Metal roofs are known for their durability and longevity. Made from materials like steel, aluminum, copper, or zinc, metal roofs can withstand all kinds of weather.
But what about hail? Can hail damage a metal roof? Those balls of ice can cause serious damage when they start pelting down in a storm. While metal roofs are very durable, large hailstones can still cause dents, punctures, and damage that may require repairs.
Here's what you need to know about hail and metal roofs.
Hail starts as simple frozen raindrops. But as those drops get knocked around in thunderstorm updrafts, they can collect additional layers of ice and grow larger and larger. Once hailstones reach about 1 inch in diameter, they can start to cause problems for metal roofs. The kinetic energy from those falling chunks of ice can leave dings and dents in the roof.
Small dents aren't necessarily a cause for concern. But larger hailstones, 2 inches or bigger, can cause significant damage. Picture a golf ball-sized hailstone smacking your roof at 50+ mph. That's a lot of force! So, while metal itself is hardy, it's not completely impervious to the power of serious hail.
In extreme hail events, with very large hailstones, the damage may go beyond just dents. Large hailstones can potentially puncture holes right through metal roofing panels. Researchers testing the hail resistance of different metal roofs found that hailstones approximately 2 inches in diameter could pierce through many common metal roofing materials.
So, if you experience a wild hail storm with enormous hail, there's a chance it could penetrate a metal roof. The good news is that most hail storms aren't that extreme. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, hail larger than 2 inches in diameter is considered "severe" and is relatively uncommon.
One way metal roofing manufacturers try to improve hail resistance is by adding protective coatings. Many metal roofs have a coated underside, which helps absorb some of the impact from hailstones. The coated side is also less prone to dents and piercings than bare metal.
Some metal roofs also have acrylic or urethane coatings added on top. This can help reduce denting from smaller hail. Coatings help, but they're not a foolproof guard against hail damage. Extremely large hail can still cause punctures and holes. But for average hail events, the coatings provide an extra layer of defense.
Not all metal roofs are created equal when it comes to hail resistance. One factor that makes a difference is the gauge, or thickness, of the metal panels. Thicker steel and aluminum roofing panels hold up better against hail. Thinner metals weigh less and cost less but dent more easily.
Copper and zinc are naturally thinner and more prone to dents from hail impacts. If you live in an area with frequent severe hail storms, choosing a sturdier, thick-gauge metal panel will provide better protection. Many metal roofing manufacturers offer heavy-duty panels specifically designed for hail resistance.
If your metal roof does suffer some battle damage from a storm, all is not lost. Minor dings and dents can often be pounded out and smoothed over. Damaged roof panels can frequently be replaced without needing to redo the whole roof. Metal roofs are meant to be long-lasting investments. With some repairs here and there, they can still provide decades of reliable performance after being pelted with hail.
The bottom line is that while metal roofs are very durable, they're not completely invincible against the extreme power of large hail. But they hold up better than most other roofing options. With protective coatings and using thicker gauge materials, metal roofs can successfully weather even severe hail storms. A few dings are no match for quality steel.
Stay safe out there in storm season. And remember - if the hail gets big enough to damage a metal roof, maybe go park the car in the garage!
About The Cranston Roofers
The Cranston Roofers is a GAF-certified contractor with over twenty years of on-the-job experience. The company offers 24/7 emergency roof repair, residential and commercial services, and affordable rates. Please call (401) 208-2324 to arrange a FREE inspection.
How well do metal roofs handle hail?
Metal roofs are typically quite resistant to hail damage thanks to their durable materials, but large hailstones over 2 inches in diameter can potentially puncture holes in metal roofing panels. Thicker gauge metal and protective coatings help improve hail resistance for metal roofs.
What is the biggest problem with metal roofs?
The main downside of metal roofs is their higher upfront cost compared to other roofing materials like asphalt shingles. Though durable and long-lasting, metal roofing is expensive to initially install, often costing 2-3 times more than a traditional shingle roof.
What type of roof is best for hail?
Metal roofs are typically the best roofing material for resisting hail damage, as the metal can dent but is less likely to puncture or break compared to tile or composite roofs. Thick, hail-resistant metal roofing panels combined with protective coatings provide the most durable defense against hail impacts and damage.
Do metal roofs get hit by lightning more?
Metal roofs are sometimes believed to attract more lightning strikes because of their conductive metal material. However, research shows that metal roofs do not attract or cause more lightning hits compared to other roof types. The metal actually helps conduct lightning safely to the ground if a house is hit. Properly grounded metal roofs are recommended to protect against lightning damage, as electricity can travel along the metal surface rather than through the house.