The Steps You Should Take to Protect Your Commercial Roof After a Hail Event
Sometimes flat roof hail damage and TPO hail damage isn’t noticed until water starts leaking into the building.
We’ve lived in Colorado and Wyoming for a long time, and we know the weather patterns. That is to say, there are no weather patterns! We’ve seen everything from snow in July to 85 degrees in January. Owning commercial property at high elevations means that you need to be ready for any kind of weather event at any time of the year. The biggest culprit when it comes to commercial roof damage is HAIL. It can tear a rooftop apart in one fell swoop, and sometimes the damage can be hard to identify until it’s too late. Flat roof hail damage and TPO hail damage are so common on the Front Range of Northern Colorado, but it doesn’t have to wreak havoc on your commercial property. Follow some simple guidelines after a hailstorm and you will thank yourself later.
Get a roof inspection right away. Even if the hailstones were small.
Timing is of the essence when it comes to identifying flat roof hail damage and TPO hail damage. On the next rainfall, if the damage has not been identified, water will infiltrate the structure and cause even more serious long-term damage. Flat rooftops are common in the commercial property world because they are great for housing operational building units such as air conditioners, swamp coolers, and air venting systems. But flat rooftops are… FLAT, so there’s nowhere for the hailstones to slide off. Therefore, the impact is very direct and more prone to causing dents — and even punctures — in the commercial rooftop.
Depending on the thickness of your TPO material, hail has the potential to rip through it. The smartest thing you can do is call a local commercial roofing contractor to stop by and inspect the rooftop for hail damage. Many commercial property owners will attempt to do their OWN inspection after a hailstorm. This is okay, but we simply don’t recommend it. It takes a trained eye to know where to look, what kind of damage requires what repairs, and gauge the overall health of the roof. Hiring a professional roofing contractor to do the inspection is smart, and not expensive at all. It also helps you to avoid accidents; getting up on a commercial roof is dangerous! If you insist on it, we simply ask that you have a proper pair of roofing boots, a good ladder, and someone there with you in case of an emergency. Long story short, just call a commercial roofing contractor to come out and inspect your roof for you.
Discuss the difference between cosmetic hail damage and functional hail damage.
This is another reason why we think it is best to have a professional inspect your roof after a hail event. There are two types of hail damage: cosmetic and functional. As you might guess, one is more about how your roof LOOKS and the other is more about how your roof WORKS. Functional damage usually requires immediate repair services, whereas cosmetic damages often can wait until a more convenient time. Knowing the difference between the two takes a trained eye, and it is important to acknowledge all of the damage after a storm.
Your professional commercial roofing contractor can give you a full damage report with recommended fixes and even a quote on what it will take to repair the damage. This is another benefit of getting your roof inspected by a professional — you get right down the nitty-gritty. Plus, you might need a quote for your insurance claim.
Take a ton of photos and make a record of the damage for your maintenance records.
The best time to get photos of the hail damage is right after the storm (but be careful because it is slippery and hailstones are likely everywhere). This sometimes can help expedite your insurance claims process, but it also is good to keep in your maintenance records. Front Range Roofing offers a “RAM Program” that tracks the condition of the commercial roof (along with offering maintenance at regular intervals and other critical roofcare). If your roofing contractor has a similar program, it is important to make sure they have all of the photographic evidence for the rooftop’s records. If they are the one that did the inspection, you can bet they are taking a lot of photos for you to review. Keep them on file for the sake of history, but you might also need them for your insurance claim.
If you have solar panels, make sure to include photos of any damage done to the panels (as that can be part of your insurance claim).
If the damage warrants it, contact your insurance agent and submit a claim.
If you own commercial property on the Northern Front Range of the Rockies, it is VERY important to make sure that hail is included in your comprehensive coverage. Sometimes it costs a bit more (especially in our region where hail is a regular thing), but it’s good to have. After your roof inspection, gather up all of the photos and a quote from your preferred vendor, and contact your insurance agent to submit your claim. If hail is included in your comprehensive coverage, the claim should go through without a hitch. Sometimes the insurance company will want to send their OWN team out for the inspection to make sure the damage is actually there. This is normal and part of their process. You do NOT need to use the insurance company’s preferred vendor. We suggest that you stick with the vendor that you use regularly. It is not legal for an insurance company to “force” you to use a specific vendor for your repairs. Use your trusted source. Once the claim is approved, you will receive a check for the quoted repairs and you can move forward with the repair project.
Do NOT wait. Time is of the essence when it comes to flat roof hail damage and TPO hail damage.
The biggest piece of advice we can give is: DO NOT WAIT. Even if the hailstones were only an eighth of an inch in diameter (BB size) — if the material is moving fast enough — it can puncture roofing materials (even TPO). Call your trusted commercial roofing contractor, get an inspection, get a quote, and get your claim in fast. If the hailstorm is big enough, your insurance agent will be awaiting your call.