You may currently have an asphalt roof, composite roof, clay tile roof, slate roof, composite shingles, metal roof, cedar wood shake shingle roof, or synthetic roof. The one constant with these materials is that over time the roofing material begins to degrade. This can be caused by extreme weather, heavy snow, hail damage, excessive moisture, wind damage, freeze/thaw conditions or intense UV exposure. Over time this may lead to roof damage or roof leaks which can cause severe damage to your home and your homes long term value. All of these possibilities brings up the question, “What do I do if I need a new roof?”
1. HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE
Check your homeowners insurance policy to determine the roof damage and repair coverage you have. This is very important if the roof damage was caused by a hail storm, high winds, or weather related events. You should keep track of when the storm occurs since the insurance company will want this information prior to paying any claims. The coverage may include partial replacement costs, full replacement costs, or other types of coverage. Your insurance company may also send out an appraiser to inspect the roof before paying any claims for roof repairs. Your insurance policy will give you next steps on processing, who to contact, and more. In the event of a major hail event or other storms in the area, large insurance companies will setup temporary claims facilities in your area to simplify and speed the claims process. You may want to inquire about this as well.
2. GET A ROOF INSPECTION
Before choosing your new roof you will want to have a roofing professional inspect / evaluate your roof. Local roofing contractors may offer this service prior to recommending any roofing materials to install on your home. There are several categories of roofing experts that can evaluate your roof including; insurance appraisers, roofing contractors, engineers, and roof consultants. Some of these experts will evaluate a roof at no cost, some will expect to get paid. You should be clear in advance what the costs and expectations for the evaluation will be.
3. CHOOSING THE RIGHT ROOFING CONTRACTOR
Many local roofing contractors will offer you a free consultation to inspect your roof. It is important to do your own research online prior to making any commitments or meetings. Ask nearby neighbors what roofing contractor they used to install their roof. This may give you direction on a roofing contractor to contact or who to avoid. Online sources like Google can be valuable tools to a homeowner. Doing a Google Search on roofing contractors and visiting their websites to learn about their business prior to engaging in conversations is important. It is best practice to avoid “storm chasers” and out of towners as it can be difficult to contact them if your roof needs maintenance, upkeep, or you need to file a claim. Choosing a reliable local roofing contractor has many benefits. They likely have nearby roof installations you can visit to see roofs that they have installed. They will also work hard on maintaining lasting relationships and more often than not they have a vested interest in their community and keeping their customers happy. They will understand your market and the weather related events that occur where you live. Most of the time they provide honest service as they do not want their name tarnished due to improper roof installations and unhappy customers.
4. ROOF WARRANTY
Prior to installing your new roof, it is best to understand if the roof has a warranty. Some roofing contractors may insure the roof themselves while others will rely on the product manufacturer of the roofing material to insure the roof. You may have up to 2 warranty documents for your roof, one from the roof material manufacturer and one from the contractor that installed the roof. It is wise to review the warranties to fully understand costs covered in the event of roof damage or future repair. Your warranty can potentially cover the following costs: roofing material, labor to replace the roof, roofing repairs, or other costs. It may cover full replacement costs, partial costs, or may be prorated depending on the roofs age. The warranty coverage may change if you are not the homeowner that initially installed the roof. Roof warranties are important documents to retain as long as you live in your house since some warranties are over a long duration (could be up to 50 years). You also want to retain these warranties if you plan to sell your house as some roof warranties may be passed along to the new homeowner. A good roof with a solid warranty has the potential to increase the value of your home when you sell it.
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