Hail storms can damage your roof, gutters, vents and air conditioner units. But hail storm damage to vinyl siding may be difficult to detect without knowing what to look for. Insurance companies often need to differentiate between mechanical damage and hail damage, and homeowners need to be familiar with the evidence of hail related damage.
TWO COMMON TYPES OF HAIL STORM DAMAGE TO VINYL SIDING
Vinyl siding generally stands up well against severe weather. Lightweight and designed to withstand UV rays and extreme wind, vinyl siding can crack or chip when large, dense or fast-falling hailstones hit the panels.
Details of this damage includes:
• Cracks – siding panels crack in arched patterns, most often in unsupported sections between the ridge and valley.
• Chips – chips occur on the bottom of vinyl siding panels and can be seen best when viewing the panel from below.
These two types of siding damage are generally accepted as hail related, while other nicks, marks, gouges and breakage can result from mechanical incidents like grass cutting (rocks or pebbles fly up from the mower, hitting the vinyl siding with excessive force).
IS MY VINYL SIDING VULNERABLE?
Besides the size, density and speed of hailstones, there are certain factors that leave your vinyl siding more vulnerable to damage. You can control some of these factors and regular maintenance or inspections may alert you to potential risk, but your siding remains at the mercy of recurring storms.
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These three factors affect the risk level for hail related siding damage:
• Quality of the Siding – higher grade siding products, made in thicker profiles and with heavy-duty vinyl construction, are less prone to hail damage. Siding ranges in thickness from 0.35 to 0.55mm, and different manufacturers offer varying levels of quality in terms of the materials used.
• Age of the Siding – siding becomes brittle over time, and that level of brittleness leaves siding vulnerable to small, rapidly falling hailstones.
• Condition of the Siding – even high quality siding deteriorates due to UV ray exposure and all that nature throws at it. Walls that face south tend to absorb the majority of harmful exposure and may be more vulnerable than other sections.
Extensive interior damage may result from cracks or chips in your vinyl siding. Leaving the plywood, framing and insulation exposed to moisture can introduce mold and mildew, which results in expensive and upsetting repair bills in the future. Chips also allow pests to enter your home and any sort of siding damage creates an unsightly appearance for your property.
Be Clear on Your Insurance Coverage
Just as discussed when considering hail damaged asphalt shingles, you need to find out the extent of coverage regarding vinyl siding hail damage on your existing insurance policy.
In some cases an insurance company will pay to replace the siding on your entire home. In other cases, and more frequently, your coverage only extends to the damaged sections or damaged wall. Find this out beforehand and inquire about coverage additions if your existing policy is inadequate.
Be sure to hire only reputable, local companies for siding damage repairs. These firms offer solid customer service and proven experience, everything you need to repair hail storm damage to vinyl siding.