Hail 101: The Basics

If you live in the Midwest, chances are you’ve seen hail at some point in your lifetime. Hail’s large, often spherical ice particles are created by thunderstorms when updrafts are strong enough to carry droplets of water above freezing level. When hailstones become too heavy, they fall to the ground like rain. Thunderstorms that produce hail are most likely to occur during the months of April-August, when warm, humid air causes an unstable air mass.

Wisconsin experiences about 30 to 40 thunderstorms a year. Approximately 34% of these thunderstorms produce hail with stones that are at least one inch in diameter. While hail can occur in any county, the southern half of Wisconsin has more recorded hail events than the rest of the state. Each summer, there are roughly 15 severe thunderstorms that produce hail greater than 1.5 inches in diameter.

Protect your property

In addition to your own safety, hail can wreak havoc on your personal property. In 2016, claims related to wind and hail damage accounted for close to 40% of all insured losses in the United States. Hail can cause significant damage to your vehicle by damaging windows and denting the exterior. Hail can also strip the foliage off your trees and shrubs, cause structural damage, dent and damage your roof and siding, break windows and cause interior water damage to your home.

To protect your property from hail damage, there are several options to consider.

  1. A hail-resistant roof contains “impact resistant” shingles that may be made of copper, resin, plastic or aluminum. This class 4 product meets the UL 2218 industry standard for testing shingles against hail impact.
  2. Consider storm shutters. These can protect your windows from hail damage and can save your home from interior water damage.
  3. No matter how much action you take to protect your property against hail damage, it is smart to secure dependable homeowners’ insurance.

Low Cost DIY Precautions

If you’re not looking spend a lot of money on things like shingles and shutters, take these DIY precautions to prevent hail damage.

  1. Trim dead or dying limbs from trees and larger shrubs to avoid them from falling on your home.
  2. Secure lawn furniture, grills and other outdoor items that may be susceptible to hail damage. Designate a space that you can easily access to provide shelter for these items when severe weather occurs.
  3. Use thick blankets to protect windows from getting cracked or shattered by large hail stones.  

What to do after the storm

Have you already experienced hail damage? There are several ways to repair damage caused by a hail event.

  • Small Dents: Heating and cooling methods such as applying dry ice, using a hair dyer or purchasing a dent removal kit can be effective in fixing small dents.
  • Damaged Siding: There are many wood fillers, hardeners and epoxies on the market to aid you in small repairs.
  • Vinyl or Aluminum Siding Damage: It is fairly easy to remove and replace a panel but if an entire side of your home has been damaged, you may want to consult a professional.
  • Roof Damage: Try applying a semi-liquid roof coating to fill in small dents and cracks. You can also replace damaged shingles without replacing your entire roof, as long as less than 10% of the surrounding shingles crack during the process.

If you have additional questions about hail damage or would like a free estimate, contact A Custom To, LLC at 414-376-5568.