Protecting your family from the next big storm starts long before storm season kicks in. While many people prepare for wind and rain, hailstorms may cause even more expensive and widespread damage.
This post lists four ways to prepare your property to minimize damage from a hailstorm.
1. Inspect the Roof
Have a professional roofing service inspect and assess the condition of the roof overall. Prior damage, cracks, peeled edges, and worn flashing should be replaced. Self-adhesive flashing tape will also help protect from the accompanying water damage that comes with hailstorms. In addition, don't forget to clean out and repair the gutters so that hail and water will flow down and away from the roof.
Repeat these steps each time you suffer a potentially damaging hail event, whether or not you see any damage yourself. It can be hard to identify roofing problems by yourself, but doing so is your number one way to protect the home and keep out more destructive water damage.
2. Use Impact Resistant Materials
If your roof is older or showing wear and tear, then consider upgrading to a more impact resistant structure. Roof tiles come in ratings for their durability in severe weather. You will likely want materials rated 3 or 4 (in accord with UL 2218 or FM4473) to help reduce breakage. Most types of shingles come in higher impact varieties, but wood, metal, and asphalt shingles can be the most durable for many homes.
If your area gets a lot of hailstorms, then you may even consider a more serious roofing upgrade to prevent trouble. A higher pitch (the roof's angle) reduces hailstones' likelihood of crashing directly into the roof in the way a low pitch allows. Pitches less than 27 degrees (6:12) could suffer greater damage.
In addition to the roof, look for impact-resistant windows. So-called "hurricane windows" are tested to withstand projectiles more powerful than hailstones. If you aren't upgrading windows right now, then consider adding storm shutters that can be closed during hail or wind events.
3. Create Homes for Outdoor Items
The fewer things that you normally leave scattered around the unprotected areas of the yard, the less damage you'll have in a sudden storm. Get a simple but sturdy shed to protect expensive outdoor gardening and sports equipment or children's toys.
In addition, if you have an outdoor kitchen or entertainment space that doesn’t have a permanent roof, then you should build one. Use the same roofing material that you chose for the home's impact resistant roofing and place your furnishings well inside the edges.
Keep in mind that hailstorms often accompany high winds and rain, so any outdoor objects that aren't tied down could become a flying missile. Secure small trees with stakes, tie down kids play equipment, and cover outdoor pools.
4. Trim Trees and Shrubs
Hail will rip apart trees and shrubs themselves, often causing permanent damage to the plants. In addition, they may cause collateral damage that could affect structures around them. Thick canopies overhead may, for instance, push hail and water onto the roof of the house. Trim large-leafed plants and shrubs to lessen damage and help hail fall more harmlessly to the ground.
You'll also need to ensure that branches and limbs aren't hanging over the house itself. Trees are easily broken by severe hail, so reduce the chances that they will fall directly onto your roof by pruning anything that appears dead, infected, or already damaged.
For help preparing your roof or outdoor buildings for a storm and checking for damage after it passes, contact the disaster repair experts at Piedmont Disaster Services today. We serve homeowners throughout the Carolinas.