Precautions to Take to Prevent or Minimise Hail Damage
Friday, June 20, 2014
With the increasing number of destructive hailstorms in Western Canada, most of us have suffered some expensive hail damage. If you want to prevent damage to your possessions or minimise the damage that will occur, there are certain steps you can take before the next hailstorm:
- This is the ideal time to ask professional roofers to check your roof for damage or weak spots that will leave it vulnerable to the next hailstorm. If it is currently in a poor condition, you might want to think of replacing the roof with one made of impact-resistant asphalt shingles. This is becoming a common roofing standard all over the world and it may even increase the value of your home. The roof checking should include the roof under which you park your vehicles, in case they are so weak that large hailstones can collapse them.
- Keep gutters clear of leaves, and make sure all gutters can lead large quantities of water so the melting hailstones can run off the roof. You cannot wait until the next storm before you do this, it should be one of your routine maintenance tasks around your house.
- While it is more exciting to build a swimming pool or entertainment deck, it is much more urgent to ensure that you have enough roofing to cover your car and recreational vehicles. If the garage is not large enough, think of building another one, or at least of covering outside parking bays with roofing.
- If you cannot afford roofing, you may be tempted to cover some outside space with plastic sheets or nets to keep the hailstones off your vehicles. Unfortunately, these are seldom strong enough to support the weight of heavy hailstones, which may cause them to collapse and crush the roof of your vehicles. This is a good idea only if you can organise water-resistant heating under the netting to melt the ice.
- Another strategy is to arrange some parking space with a neighbour who does have enough covered space for the vehicles of two households.
- Install storm doors and shutters outside all your glass doors and windows. If you cannot afford this, replace glass doors with wooden doors and/or install rails outside the windows with rolled-up plastic sheets to roll across them for cover.
- If your place of work does not have covered parking, arrange to park your car under cover at an office block or shopping mall nearby.
- Hail causes more damage to moving vehicles because of the speed at which both the car and the hailstone move. Plan your trips so you do not have to drive during hailstorms. If you have to travel on a day when hail is likely, keep plastic sheets or thick blankets in the car so you can cover it. This will not prevent dents, but will save the glass and minimise the denting and scratching.
The best strategy is to be prepared. Keep up to date with weather reports. Since hail forms in thunder clouds, watch out for large dark clouds and thunderstorms.