Have you ever thought about the long-term cost savings of a hail-resistant roof? At GreenPoint Roofing, one of the common types of roof damage we encounter is damage caused by hail. For homeowners across Colorado, hail is an inevitable reality. Known as ‘hail alley,’ the Front Range of Colorado and the Eastern Plains of Wyoming experience the highest frequency of big hailstones in all of North America. If you live in this high-risk zone, it is well worth investing in some extra protection for your roof.
Adding Up the Cost of Hail Damage
Hailstones cause an astronomical level of damage to cars, homes, and property each year. It is estimated that over the last decade, hailstorms have cost over 1.7 billion dollars in damages. Depending on the policy of your home or car insurance, you may end up paying to fix these damages out of pocket. The worst time of year for hail damage in Colorado is between mid-May and late July. If you act right away, you may be able to make some adjustments in time to protect your home from expensive hail damage.
Hailstorms may be inevitable, but hail damage to your roof is not. With the right materials and design, you can give your roof the protection it needs. With our extensive experience in the roofing business, we have come to understand what makes a roof hail-resistant. The most important thing to avoid when trying to reinforce your roof against hail is re-roofing over existing shingles. For best results, remove the old shingles and replace them rather than just installing new shingles on top of the old ones.
Choosing the Correct Shingles
We are happy to share with you the most tried and tested methods of hail-proofing your roof. Firstly, you need to pay attention to the type of shingles used on your roof. Generally, shingles made with polymer-modified asphalt will be more resistant than those made from conventional oxidized asphalt. A more precise way to measure the hail-resistance of shingles is to use the ‘Test Standard UL 2218’.
In 1996 Underwriters Laboratories designed a method to test roofing materials by dropping steel balls onto them and then classified them according to their hail resistance on a scale of 1 to 4. When shopping for shingles, you can compare the UL rating of different materials. A standard wooden shake will probably receive a Class-1 UL rating, due to its high susceptibility to damage from hailstones. Polymer-modified asphalt or concrete tiles are most likely to boast the highest rating of Class-4 UL due to their strength and resistance.
The Right Roof Design
Another factor that contributes significantly to hail-resistance is the pitch of your roof. Flatter roofs will suffer from a more forceful impact when hit by hailstones. Steeper roofs benefit from the inclined angle, as the hailstones are more likely to glance off the roof, saving it from having to absorb the full force of impact. A roof pitch over 6:12 will offer better resistance to hail damage.
Additionally, for maximum protection, you should opt for rigid roof decking. Tongue and groove style decking or well-supported plywood sheathing will give the shingles extra support. Using a thin, single layer underlayment is another way to fortify a shingle roof. Modern materials are thinner, stronger and allow for better air permeation than traditional asphalt-saturated roofing felts.
If you have the chance to install an entirely new roof or drastically remodel the structure of your home, you can incorporate the advice given on shingle type, roof pitch, decking and underlayment to create the optimum design for a hail-resistant roof. The reality for most homeowners, unfortunately, is that changing all the roof decking material and the pitch of a roof is costly, time-consuming, and unrealistic. For existing roofs, the easiest way to improve their hail resistance is to update the underlayment material and change your old roofing for high-quality shingles with a better UL rating.
Can I Really Save Money?
Some homeowners may ask if it is worth it. The cost of tearing off your existing roof and installing new underlayment and hi-tech shingles is substantial. If you plan to remain living in the house for the next 20 years and suffering through another 20 years of hailstorms then yes, it is in fact, worth it to invest in a hail-resistant roof. But how can you be certain of the long-term savings?
A standard asphalt shingle roof with a life expectancy of 20 years will cost approximately $1,800. For homeowners in ‘hail alley,’ a typical asphalt roof with no additional hail-resistance modifications can need replacing about every 7 years. Over the span of 20 years, the homeowner can end up paying a total of $5,400 out of pocket, or an average of $270 per year. Homeowners opting for Class-4 polymer modified asphalt shingles can expect to pay around $2,500 for their hail-resistant roof. Although this appears to cost much more, the hail-resistant roof has a life expectancy of 30 years and is much less likely to need replacement over this timespan.
A Worthwhile Investment
If you are willing to make the early investment in purchasing a hail-resistant roof, you will benefit from an overall lower cost in the long run. As if this wasn’t encouragement enough, insurance companies are also eager for their customers to choose higher quality roofs if they are in areas with frequent hailstorms. Most insurance companies will reward their customers either with a cash incentive or an overall reduction in your yearly premium for choosing hail-resistant shingles. Immediate cash incentives can be as high as $500, and premium reduction as high as 25%.
Overall, the long-term cost savings of a hail-resistant roof are undeniable. When you combine, the money saved over the roof’s lifetime, and the great discounts you will receive from your insurance company, it’s a no-brainer! If you live in an area hit by hailstorms, such as the Front Range of Colorado, it really does make sense to make the switch to a hail-resistant roof. In addition to saving money, you will also save yourself the hassle of having to get your roof repaired or replaced so often. For more information on making the change to a hail-resistant roof before the upcoming summer hail season, contact GreenPoint Roofing.