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2015 IBHS Hail Field Study

Significant hailstorms result in millions—and sometimes billions—of dollars in damages to commercial roofs, siding, and outdoor and roof-mounted equipment. Get the latest facts and figures on this costly phenomenon and find out how to reduce damage to your property.

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roofer-trusses

The average lifespan of some roofs is 20 years, however roofs in severe hail-prone areas often must be replaced every seven to 10 years. An IBHS review of research and testing related to hail damage indicates that there is considerable variation in the impact resistance of different types of roof coverings.

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hail-stones

IBHS research found there is considerable variation in the impact resistance of different types of roof coverings. Lab tests and field observations indicate that most commercial roof coverings are not typically damaged by hail less than 1.25 in. in diameter, however, 3-tab asphalt shingles may be damaged by hail as small as 1 in.

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2015 IBHS Hail Field Study

IBHS is continuing a multi-year, major field research effort started in 2012 to study hailstorms with the goal of reducing property losses and improving weather forecast models and radar detection of hail. As part of this effort, IBHS is studying hailstorms in the Central Plains region in an attempt to better understand the characteristics of damaging hail, which depends on size, shape, density and hardness of hailstones. The field study provides valuable data and insights for shaping ongoing work at the IBHS Research Center.

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Hail cannons are shown being installed on the catwalk at the IBHS Research Center.

Scientists and technicians recreated the first-ever, full-scale hailstorm in the IBHS Research Center’s large test chamber. Researchers created more than 9000 hailstones that were used in the demonstration and were able to closely mimic hail conditions present in a typical supercell thunderstorm that produces hail. IBHS engineers worked from 2010 to 2013 to develop the test protocol and customized equipment that allowed scientists to conduct full-scale hail testing.

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IBHS Researchers mark where the hail damaged the asphalt shingles.

A series of severe thunderstorms with hail passed through portions of the Dallas/Fort Worth metropolitan area on May 24, 2011 causing significant damage. Several studies were conducted to study the impact of hail on roofs. Seven inspection teams examined over one hundred roofing systems during a four-day period in June 2011. The purpose of the project was to document the effects of hail impact on a variety of roofing products, and to describe roof assembly performance and modes of damage for substantiated hailstone sizes.

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