Originally Posted By: dfrend
This post was automatically imported from our archived forum.
OK, I promised on the hail damaged roof thread to post on this too.
Again, most of this info is heavily researched by HAAG engineering.
Many claims of hail damage are claimed by homeowners each year, many of which only because a contractor is going door to door looking for work after a storm came through. As a home inspector, I would not go looking for this, but you should know what to look for. If you go looking for damage and think a dent might be hail, the owner selling may be pushed to file a claim to cover repairs, if it is found to not be hail by the insurance adjuster (yes they know what they are looking at, see the roof post for the qualifications) then your client may have a problem insuring the house if it is seen as a higher risk. So tread carefully on this issue.
First, hail storms come from one direction. Just like rain comes down at an angle depending on the direction of the storm so does hail. Look for a pattern of hail, not just a dent or two. Look at every elevation closely, spray some water on the siding and look at an angle for dents. This mostly applies to aluminum. If it is vinyl there won't be dents but chips missing. No cracks, no hail damage. hail damage will usually be noted on one or two elevations. Check ALL soft metals for dents. Flashing, ridge vents, pipe jacks, etc. On aluminum siding there will often be oxidation marks around hits. This is a discolored area. It kind of looks like someone sprayed the siding.
The dents will be round and slight. there will not be scratches. If there is a scratch of the paint then this indicates the damage was done by metal or rock striking. These are not wear and tear unless it was a sudden accident and NOT covered under insurance. Also if you see dents, look up. Some folks will take a screwdriver and hammer and dent the siding to try and get insurance payout, they usually do it around the bottom where they can reach and leave above there head untouched. Hail will hit above a persons head.
If you notice dents try and see if you can determine if it came from one direction. Lets say you see dents on the rear and right. That would indicate the storm came towards the house from the rear and towards that corner. You should not see the same damage to the front and left elevation. Also look at the AC compressor. Is there dings to the fins consistent with the direction?
Hope the info helps you know what hail may present as. I have one more related thing that may be noticed by you inspecting a home. Insurance companies pay to put what was there back. So say the above scenario had aluminum 8" flat white siding 20 years old, no texture. That is still one of the most widely used products. So it is available. Therefore, if only the rear and right were damaged, only that siding would be replaced. The siding for at least a year or two would not match. It wouldn't match until the new siding weathered.
You may see this with aluminum or vinyl. Basically, it just means some siding was damaged and the same siding was available. The insurance will not pay to replace it all because the new won't initial match the weathered. What they will totally replace is any siding where the ORIGINAL color and texture or size are no longer made (in most cases). So if you see two different color sidings, it may be because of this. Find a joint in the siding and look behind it at the covered piece underneath or look under some J channel at less exposed siding. This should show the original color which should be close to the new siding. The new siding should weather to match after a while.
OK, as promised, there it is. Any more structural damage questions, let me know.