Weather Forecast


Half of all homes in New London will have new shingles and roof repairs because of extensive hail damage

Josh Gravley, from Home Builders Construction, says his crews will be busy re-shingling roofs until next summer in northern Kandiyohi County because of damage caused by the Aug. 6 hail storm. He was supervising a job Wednesday in New London, where nearly 100 permits have been obtained for storm-related repairs. Tribune photo by Carolyn Lange

NEW LONDON — Nearly two months after a hard-hitting hail storm pounded northern Kandiyohi County, contractors are still busy repairing residential and commercial buildings, and the work likely won’t be completed until next summer.

It’s expected that more than half of all the homes in the city of New London will have new shingles and roof repairs because of the extensive hail damage that took place Aug. 6, said Jim Solheid, New London building inspector.

“This is really unique,” said Solheid, adding that he’s never had so many permits at one time for a single storm event.

As of Wednesday morning the city had already received 95 permits for reshingling and more permits arrive daily.

When all is said and done, Solheid estimates there will be at least 150 permits for roof repairs issued by next spring from the New London city office because of the August storm that rained down large hail stones as big as baseballs around Sunburg, Norway Lake, Games Lake and New London.

The storm was part of a massive “supercell thunderstorm” that cut a swath across central Minnesota and into Wisconsin, according to the National Weather Service in Chanhassen.

Ed Pientka was in Alaska when the storm hit his home, near the Mill Pond in New London. He came back to find his roof, windows and doors damaged.

Crews from Home Builder Construction were ripping off damaged shingles from Pientka’s home on Wednesday.

“They’re moving pretty fast,” Pientka said of the three laborers who were working on his roof.

He was glad the repairs were being made before the winter weather set in but is still a bit peeved that he’d just put on new shingles four years ago. “They should’ve lasted 20 years,” he said.

Josh Gravley, from Home Builder Construction, said he’s never seen such widespread hail damage.

“The community has been hurt severely,” said Gravley.

The size of the hailstones made the damage easy to see.

“It was visible as soon as you’re up there (on the roof,” he said. “You don’t necessarily have to get on your hands and knees to see the damage.”

The hail caused the matting on shingles to breakdown, exposing the under-mat to moisture and other problems, he said.

Gravley estimates the average residential roof repair from the storm at $12,000.

That doesn’t include damage to siding, gutters and windows that many buildings also had.

Even though it’s been more than seven weeks since the storm hit, it takes time for homeowners to get an insurance settlement and line up a contractor, who may already have a long list of work promised.

“There’s a significant amount of damage in this area and only a few contractors in the area to get the work done, so obviously it’s going to take a lot of time,” said Gravley. “We’ll be busy for a while.”

Most roofs can be reshingled in a day, said Gravely, but because of the demand and the short season he’s trying to get the most severely damaged roofs done first before the rain, ice and snow season puts an end to the re-construction.

“We’re working as fast as we can,” he said.

So is Solheid.

He’s been doing three to six roof inspections every day since the storm, including an inspection when the shingles are torn off and when the job is completed.

Because contractors are so busy and won’t get to every building before winter, he said many of the permits will be held over until next year.

Solheid reminds homeowners that contractors should obtain the permits for the work. That allows Solheid an opportunity to check for a valid contractor’s license.

He said there has only been one incident reported in New London of a contractor who did not do a project correctly. The company was required to come back and redo the work properly, said Solheid.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750