Roofing Tips: Granules and Hail Damage

What are granules anyway? Do they serve a purpose, or are they just for looks? Can hail cause damage to them? Jared answers a homeowner’s question about granules, hail damage and more!

All right, let's go to a text question here. It says, "What is the purpose of the gritty surface on shingles? Is it only for fall protection? Can a home inspection fail for shingles with grit washed away?" Very good questions.

The grit on the shingles is called granules. They serve two primary purposes. One is aesthetic. If it didn't have the granules on it, then it would just be black asphalt, and everybody would have ugly black roofs with no variation of color. One purpose is the aesthetic part of functionality of the roof.

The second purpose of the granules is to protect the asphalt. It's actually a UV protectant. If shingles didn't have the granules on them, then the asphalt would be exposed and the sun would wear out that asphalt very quickly. In fact, the more the asphalt is protected from the UV rays, the longer that material will last. Those granules are there to protect the asphalt.

You bring up a third purpose, which is fall protection. I hadn't actually even thought of that. It is true that the granules, being a gritty surface or having the different pieces, do help with not slipping, but that is not one of the primary purposes.

Part of what we look at with granules is that as a roof ages, the granules will come off over time. Then also, here in Florida, that could point to a larger issue which is that we often have a significant amount of hail storms each year. If you are having a lot of granule loss, or if you're noticing a lot of granules down in your gutters or at the end of your downspouts washing away, that very possibly is a sign that your roof has received hail damage.

A lot of people don't even know their homes have received hail damage. Whether it happened at night, while they were away at work or they saw the hail, they didn't realize that it actually had an effect on their roof. When it hails, the individual hail pieces fall out of the sky and hit the shingles. Shingles are layers of asphalt and fiberglass with the granules on top. Hail forces those granules down into the asphalt and then loosens the granules. Sometimes it actually breaks the fiberglass of the shingles, and loosens the granules. Then when it rains, the rain washes away those granules in little, circular, hail shaped areas.

Overall, it is very possible that that granule loss is a sign of age, a larger issue like hail damage, or there could be some manufacturing anomaly in the shingle. Either way, with any of those, I would recommend that you have it inspected. If you call our office, we can send one of our technicians out to take a look at it. We always look at it for free, and we can tell the difference between normal aging granule loss and hail damage granule loss. If there is hail damage, we would help you through the process of dealing with your insurance company, because many insurance companies would cover that, and pay for it. You possibly, for a very reasonable amount of money, like your deductible and upgrades, would be able to replace that roof.

Go to Part II - Granules and Roof Inspections

Read more about hail damage and our FREE Severe Weather Evaluation on our website. Listen Saturday mornings to "In the House". Get more Home Tips and show info at the In the House website. For a free inspection and estimate on your next Home Improvement Project, visit Universal Roof & Contracting or call now. Orlando: 407-295-7403 Jacksonville: 904-647-3907.

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