How to Spot Hail Damage on Your Siding

When large storms pass through the midwest, it’s not uncommon to hear about quarter-size hail damage or worse. Damaged siding, shingles, gutters, windows, and even plants can all be left behind in the wake of a powerful storm.

Knowing the steps to take after a severe storm hits and exactly how to spot hail damage can be hugely beneficial. It’s also crucial to understand which professionals to reach out to first and what questions to ask. We’ll cover all that and more so you can be ready and equipped when the next storm hits.

Minnesota Exteriors offers risk-free, no hassle, FREE inspections for storm damage to your siding, roof, windows, or gutters.

Hail Damage Factors

Single-family homes, multi-family homes, and commercial buildings are all at risk of hail damage to the siding or the roof. If you’ve had a storm recently, take some time to inspect your home and property. When investigating the damage, consider the size of the hail, the length of the storm, wind speeds, and how protected your home is from the elements, as these all will factor into the level of damage.

  • Size of Hail: larger hailstones are heavier and reach greater speeds than small hailstones. If the size of the hail reaches an inch or more, it is likely to cause damage.
  • Wind Speed: the greater the wind speed, the more severe denting, and other damage can be to your roof and siding. Hail tends to fall at an angle, and gusts of wind can propel the hail even more strongly against your home.
  • Barriers: barriers such as other structures, trees, and plants can help to shield the exterior of your home and mitigate potential damage. If your home is more exposed and without such barriers, the hail damage can be more severe.

Signs of Hail Damage on Siding

Siding damage can occur whether you have vinyl, metal, or wood siding. Some materials are better than others, but fiber cement siding holds the top spot when it comes to the best siding for hail and overall longevity. Signs of storm damage can range from tiny dents to cracked siding and missing shingles, but it’s important to note that not all damage is visible at a glance.

Bringing in professionals after a severe storm can help identify even the tiniest damaged areas which could cause problems down the road for your home. When checking for hail damage, it’s best to avoid midday when the sun is at its brightest. Try checking in the morning or late afternoon to have the best visibility. In this section, we’ll talk through what to look for when checking for siding hail damage on vinyl, metal, and wood materials.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl is one of the most common materials for siding due to its affordability and easy maintenance, but it can be more prone to damage from hail than some of the other siding materials, depending on the grade. As vinyl siding ages, it can also become brittle, making it even more susceptible to damage. Vinyl siding damage from hail most frequently results in cracks and chips, but sometimes warping and gouging can occur as well. Look for the following signs of vinyl siding hail damage, which may be easier to see from the ground looking up.

  • Cracking: can range from small hairline cracks to larger fractures
  • Chipping: instead of leaving a dent, hail will often chip off pieces of vinyl siding
  • Warping: buckling or warping of vinyl siding can occur from strong storms
  • Gouging: dents and gouges are less common with vinyl siding, but still may occur

Thinking it’s time for a replacement? Learn each siding type’s pros and cons from Minnesota Exteriors.

Steel Siding

Another fairly affordable option is steel siding which is also easy to take care of. Hail damage to steel siding is almost always in the form of dents but other types of damage can occur as well. If you’re concerned about hail damage on steel siding, we’ve summarized the top signs to look out for.

  • Dents: divots and dents will vary in size but are the most common sign of hail damage to steel siding
  • Chipped Paint: paint may chip off or fade in small or large sections depending on the severity of the storm
  • Discoloration: if you notice any white residue, it’s likely oxidation of the steel that happens as a result of denting
  • Gapping: look for any gaps between layers of the aluminum siding

Engineered Wood Siding

Engineered wood siding is a slightly more expensive siding option that has a longer lifespan but requires slightly more maintenance than the other siding materials. The biggest indicator of hail damage on engineered wood siding is denting, but you may also find some cracking and chipped paint. Engineered wood siding is more impact resistant than other siding materials, so you may notice only small dents or cracks, but even those can let moisture in.

  • Dents: depending on the size of the hail, dents may appear as little blemishes or pockmarks
  • Chipped Paint: with wood siding, it’s common to see chipped or missing paint, especially if you have denting
  • Cracks: severe storms can cause cracking or splitting away of the wood siding
  • Warping: warping and buckling can occur with enough damage from water and hail

Risks of Ignoring Hail Damage

Whether you have hail and wind damage to vinyl, steel, or wood siding, the risks of not addressing it right away are high. Even if you can’t spot any visible damage from the ground, that does not mean you are in the clear. After a severe storm and in particular when heavy hail is involved, it’s always best to get a professional evaluation. The earlier you respond to hail damage, the better!

  • Water damage gets exponentially worse: even the smallest holes or cracks from hail damage can lead to water getting into your home. And the longer water is allowed to get into your home, the more likely you’ll be to develop mold, mildew, and other water-related issues.
  • Missed deadline for filing an insurance claim: there may be a cutoff for filing a claim with your insurance, so acting quickly after a hail storm is always beneficial.
  • Reduction in your home’s energy efficiency: holes and cracks in your siding can let in outside air and require extra energy to heat or cool your home depending on the season, and those extra energy costs add up over time.
  • Sometimes hail damage can be hard to spot: sometimes hail damage is minor and hard to spot from the ground, but professionals can indicate even the smallest areas of hail damage and make recommendations in your best interest.
  • Leaving an opportunity for pests: They can get into open areas in your siding leaving room for not only water but also pests like ants and rodents to enter your home.

Don’t risk further damage; let MEI’s experienced team help with all your siding needs.

What To Do If You Spot Hail Damage

At the first sign of hail damage on your house, call in a professional like Minnesota Exteriors for a comprehensive evaluation. Whether the property is your family home or a commercial property with storm damage, leave it to professional contractors. It’s also helpful to get a good idea of the extent of the damage by doing a quick check of all reachable areas and documenting the damage with photos.

  • Take Photos: when you spot hail or wind damage to the siding, take photos of what you see! Having documentation, even if only for your personal records, could end up being helpful down the line.
  • Contact Contractor: when selecting a contractor, you’ll want a trusted company that has been in the business for a while. Prepare a list of questions to ask your contractor before having them out to your property so you can get a better sense of if they’re the right fit for you and your home.
  • Contact Insurance Agent: an experienced contractor like Minnesota Exteriors will work directly with your insurance company to alleviate stress and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Check Everywhere: when you think of bad hail damage, you might initially think of the roof, but damage can occur to nearly every exterior component of the home. In addition to the roof, your contractor should be checking all siding, gutters, downspouts, windows, doors, and chimneys.

Risk-Free, Hassle-Free Storm Damage Inspection From Minnesota Exteriors

Hail damage to your roof and siding is never fun to deal with, but when you partner with the right professionals the experience can be a whole lot less stressful. Choose a residential storm damage contractor you can trust to get the job done right the first time, a qualified contractor who is experienced in siding installation and replacement.

As the largest siding installation company in the Twin Cities, Minnesota Exteriors knows a thing or two about hail damage replacement. We’re family-owned for three generations, so we care about delivering excellent service and treating your home as if it were our own. Contact us today for a free estimate.