What do you do after a catastrophe?
After a catastrophe hits, the real journey begins. It can take months to repair damage inflicted upon your home and knowing how to guard against unnecessary expenses and preserve the integrity of your home is critical in the days and weeks after the dust settles.
Once the wind, rain and flood waters have receded it’s time to pick up the pieces and begin the process of repairing your home. One of the most vulnerable parts of your home in any weather event is the roof. Here’s 5 tips on how to repair your roof.
1. Limiting Damage. A critical responsibility of homeowners is to limit the damage. Contractors can provide emergency remedies to stop leaks that can cause further damage to your home and personal property. The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Operation Blue Roof will also install temporary fiber-reinforced sheeting to protect damaged roofs at no charge to the homeowner or tenant. For more details on Operation Blue Roof, including eligible locations and how to apply, visit the FEMA website or the temporary roofing page of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
2. Contractor Quote. After reporting the loss to your insurance carrier, you may be asked to get a quote from a contractor to complete the repairs. Some insurance carriers have a network of approved service providers to choose from but if not, you will need to find a contractor on your own. Following major storms, some contractors go door-to-door offering their services, but it is important to contact your insurance carrier before agreeing to have any replacement work done. Many states have online sites where you can check contractor credentials, and online sites like HomeAdvisor.com are good sources for finding contractors which provide ratings and feedback from other homeowners.
3. Assess the quote. Once you have received a quote from a contractor how can you tell if it’s the right price? Contractors generally quote by the “square”. In roofing, a square is equal to 100 square feet and most roofing materials are priced by some increment of a square. By knowing the area of your roof and how many squares that translates into you can verify that the scope of the job is not overestimated. Most contractors do not climb onto the roof to take measurements prior to quoting. Roof reports, such as the CoreLogic® SkyMeasure™ Roof Report, which provide detailed measurements of all aspects of a roof based on low altitude aerial images, can provide you with the details you need to validate contractor estimates.
4. Be wary of demand surge. Keep in mind that following major disasters some quotes may be inflated due to “demand surge” or price gouging, which is an increase in the price of materials or labor due to scarcity and high demand following a large-scale disaster. You should always get multiple bids in an effort to safeguard against gouging. Currently more than half the states in the U.S. have laws limiting price gouging, and these vary state by state. Many of these laws go into effect when a state of emergency has been declared. If you suspect that a quote you receive exceeds these limits, report the matter to the proper authorities and your insurance carrier or speak to a consumer protection attorney.
5. Understand the Warranties. Many contractors provide a workmanship warranty, which is typically for a shorter period than the manufacturer’s warranty on the roofing materials. Thirty or fifty-year manufacturer’s warranties are nice, however it is rare that a roof fails due to a material defect. Most roofs fail due to installation defects so many contractors are now offering longer, 5 to 10-year workmanship warranties to differentiate themselves from competitors. Be sure you understand what types and the lengths of warranties are included in any roofing quote you accept.
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