Storms are a seasonal drama in many countries, but certain parts of the US are especially prone to big storms. Southern states like Florida, Texas, Louisiana, the Carolinas, and Alabama lie in the path of several major hurricanes each year. Major storms can cause millions of dollars’ worth of damage, much of it affecting homeowners.
When a hurricane barrels through, it’s time to batten down the batches and pray your roof survives. Oftentimes, unless the storm is a category 5 hurricane, your home will live to see another day. But if you are very unlucky or the storm is especially ferocious, there is a risk your roof will sustain major damage. In this instance, is it better to repair or replace? Let’s find out.
Assess the Damage
The first task following a storm is to assess the damage. Go outside once the weather has abated and perform a visual check. Look for signs of structural damage, missing shingles, and visible holes. Obviously, if you return to your property and discover the roof has blown into the next county, then there won’t be a lot you can do, but less serious damage can often be fixed.
A visual check should reveal any problem areas. Use a pair of binoculars if your eyesight isn’t too good or your roof is higher than one level. Check valleys, angles, and outer edges of your roof. Storm damage often hits vulnerable areas like these first. Check the garden area for misplaces pieces of metal trim and misplaced shingles. A roofing contractor might be able to use these when he comes to carry out a repair.
Next, head into the attic and look for signs water has come in or there are small holes. Even the smallest hole needs fixing, as water can cause significant damage in the long-term.
Did you hear heavy hail during the storm? If so, check for hail damage. Large hail can really pound soft shingles, leaving impressions and dimples. Make a note if you spot any problem areas.
Repair a Roof
If the damage caused is relatively minor, it won’t be necessary to replace the roof. Since it is always cheaper to repair rather than replace, an insurance company won’t recommend replacing unless there is serious structural damage. In the event you are not insured, speak to several contractors before you make a decision. If a repair is all that’s needed, consider whether you can do the work yourself. But if you have no equipment or experience, it’s best to use a qualified contractor such as Advantage Construction.
Contact Your Insurance Company
For serious damage, contact your insurance company. An insurance company will want to make their own assessment, so don’t ring any contractors until you have spoken with them. If you need to carry out any emergency repair work, such as covering a gaping hole in the roof, keep any receipts for labor and materials, so you can put in a reimbursement claim later.
Some insurance companies require that you use a contractor from their list. Others give you free rein as long as the contractor is certified. Ask your claims agent what to do next so you don’t end up invalidating your claim.