Hailstorms are rare enough that people usually don't take precautions against them, but this ensures that every storm leaves thousands of dollars of damage in its wake. If you want to keep your home and yourself safe during a hail storm, you need to know how to prepare and what you can do during the storm to stay safe.
Keep Yourself Safe First
Before you worry about how to protect your home, you should first consider how to protect yourself in the event of a hailstorm. The most important rule to remember is that you should never, ever go outside when it's hailing. In severe storms, you could be seriously injured or even killed by falling hail stones as big as softballs. If you have advance notice of a hailstorm, be sure you only go outside when you know you have plenty of time before it hits your home.
If you're caught outside in hail, try to get into your car or underneath any sort of overhang like a porch or a storefront. Though it may be tempting to try and hurry home to protect both yourself and your car, you should never drive during hail. If there are no cars or buildings nearby, you should huddle underneath a tree and put your hands over your head to protect it.
Protect Your Roof With The Right Shingles
The weakest and most exposed part of your roof is the layer of shingles on top. Most homes nowadays are topped with 3-tab shingles, but these will not stand up to even a mild hail storm without sustaining permanent damage. If hail is common in your area, consider investing in T-lock or architectural shingles, which are both more likely to stand up to moderate hail without being damaged.
If you have advanced notice of an approaching hail storm, you should prepare any sensitive areas of your roof, such as TV aerials, satellite dishes, and chimneys. If you can take down your satellite dish, do so; otherwise, wrap these exposed places in several layers of blankets. If you want to waterproof them, you can also add tarps on the outside. Needless to say, don't try to use your fireplace or satellite TV until you've had time to remove your hail protection after the storm.
Secure Your Windows Inside And Out
Windows are extremely sensitive to weather damage. Even reinforced storm windows can shatter in a severe hailstorm, so you should never leave your windows uncovered if you know one is headed your way. If you have time, board your windows up on the outside to keep hailstones from striking them directly. In a pinch, you can also tape several layers of cardboard over the outside of the windows, though this will not offer near as much protection as wood will.
If you don't have time to board up your windows before the hail storm hits, or if your home is hit by one unexpectedly, take steps to protect yourself inside. Make sure to have your curtains or blinds drawn throughout the storm—that way, if a window is broken, the pieces of glass are less likely to be blown into your home. Move away from windows that break during a severe storm, as debris and hailstones may come in from the outside and injure you.
Don't take any risks with a hail storm. You might be tempted to go outside and move your car to a better location or try to board up the windows, but the real damage prevention happens before the storm. The best place to be once stones start falling is indoors with a sturdy roof over your head. Contact a roofing company, like Acoma Roofing, for more advice or help protecting your roof.