyes can’t. Plus, if you begin any repairs, the roof becomes a job site legally, subjecting you to OSHA’s many rules and regulations. That means you would be required to carry roofing insurance, licensing, and whatever else is required in your locality.
Additionally, self-repairing your roof may well void any warranty coverage that is in effect, and your insurance company may only approve your hail damage claim once a licensed professional roofing contractor has agreed to service it. It’s much easier, more effective, and stress-relieving to call a professional.
How to Reduce the Future Impact of Hail Damage
Hail can be unpredictable and can cause severe damage quickly. That’s why it’s critical for every small business owner to keep their commercial flat roofs in excellent condition.
Roofing systems are designed and installed to accommodate specific functions needed to maintain the integrity of the structures they cap, but even the best don’t last forever. To help to keep yours in good condition.
- Remove Debris: Keep tree limbs, trash, and other debris from accumulating on the roof.
- Clean Gutters & Drains: Ensure the drains stay unclogged and function properly.
- Look Out for Pooling: Scan for pooled water and contact your roofer if you spot any.
- Perform Safe Self-Inspections: Keep your eyes open for noticeable signs of damage throughout the year, especially after inclement weather. Read this article to learn more about the do’s and don’ts of self-inspection.
Do You Have Hail Damage? Schedule a Roof Inspection Today!
Summit Commercial Roofing is a family-owned and -operated company specializing in restoring, maintaining, and replacing commercial flat roofs. We’ve served small business owners throughout Southeast Michigan for over 50 years. You can count on us for high-quality service, durable materials, affordable pricing, and exceptional customer support.
If you think you have hail damage or other damage to your flat roofing system, don’t hesitate to contact our helpful team today to schedule an inspection.