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Recent Hail Storms in Southwest Michigan May Have Damaged Your Roof, Can Your Roof Handle It?

hail damage

Hey there, Southwest Michigan homeowners! Mother Nature sure has thrown some curveballs at us lately, hasn’t she? Especially with those fierce hail storms in Battle Creek and Plainwell in the last few years and now more recently in Freeport & Three Rivers. As a seasoned roofing contractor who has lived and worked in this area for over 25 years, I can tell you – our roofs take a serious beating during these events. It’s vital to understand the impact and what we can do about it.

The Impact of Hail Storms on Roofs

Direct Damage and Long-term Impact

If you’ve ever been caught in a hail storm, you know how much those icy stones can sting. Now, imagine your roof absorbing that same punishment. The direct damage is pretty obvious. The hail can knock off shingle granules, dent metal roofs, and even crack skylights or more.

But then there’s the damage you don’t see immediately. The missing granules expose your shingles to sunlight, causing them to deteriorate faster. That hail dent can become a weak spot on your metal roof, susceptible to leaks over time.

I once worked on a house in Battle Creek then right after the project was completed the June 2020 (referenced here by Mlive.com) hail storm hit. The hailstones, about the size of golf balls, had severely damaged the home. Seeing the amount of damage was obviously upsetting for the homeowners but knowing they had a local experienced insurance restoration contractor like Character Exteriors…made things a little easier!

More recently we saw some absolutely vicious hail in Lake Odessa, Michigan which blew out car windows, windows on homes, and damaged roofs, siding and much more. 

These homeowners are in a very rural area and the amount of companies on the ground within days knocking on doors was wild.  There were companies from all over Michigan trying to get homeowners to sign contingency agreements to be able to speak on their behalf to their insurance carriers.  This is not a great idea as it gives these contractors complete power in this situation and takes away a lot of control from the property owner.  We were referred to homeowners in this area and after doing a good job for one we were able to sign (5) projects within days thereafter.  The majority of the damage from this storm was very specific to the Jordan Road area in Lake Odessa and directly in line with Charlton Park area near Thornapple Lake.

Damage Specifics

Usually, the most affected areas are the shingles, gutters, and flashings on and near the roof of the structure. The hail storm we had in Plainwell in August 2021 (see the follow up damage from this Mlive.com article) was a perfect example. The size and speed of the hailstones were enough to dislodge gutters and make Swiss cheese out of aluminum flashings and the lawn, it was insane!  Damage is often rounded in the shape of a dime but can also be odd shapes depending on the stones that fell.  Hail damage can be hard to see from far away so you may need a licensed professional to provide an assessment and document the damage on your property.

Signs Your Roof May Have Been Damaged by a Hail Storm

Ground-level Signs

Often, you can identify hail damage from your yard. Gutters may have dents, or in severe cases, may be hanging awkwardly or completely knocked off. Vents, flashings, or skylights may also show signs of damage.  Large amounts of roofing debris or granules on the ground help to shed light on this damage as well.  You can check out areas around windows and doors to looks for dents and dings in these flashings which if there, are most times indicative that you will also see damage at the higher elevations of the roof (hail storms are directional according to the National Weather Service).

Indoor Signs

Sometimes, your living room ceiling does the talking. Stains, spots, or outright leaks can be indicative of roof damage. However, always remember to get a professional to inspect your roof thoroughly. The true extent of the damage is best understood from up there. Trust me, I’ve seen it all, raccoons coming from outside in, collapsed chimneys that no one knew were collapsed, and so much more (check out our YouTube channel for more inspection videos!).

Can Your Roof Handle It? An Assessment of Roof Resilience

Depending on what your roof is made of, its resilience to hail damage can greatly vary. For instance, metal roofs and asphalt shingles are generally tougher than wood shingles and tile roofs.  This is based on their obvious differences in material make-up and is also measured in a scale called impact rating.  A Class 1 thru Class 4 process exists which helps identify materials suited for what are considered “storm markets”.  Products that have been developed to withstand hail such as GAF ArmorShield II Class 4 Impact Rated “Rubber” shingle.  But it’s not just about the material – it’s also about the age, maintenance, and how well the roof was installed. Even the sturdiest materials can fail if not properly maintained or installed.

What To Do If Your Roof Is Damaged?

If you find your roof damaged after a hail storm, it’s crucial to act promptly. Document the damage, and contact your insurance company. Then get a professional roofing contractor (like yours truly) on board.

Depending on the damage, your roof may need repair or replacement. Also, your insurance may cover hail damage, so understanding your policy is crucial.  Our local & experienced roofing contractors are experts in storm restoration and we can guide you thru the entire process.

Prevention and Future Protection

Regular maintenance and inspection can go a long way in keeping your roof hail-ready. It’s also advisable to invest in high-quality, hail-resistant materials. A stitch in time saves nine, right?  When the time does come to replace your homes roof using a Class 4 impact rated material may be something to consider due to the climate we are dealing with in the last few years in West Michigan has produced some large hail storms I had personally never heard of until the last 3-5 years.


Hail storms, like the recent ones in Lake Odessa, Battle Creek and Plainwell, can wreak havoc on your roof almost no matter the type of roof material. But with a good understanding of their impact, proper response, and preventive measures, we can ensure our roofs have the best chance to survive damage. If you need any help, don’t hesitate to reach out we are always here to help answer any questions!


  • How do I identify hail damage? Look for dented or dislodged gutters, dents on vents and flashings, stains or spots on your interior ceiling.
  • Is hail damage covered by insurance? Most homeowner insurance policies cover hail damage, but it’s always best to check with your insurance provider.
  • What materials are most resistant to hail damage? Metal roofs and high-quality asphalt shingles generally offer better hail resistance.
  • How often should I inspect my roof? It’s good practice to inspect your roof at least twice a year, and after each severe weather event.
  • Can I inspect or repair my roof myself? For safety and accuracy, it’s recommended to have a professional inspect and repair your roof.

Remember, when it comes to hail damage, a proactive approach is the best defense. Stay safe, Michigan!

About the Author

I am a seasoned roofing contractor with over 20 years of experience in residential roofing services in Southwest Michigan. Have questions? Need a professional roof inspection or service? Reach out – I’m here to help.

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