While we’re still basking in the glory of summer, winter is not far off bringing with it the possibility of snowstorms. Roof damage due to snowstorms can be devastating both emotionally and financially whether you’re a homeowner or business owner.
The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) offers the following information that will help you through the process of restoring your roof system.
Some points have been covered by Jottan in other newsletter articles but there is some information that is always worth repeating.
Selecting a roofing contractor
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Price is only one criterion for selecting a professional roofing contractor; professionalism and quality workmanship also must be considered. Take some time to evaluate potential contractors before any reroofing work begins.
A professional roofing contractor should have:
- A permanent place of business
- Knowledge of various roof systems
- Proof of insurance and an effective safety program
- Evidence of industry professionalism, such as proof of training, manufacturer certifications, association membership, business account balance statement, etc.
- Continuing industry education
- Financial stability
- A written proposal
- A license and/or be bonded
- References in your state (Proceed with caution if the contractor only provides out-of-state references.)
- A maintenance program
Beware of a contractor:
- Whose references are all out of state
- Who only wants cash
- Who wants money before materials are on site
- Who offers “specials” or “extra-cheap” work
Before making repairs
Unlike interior damage and external damage you can see at eye level, inspecting roof system damage involves climbing a ladder on a potentially unsound, storm-damaged structure. Be sure to proceed with caution, and do not attempt an inspection alone.
- Do not attempt to climb a ladder and assess roof damage in the dark.
- Wear sturdy shoes or boots, a long-sleeved shirt and work gloves.
- Except in extreme situations, do not attempt roof system repairs. The puncturing of a blister (shingle expansion caused by trapped gases such as air or water vapor) or the spreading of a coating or mastic covers up evidence a roofing contractor needs to ascertain the problem. Roof openings should be temporarily covered with tarpaulins to minimize snow and rain damage.
- For safety reasons, do not attempt to remove ice dams or shovel snow off your roof because you may cause more harm than good in some instances. The roof covering, flashings and gutters may be damaged during attempts to break up ice or by dragging a snow rake across the roof. Snow removal from a rooftop while standing on the ground typically results in snow being left on the roof’s higher sections, which may lead to ice-dam formation above where a water and ice-dam protection membrane is installed. Where snow and ice buildup on a rooftop is an urgent problem, it is preferable to have a professional roofing contractor address it.
- After a snowstorm, be aware of possible structural, electrical or gas-leak hazards in your home. Contact your local city or county building inspectors for information about structural safety codes and standards.
Prepare to file an insurance claim by gathering copies of your homeowner’s policy, or track down your policy number(s), and call your insurance company as soon as possible after the snowstorm. Your insurer will provide instructions about what to do next.
In a situation where a widespread disaster has occurred, the insurance company may establish special procedures. Keep your receipts for temporary repairs because your insurance company is likely to reimburse you. If your home is uninhabitable, find out whether living expenses will be reimbursed.
Special loans or grants may be available to assist you with repairs. Possible sources include:
- Federal Emergency Management Agency
- American Red Cross
- Small Business Administration (homeowners might qualify)
- Local governments
- Private lenders