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Dept Head: Rich Anderson
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Hail Damage FAQs

Asphalt Shingles

I have sand / aggregate in my gutters. Does that mean I need to replace my roof?

If you are finding sand or aggregate in your gutter, it doesn’t necessarily mean your roof needs replacement. Some amount of aggregate or sand loss is normal as the roof ages.

What determines if a roof needs replacement?

Insurance companies will look at a 10x10 area of roof, called a “square”, on all sides of the roof and will look for a certain number of hits. Typically, if a roof has 6-8 hits per square, then your roof might need replacement.

What determines a hit?

A hit is where the hail has impacted the shingle, knocking off the aggregate or sand layer and exposed the bare shingle beneath and potentially cracking it. Even if the shingle was not cracked during the initial impact, the now exposed shingle will start to dry out in the sun and lead to future cracking.

What factors contribute to hail damage?
  • Temperature: If it is warm outside your roof has a better chance of resisting damage. Cold roofs are less malleable and are more likely to sustain damage.
  • Density of the hail: Hard hail is firmer and more likely to cause damage. Hard hail can be distinguished as it keeps its shape after hitting the ground whereas soft hail loses its shape and “splats” when hitting the ground.
  • Size of the hail: If the hail was smaller than a nickel, it will likely not cause damage to the roof
  • Duration of the storm: The longer the storm, the more damage hail can do. A few hail stones versus 15-minutes of hail can make a huge difference.
Can roofs be repaired instead of replaced?
  1. Yes roofs can be repaired. In the City of Fort Collins there is no minimum threshold for a full roof replacement.
  2. If replacing an amount of shingles greater than the equivalent of 10’x10’/100 SF/ 1 Square, then a roofing permit is required.
  3. If less than half of the total shingles are damaged and replaced, they may be individually replaced with a shingle of the same impact resistance.
What kind of asphalt shingles are required in the City?

The City of Fort Collins requires all roofing projects choosing to use asphalt shingles to use Class 4 Impact Resistant shingles. Class 4 shingles are better able to withstand damage from hail and are tested up to 2” diameter hail. Using Class 4 shingles should provide homeowners will long-term savings through reduced insurance deductibles and possible insurance discounts. An additional benefit is reducing the amount of asphalt shingles sent to the landfill.

Are there different kinds of Class 4 asphalt shingles?

When choosing which Class 4 shingle, it is important to consider how it was constructed. Manufacturers can use different construction methods to achieve a Class 4 certification. Common methods include increasing the shingles thickness, adding polymers or adding styrene-butadiene rubber. While all Class 4 shingles must pass the same testing, the rubberized Class 4 shingles have shown to be the most durable and long-lasting and perhaps the best at withstanding hail.

Insurance Coverage

What is code upgrade coverage?

“Code upgrade” coverage, sometimes called “ordinance and law” coverage, insures you for the additional costs that may be incurred when your repair or replacement requires you to comply with current codes that may not have been in place when the roof was originally installed.  For example, if your roof was installed in 2008, Class 4 shingles were not a requirement.  By having code upgrade coverage, insurance pays for your roof to be brought up to current code.  If you don’t have code upgrade coverage, you may be responsible for the cost of the upgrade out of pocket.

Disposal Options

Are asphalt shingles recyclable?

Asphalt shingles are not considered recyclable in the state of Colorado and must be disposed of in an appropriate landfill. While there are methods to recycle asphalt shingles, used in other parts of the county, local attempts have proven unsuccessful.

Other Roofing Materials / Alternatives

Are there recyclable alternatives to asphalt shingles?

Yes! Metal and tile roofs can be recycled at their end of life and can be more durable against future hailstorms. Metal roofs are a fantastic choice for re-roof projects as their weight is comparable to asphalt shingles and they do not require a high load barring roof to support the weight. Tile roofs are significantly heavier and may require structural improvements to support the weight if they were not designed for it. Tile roofs are perhaps the most hail resistant, but even when metal roofs do sustain hail damage it is usually only cosmetic.