Info on hail damage, ice dams and roof layer limits in the Kansas City area

Info on hail damage, ice dams and roof layer limits in the Kansas City area

Are you a licensed contractor, have proper insurance, bonded, etc.?

5 Star Roofing meets all requirements to do business in Kansas and Missouri, including up-to-date insurance. We are happy to provide proof upon request.

How does hail damage a roof?

With all of the fuss about hail damage, you might expect to see large holes in your roof after a big storm. Instead, you probably wouldn’t see much difference at all from ground-view.

So why is hail so damaging? First of all, most hail storms don’t damage roofs, but occasionally the hail gets large enough to make small dents or divots in asphalt shingles. Those divots look pretty harmless — and they are at first — but over time they can wreak havoc on your roof.

Why? You’ve probably noticed that asphalt shingle have a sandy material on top. You may have thought that material (which consists mostly of ceramic granules) was there to give the roof an attractive color or to keep people from sliding off the roof. While the granules do provide those benefits, the real reason for using this material on a shingle is to protect the asphalt from the sun’s UV rays.

When a large piece of hail hits your roof, it knocks off some of those granules and loosens others. Over time, rain washes away the loose material, exposing the asphalt. This causes the asphalt to dry up and crack — allowing water to leak in.

If I do have hail damage, should I replace my roof right away?

You don’t have to do it immediately, but keep in mind that most insurance policies limit the time that you have to file a claim. Also, if you do have damage you have a responsibility to "mitigate" any further problems caused by a damaged roof. This is a standard clause in all insurance policies.

Also, if your roof has been damaged by hail, the warranty on your shingles is voided in almost every case, so it makes sense to file an insurance claim. However, you should make sure you really have a claim before calling your insurance company. Click here for more information about this.

What are flashings?

Flashings are used wherever something intersects the roof, such as chimneys, walls, gutter lines, skylights, pipes and vents. These are the most important areas of your roof and the first areas to leak if flashings are not installed properly.

Various materials can be used to protect these areas: sheet metal (copper, galvanized steel, aluminum), lead, membranes and sealants. If the existing flashing is in good shape they can sometimes be re-used. However, since flashing are a critical roof component, we recommend new flashings if there is any concern about the existing material.

Why can’t you just add another roof layer?

Building codes have changed and it’s likely that, in your area, you can’t legally add a second layer of roofing. In 2006, the International Residential Code was modified to say that layering of asphalt shingles is not allowed at all when the building is located in an area subject to moderate or severe hail exposure. This includes the Greater Kansas City metro area. Not all KC area cities and counties have adopted the new code, but most have.

The second reason we don’t recommend adding a layer of roofing on top of an existing layer is because it will void your warranties ours and the manufacturer’s.

What is an ice dam?

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off the roof. The water that backs up behind the dam can leak into a home and cause damage to walls, ceilings, insulation.

Info on hail damage, ice dams and roof layer limits in the Kansas City area

Here’s a simplifed explanation of how they form:

1. Warm air rises in the attic.

2. Outside, it’s below 32 degrees and snow and ice accumulate on the roof.

3. Thoughout the winter, as snow and ice refreeze, water can get trapped under the roof shingles (see image).

4. This water finds cracks and openings in the exterior roof covering and flows into the attic space. From the attic it could flow into exterior walls or through the ceiling insulation and stain the ceiling finish.

To help prevent ice dams:

1. Proper insulation reduces the warm air in the attic.

2. Roofing underlayments designed to shield ice and water can create a watertight barrier between roof and shingles.

3. Proper roof ventilation moves warm air out of attic and keeps it cold.

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