Roofing felt, also known as tar paper, is a material commonly used in roofing applications to provide an extra layer of protection against water damage and to prevent leaks. It is typically made of a thick, heavy-duty paper that is saturated with asphalt or bitumen. While roofing felt is designed to withstand various weather conditions, one question that often arises is whether hail can damage this material. In this article, we will explore the potential impact of hail on roofing felt and discuss the factors that can contribute to its damage.
Understanding the Basics of Roofing Felt
Roofing felt is an essential component of many roofing systems, especially in areas prone to heavy rainfall or snowfall. Its main purpose is to serve as a vapor barrier, preventing moisture from seeping into the underlying structure or insulation. Additionally, it provides an extra layer of protection against leaks and acts as a buffer between the roof deck and the final roofing material, such as shingles or tiles.
The Composition and Durability of Roofing Felt
Roofing felt is typically manufactured using a base material, commonly cellulose or polyester, which is then saturated with asphalt or bitumen. This impregnation with asphalt gives the felt its water-resistant and durability properties. The thickness of the felt can vary, usually ranging from 15 to 30 pounds per roll, with thicker options offering better protection against potential damage.
Hail, which is created during severe thunderstorms when strong upward drafts carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere, can vary in size from tiny pellets to larger stones. The potential for hail damage to roofing felt largely depends on the size, speed, and density of the hailstones.
The size of hailstones is a crucial factor in determining the extent of damage they can cause to roofing felt. Smaller hailstones, such as those less than half an inch in diameter, are less likely to cause significant damage to a well-installed and adequately protected roofing felt. However, larger hailstones, measuring over an inch in diameter or more, can potentially cause tears or punctures in the felt.
Speed and Density
Apart from size, the speed and density of hailstones also play a role in their ability to damage roofing felt. Hailstones propelled by strong winds or falling from a greater height will have more force upon impact, increasing the likelihood of damage. Additionally, denser hailstones, which are often larger and more solid, can cause more severe damage to the roofing felt compared to softer, lighter hail.
Mitigating Hail Damage
While it is difficult to completely prevent hail damage to roofing felt, there are measures that can be taken to minimize its impact.
Ensuring the proper installation of roofing felt is the first line of defense against hail damage. The felt should be installed securely, with overlapping layers and proper sealing at all edges and seams. This will provide better protection and reduce the chances of hail penetrating the roofing felt.
Using impact-resistant roofing materials, such as hail-rated shingles, can offer an additional layer of protection to the underlying roofing felt. These shingles are designed to be more resistant to hail damage and can help reduce the risk of damage to the roofing felt.
Regular Maintenance and Inspection
Regular maintenance and inspections of the roof can help identify any early signs of hail damage to the roofing felt. Timely repairs or replacement of damaged sections can prevent further deterioration and potential leaks.
While roofing felt is designed to withstand various weather conditions, it is not completely immune to potential hail damage. The size, speed, and density of hailstones are significant factors that influence the impact on the roofing felt. Taking preventive measures, such as proper installation, using impact-resistant materials, and regular maintenance, can greatly reduce the risk of hail damage to roofing felt and ensure the longevity and effectiveness of the roofing system.