Educating Yourself on the Condition of your Roof
There are several different roofing materials that are commonly used on roofs. Very few homeowners truly know how to gauge the age, condition or life expectancy of their roof. Cedar shakes are fairly easy to judge. If some shakes are missing, loose, hanging out of place or curled up on the ends, then it is a safe assumption that they are reaching the end of their life expectancy. If you are looking at a Hardy roof, the easy way to spot wear and tear is to stand back until you can see several shades of light areas – damage would look like spotted shingles. One of the most common shingles is the asphalt shingle. Damages include curling of tabs, gutters clogged with excessive granules and shingles that appear to be separated from each other. Metal roofs are probably the most difficult to analyze by an untrained eye and it is in the homeowner’s best interest to seek professional help.
It is important to remember that all of the different types of roof coverings may possibly qualify for an insurance claim. Call a professional that offers free roof inspections. A professional roofing company will guide you in the right direction if they feel as if there is an insurance claim, but not all companies will offer to assist in the claims process. It is important to remember to sudden wind occurrences either by named storms or CAT (catastrophic) dates. Most insurance companies will not raise your rates or drop you due to these natural events.
Clients often ask if their shingles are able to be cleaned. The answer is yes, but we recommend the use of soft brushes and low pressure in order not to loosen the granules. Another question heard often is if roofing companies offer free inspections. Most reputable companies are happy to offer their professional evaluation at no charge. You may wonder if shingles can be repaired. The answer is yes, but only done properly and the existing shingles are not brittle. Installing with tar does not qualify as a repair. If you are wondering why your roof does not seem to be lasting, it may often be a result of improper ventilation.
The best way to determine the status of your roof is to call a professional and let them offer their professional opinion. If you think you may need a roof replacement, it is not a better alternative to wait until the next hurricane season. If you think you may qualify for an insurance claim, the time to act is before the next hurricane season begins.
HOW ARE YOUR SHINGLES RATED?
The Atlantic Hurricane Season occurs from June 1 – November 30. Weather experts are predicting that 2018 will see 10-16 named storms, 5-9 hurricanes and 1 to 4 major hurricanes. Believe it or not, but this is considered an “average” hurricane season.
One of the most important things a homeowner can do is to protect their property. The first step is to find out if your property is built to withstand a hurricane. For example, what type of wind rating do your shingles have? 130 mph is the recommended rating. Bring loose or lightweight objects inside as well as trimming or removing trees that are close enough to fall on your house. If your home does not have hurricane shutters, an alternative is to board your windows. It is important to use 5/8” exterior grade or marine plywood. You may also want to consider caulking around both your windows and your doors. De-clutter drains and gutters and install check valves in the plumbing to prevent backups.
The other aspect of property protection is your insurance policy. This is an excellent time to review this – focusing on the declarations page. Do you know if your policy pays replacement cost or actual cash value? Do you know how much your deductible is? Keep your insurance policy documents, the claims department phone number and instructions on how to file a claim in a safe, storm proof location.
Being prepared is as much about knowledge as it is about action. Remember, there are industry experts that are available to guide you which will in turn alleviate some stress from a potentially very stressful situation.