Long-Term Effects of Storm Damage

storm damage on roof

Salt Lake roofing contractors don’t see as much storm damage as is found in places like Colorado or Texas, but we do see storms that produce damage every couple years or so. And the result can be very costly.

storm damage on roof

One Personal Example

We recently had a call from a woman, a super nice lady who had a perplexing situation. She was getting ready to list her home for sale and had just finished meeting with an inspector. The inspection had shown that the roof appeared to have some sort of manufacturer defect. There was a pattern of small, round spots on the roof where there were no granules or asphalt. She thought surely this was a manufacturer defect, and she was hopeful that her material warranty would cover at least the cost for the materials to be replaced.

She hoped we could help confirm her suspicions.

When our residential specialist arrived at her house to take a look, we were so frustrated for her. As it turns out, the damage was not due to any problem with the material when it was made, but rather her roof had been pounded at some time in the past by hail. A quick bit of research by our team determined that this home was indeed right in the path of a major hailstorm that had occurred three years prior. Her roof had been pelted by hail the size of golf balls, but since she didn’t have any leaks, she never even thought to have it inspected.

As a result, now that she is trying to sell her house, she is stuck with having to replace the roof in order to be able to close. Had she known about her roof having storm damage, she would have been able to transfer the burden of the roof replacement cost to her insurance company via a homeowner’s insurance claim. Her cost would have been her deductible and any upgrades that may be wanted/needed.

How Respected Roofers Protect You

When it comes to storm damage, roofers generally get a bad rap because there are companies that travel the country looking specifically for work that is eligible for insurance proceeds. It’s an easy sell.
But let me tell you something – your insurance company is not going to come knocking on your door reminding you to get your roof inspected after a storm. They are not advocating for the best interest of their customers.

As a local, well-respected roofing contractor, it can be frustrating to be told that we are “just a storm chaser” simply because of the rhetoric that the insurance company puts out about roofers. Don’t get me wrong – there are indeed plenty of roofing companies that ARE storm chasers. But that doesn’t mean all roofing companies that specialize in storm restoration are unethical.

Finding the Right One

We recommend you do your homework and research local roofing contractors. Check to make sure they have a contractor’s license and liability and worker’s comp insurance for their employees. Read reviews and ask your network of family and friends for recommendations. But if you have a roof that has withstood a major storm – especially one with extreme forces of wind and/or hail – please have your roof checked out for damage so that you can file a claim in a timely manner and not be stuck with paying for a roof that should be covered by insurance.

The Roof Doctor is experienced at storm damage repair, and can help get your roof in great condition again! If you suspect damage has occurred on your roof, ask us to perform an inspection.

How to Prevent Moss Growth on Your Roof

Moss on roof

Although we do not often see this issue in Salt Lake City, roofing experts in other parts of the world are often asked what homeowners can do to prevent or stop the growth of moss on their roofs. So today we will have a brief science lesson as we lead into the topic.

Moss on roof

The Science of Moss

Moss is a type of plant known as non-vascular. This simply means that they lack the usual internal methods of transporting water and gases to all parts of the plant. These plants usually remain small, enabling them to get water and nutrients from the environment and pass them from cell to cell. Therefore, these plants thrive in moist environments. Moss spores are carried by wind or animals and can easily spread throughout a neighborhood.

Unlike algae (we will save that topic for another day!), moss can be rather detrimental to your roof. On the North American continent, moss usually is found on north-facing roof planes, where the sunlight is less direct allowing the dampness to linger than on south-facing planes. Overhanging branches not only drop debris on the roof that can be converted to food for the moss, but the shade from the sun also helps the moss thrive.

4 Tips for Prevention

So what can you do? You know we have some tips for you! Here are some things you can do to prevent the growth of moss:

  • Trim your tree branches: This both minimizes the amount of debris that can fall on the roof, and increases the exposure of the roof to sunlight, giving the moss some rough conditions in which to try to survive.
  • Remove debris from your roof: Debris should be removed routinely with a leaf blower or similar, non-abrasive method. A good way to go about this is to set up routine inspections for your roof with your trusted contractor. This will also ensure you always know how your roof is doing and if you are in any need of roof repair. Utah is prone to wind and hail, and most homeowners’ insurance policies have limits on how long you have to file a claim if you are in need of such a thing.
  • Keep your gutters clean: Make sure your gutters are draining into downspouts and not directly onto the roof.
  • Use specialty roof products: If you live in an area known to have trouble with moss on roofs, it may be worthwhile to choose a specialty roofing product made to resist moss, or to ask your contractor about adding zinc or copper strips.

Removing Existing Moss

If you already have moss growing, you can clean your roof using a 50:50 mix of laundry strength liquid chlorine bleach and water. You’ll want to apply this to the roof with a sprayer and let the solution work for 15 – 20 minutes before rinsing thoroughly with low-pressure water.

Use appropriate personal protective equipment to protect your eyes, skin and face from the bleach. The moss should loosen over time and then can be removed with a leaf blower. It could take more than one treatment to get clean if the moss is heavy. NEVER use a pressure washer to clean your shingles as it will cause granule loss and likely premature failure of your roof.

If moss is a concern, contact the Roof Doctor for expert help.

What Causes Roof Shingles to Buckle?

roof with shingles buckling

Well, that’s definitely NOT good! What’s going on here?

This is what we call buckling. Shingle buckling is one of those awful things that can happen to a roof through no fault of anyone. It is caused as a result of the movement of the wood roofing deck or wrinkling of the underlayment. And this is a serious problem because if minor buckling is not addressed, it could require a full roof replacement.
roof with shingles buckling

Common Reasons for Buckling

Most roofing companies in Salt Lake City, Utah have experience with this issue. But what causes it? Here are the most typical reasons:

  • Exposed deck: When the old roof is torn off, the wood deck is exposed. When there is a high percentage of humidity in the air, the wood can absorb some of this moisture. As the moisture content in the wood increases, it case cause the deck to shift and move.
  • Wet underlayment: As a new roof is being installed, if too much moisture is absorbed by the underlayment, it can cause the felt to wrinkle.
  • Improper venting: If your attic does not have enough vents to allow for the circulation of air through your attic space, the hot air will have no way to escape, and can make the wood shift or the underlayment wrinkle. Higher insulation levels may necessitate additional vents.
  • Roof sheathing: If your roof deck is not spaced adequately (a minimum of ⅛” between boards), the natural expansion and contraction of the wood will cause the shingles to buckle.
  • Improper materials: If wood decking has not been properly conditioned to be at moisture equilibrium with the environment in which the job is being completed, the natural expansion or contraction can cause buckling. This is a roofing manufacturer’s approval that must be met.
  • Improper installation: Failure to apply shingles as directed by the shingle manufacturer’s recommendations.

If you see anything looking off with the way your shingles are laying, give your trusted roofing contractor a call and have your roof checked out right away.

Granular Retention: How to Make Roof Shingles Last Longer

granular retention roof shingles

I’m willing to bet that you didn’t even know that granular retention was a thing you want in your life, did you? Since you didn’t know, but definitely want it, let me explain so you at least know why.

granular retention roof shingles

What is Granular Retention?

Granular retention is the concept that the shingles on your roof should hold on to, or retain, the granules that are embedded on them. These granules play a crucial role in the overall roofing system for three main reasons:

  1. They provide protection to the asphalt layer of the shingles from UV rays.
  2. They provide fire resistance.
  3. They provide the aesthetic appearance (color) of the roof.

Those are three pretty big reasons for wanting the granules to stay on the shingle!

Granules and Shingle Health

During the manufacturing process, producers apply up to 40% more granules to the shingles than are necessary. Because of the overload, it is estimated that 12% - 15% of the granules do not fully adhere to the shingle, which results in granular loss before the shingle ever makes it to your roof.

This shows that granular loss does not always indicate damage; the presence of loose granules simply means weathering has occurred. And granules are meant to be shed over the useful life cycle of asphalt shingles. So you shouldn’t be alarmed when you see some granules in your gutters occasionally - especially right after having a new roof installed.

Below the granules, the asphalt layer of the shingle will disintegrate quickly without protection from the UV rays of the sun. This will result in an accelerated rate of wear on the roof, as exposed shingle substrate will start to absorb moisture quicker than shingles with granular protection.

To add value to their product, most shingle manufacturers have already or are currently developing technology to stop premature shedding of granules - a.k.a. granular retention technology. See, I told you (that you had granular retention)!

When Shedding Granules is a Problem

Despite efforts by manufacturers to slow the natural loosening of granules over time, there are some other factors that can cause a rapid, problematic release of granules. These factors would cause severe enough damage that it would warrant action by the homeowner to repair the roof - widespread issues across the entire roof could even require roof replacement.

The main reasons for this would include hail damage and a defective roofing product. But the potential problems are too numerous to mention here, and none are risking if you can avoid it (which you can, by having your roof regularly inspected and maintained).

Long story short: you shouldn’t be surprised to see a slow, gradual loss of the granules on your roof. But you should be alarmed if you see the white fiberglass peeking through, if you see widespread granule loss, or if you see cracking, blistering or any other obvious damage to the shingles.

What to Do If You Spot Problems

If you notice damage to shingles or a large amount of granules that have come loose, contact the Roof Doctor. We’ll come out and inspect your roof and give you a clear idea of what your options are. Our team works hard to keep your roof in its best condition!

5 Ways to Prepare Your Roof for Fall

roof maintenance tasks

End of summer is a great time to plan a regular roof maintenance schedule. Here are a few points you want to make sure to add to your fall maintenance routine:

roof maintenance tasks
  1. Look for missing shingles. Keep an eye out for any missing shingles, roofing material that shows obvious damage (i.e. curling shingles, buckling shingles, flat roofing that is not fastened down), or shingles that have organic matter growing on them.
  2. Clean out your gutters.  Remove all leaves, twigs and other debris from gutters and downspouts. Gutters free of debris will drain water much more effectively and efficiently.
  3. Trim branches. Although it doesn’t seem like it would do much, tree branches dragging on your roof can cause accelerated wear and tear on the shingles and can dislodge granules prematurely. To make sure you get a full lifetime of wear out of your roof, you should do your best to keep branches trimmed back.
  4. Inspect for rust. Rust on shingles is a result of rust occurring on some piece of metal on the roof and running onto the shingles. Rust can come from any metal pipe, cap, or even nails. The most important thing to do is to find the source of the rust so you can resolve the issue.If there is a significant amount of staining to your roof, you do have some options for cleaning it. However, these all require careful effort and handling so you do not damage your shingles. There are different products you can purchase to help you clean, or you can use vinegar applied directly to the stain, gently scrub with a brush, and rinse.
  5. Prevent ice dam formation. Ice dams are continuous chunks of ice that build up along the margins of your roof during the winter. They form when melting ice and snow pool up behind the ice and then can seep back up under the shingles and can cause leaks.Preventing ice dams begins with making sure your attic is free from air leaks; this could be from gaps in drywall, or cracks around light fixtures, plumbing pipes, chimney, access hatches, etc. (Note: this will also serve to reduce your energy bills!).Next, check the depth of your attic insulation and be sure that you have 12 - 14 inches of fiberglass or cellulose insulation. Then have your vents inspected and verify that you have enough venting for the size of your home. Make sure your gutters are clean of debris so that water can flow downward as it should. Blocked gutters can cause water back up and make ice dams worse. If you continue to have issues, you may want to consider installing heat cables around the eaves to help keep ice melting.

If you find problems during your fall maintenance chores, call on the Roof Doctor to help. Our licensed professionals keep your roof in its best condition all year long.

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

choose a roofing contractor

We know there are many roofing companies in Salt Lake City, Utah that you could invite to take on your roofing project. In fact, there are so many that some people feel completely overwhelmed when making this decision. As a company with plenty of experience roofing Utah, we thought we would offer some guidance about what you need to consider when selecting the right contractor for your project:

choose a roofing contractor

Licensing and Insurance

In the roofing industry, we don’t classify all roofers the same. No reputable company would dream of getting on your roof without these basic requirements, and you should take some time to verify this information.

Make sure your contractor has both a General Liability policy and a Worker’s Compensation Policy. You also want to make sure that your contractor has a contractor’s license - not just the business license - and you want to make sure they are licensed for the trade you are hiring them to practice. You can contact the Utah Insurance Department for more information about specific coverages and amounts that should be in place.

Professional Appearance/Presentation

Roofing is hard work, and there are legitimate roofing companies whose owners are up installing roofs, so you can’t always judge a book by its cover. But you absolutely should not discount the effort that a professional company will put into giving you a stellar first impression. A reputable roofer would not send someone into your home that would soil your carpet or who stinks.

Price

Let’s face it: no matter how much you love a contractor, if you’re on a budget for your roofing project, you can’t magically conjure the extra cash you need to pay your favorite contractor. You can only do so much. But here is a little insider secret: your best contractor is probably not going to be the least expensive contractor. But they probably aren’t the most expensive contractor, either. And here is something most homeowners don’t consider: although you may be able to get a roofing contractor to give you an estimate that is lower than your favorite contractor, most times if you were to do a side-by-side comparison, you would find that the lower price sacrifices a lot of quality. Items like warranty, shingle type and expected life affect the cost, as does the amount of development a company does to train and educate its team.

Reviews & Referrals

In this day of the internet, we all have a wealth of information at our investigative disposal. Spend a little time looking up your potential contractors online. See if they have any negative reports with the Better Business Bureau. Read positive and negative reviews on platforms such as Google and Home Advisor - and see if/how the contractor responded. Ask the contractor for references or pictures of jobs they have recently done. Ask your network of friends and family for their recommendations. If you have any specialty/custom details, talk to the contractor about them and vet their experience with those details. You can get a reasonably good idea of a company with just a little effort.

Consider the Roof Doctor

When you’re looking for a roofing contractor to trust with your home, call the Roof Doctor! We are licensed roofing contractors, fully insured, and we offer the best warranties on the market today.

Managing Wind and Hail Damage to Your Roof

wind hail damage roof

There are several elements that may threaten your home and its roof during a major storm, and two such elements that are often seen together are hail and wind damage. These two weather elements, while likely rare in your area, don’t need long to wreak havoc on roofing systems that are not properly secured or maintained, and can lead to significant water damage and other hazards.

At The Roof Doctor, we offer a wide range of storm damage roof repair services, including for roofs that have been damaged by wind or hail. We’re also happy to assist you with navigating the ins and outs of the insurance maze in situations where filing a claim is necessary to help you cover the cost of needed repairs. Let’s go over some tips we can offer for protecting your roof from the risks of hail and wind damage, the process of assessing such damage if it does take place, and how to handle repairs and insurance claims in these cases.

wind hail damage roof

Protecting Your Roof from Hail and Wind Damage

A few general tips for protecting your roof from wind and hail damage, including several where our roof repair pros are happy to help:

  • Regular inspections: At least once a year, if not more often, ensure your roof is inspected in a detailed manner. Any damaged, missing or curled shingles should be replaced or repaired right away, and any more significant issues should be reported to your insurance company right away – waiting too long to notify them could lead to a refusal of your claim in the future.
  • Attic: Every few months, or more often during storm season, check your attic for mold, mildew, stains or any other signs of water making its way through the roof. Also look for high levels of humidity.
  • Trees: Clear your property of any dead or rotting trees, which can create major damage or even destroy the roof entirely if they fall during a wind storm. In addition, clear out any overhanging tree limbs that might fall onto the roof.

Repairs and Insurance Claims for Hail or Wind Damage

In many cases, storm damage from wind and hail won’t be easy to see. This is why a few of the areas above are so important, including checking the attic and roof inspections – they’ll help you identify the evidence of damage even if it’s mostly hidden.

If you do identify wind or hail damage on your roof, one important area to consider is filing an insurance claim using homeowners’ insurance. Within this area, it’s vital to note that not all insurance companies offer the same plans here – most landlocked states feature policies that cover both windstorm and hail damage, but not all. Meanwhile, coastal areas often see insurance companies remove this coverage and require it as a separate policy, given the high risk of such damage in these areas. Make sure you understand exactly what your policy covers before moving forward – our pros are happy to help with this and other insurance-related details.

For more on wind and storm damage and protecting your roof, or to learn about any of our emergency roof repair services, speak to the staff at The Roof Doctor today.

What to Do After Major Roof Storm Damage, Part 2

major roof storm damage

If your structure has dealt with recent storm damage and requires resulting roof repairs, the professionals at The Roof Doctor are at the ready. Our storm damage roof repair services are second to none, and on top of the highest-quality materials and technicians working on your roof, we’re also proud to provide assistance with assessing the scope of the damage and resulting insurance claims.

In part one of this two-part blog series, we dug into some of the immediate insurance-related areas you have to consider after storm damage impacts your roof. In today’s part two, we’ll look at the ins and outs of actually filing your primary claim when the time comes, plus a few important before and after areas to be sure you consider properly.
major roof storm damage

Before Filing – Check Deductible

For starters, there’s one area to be diligent in checking before you enter the process of filing your insurance claim: Your insurance policy deductible. Take the time to get an estimate of the damage and the cost to repair it, something our pros are happy to help with, and then check this number against your deductible – if the cost won’t be too much higher than the deductible amount to begin with, you may decline to file the claim at all.

Reporting Claims

It’s important to stay on top of things here and make these determinations quickly. Here are some general tips on filing your claim once you’ve decided that this is the proper course of action:

  • Generally speaking, we highly recommend discussing the details of your coverage with an insurance adjuster, not with your insurance agent.
  • Your insurer can be a resource to you throughout this process, one you should lean on if you have questions or concerns. This is an experienced, objective party, one who often has connections with local contractors and can get you great deals on your repairs.
  • For those looking to handle their claims online, a growing number of insurers can process these claims seamlessly.
  • If you’re unsure about your insurance policy or looking for a new agent or policy, the Utah Insurance Department keeps an online search tool

Post-Filing Details

Throughout the claim process, even once you’ve filed, it’s vital to keep detailed records of all the damage on your property. If you choose to make temporary repairs while waiting on your claim, something we discussed in part one of this blog, ensure you have copies of receipts and any other documentation needed. We recommend keeping a phone log for all related calls made in this area.

In addition, a few post-filing details to be aware of:

  • The insurer has a minimum of 30 days to investigate the claim in question.
  • Within 15 days of filing your claim, your insurance company should contact you. Insurance companies should always provide a response within 15 days of a reasonable request.

For more on filing insurance claims following storm damage, or to learn about any of our roof replacement or roofing repair services, speak to the staff at The Roof Doctor today.

What to Do After Major Roof Storm Damage, Part 1

major-roof-storm-damage-1.jpg

At The Roof Doctor, we’re your full-service roofing company to call for all storm damage roof repair needs. Your roof can be heavily impacted by major storms, but we’re here to keep you and your family protected – and to assist you with the proper assessment of damage.

If and when windstorm damage causes significant issues with your roofing system, taking the right course of action from the beginning is vital to ensuring you stay protected without running up too high a cost. This two-part blog will detail a number of tips from both our pros and the Utah Insurance Department on how to react after roofing storm damage to ensure everything goes smoothly.

major-roof-storm-damage-1.jpg

Immediate Actions

Immediately after noticing significant storm damage on your roof, or even the signs of it like leaking water in attic or other nearby areas, there are a few things you should be thinking about:

  • Damage mitigation: To whatever degree you can accomplish this without risking your safety, try to protect the home from further damage. If you can cover the roof with a temporary blocker of some kind to keep further moisture from seeping in through damaged areas, this is a good start.
  • Documentation: Before attempting any significant repairs or removal of debris, take pictures and possibly video of the damage. Be detailed and specific.

Evidence: If you pay for temporary repairs, which we’ll detail in a moment, the costs here are usually covered by your insurance policy – so long as you have detailed receipts to provide.

Temporary Repairs

In some cases, temporary repairs to alleviate water damage or other immediate issues will be the proper route to take after storm damage. In these cases, you should only ever use professional contractors like ours for these repairs.

If you’re unsure whether a given contractor is properly licensed for these sorts of issues, contact the Utah Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing to find out. Also be sure to ask for a certificate of insurance from the individual contractor – even if a contractor is properly licensed, you should not hire them if they do not have the adequate insurance coverage.

Fallen Tree Removal and Insurance Coverage

In many cases, these temporary repairs or remediation services will involve removing fallen trees from the property. A few general tips on whether or not these areas are likely to be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy:

  • Vehicle: If fallen trees have impacted and/or damaged any vehicle on your property, personal or commercial, it’s unlikely the vehicle will be covered under your policy. Rare vehicle insurance policies do have coverage for this area, but most also do not.
  • Property: However, trees removed from the home, sheds, detached garages or other structural areas will usually be covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy – though there may be a maximum dollar limit to be aware of here. Replacing the tree, however, usually is not covered here. If you’re unsure, speak to your insurance adjuster – not your agent – to find out more.

In part two of this blog series, we’ll go over some of the ins and outs of filing your insurance claim and ensuring you get the proper compensation for the damages that are covered. For more on this or any of our roof repair or installation services, speak to the staff at The Roof Doctor today.

Understanding Your Homeowner’s Insurance Policy and Roof Impact

understanding homeowner’s insurance policy roof

Insurance of any kind is meant to bring a sense of security to policy holders. Research proves that most people trust their insurance agents and carriers because they believe that they have the consumer’s best interests at heart. It’s easy to forget that insurance is business – and a HUGE one at that – and insurance companies make money when they do not pay claims.

Homeowners often have a false sense of security when it comes to their home, believing that their homeowner’s insurance policy will cover everything in case of a loss from a disaster. The reality is that insurance policies vary greatly in cost and benefits, so it’s vital to become very familiar with your policy.

As a local roofing contractor, we cannot emphasize strongly enough the importance of understanding your homeowner’s insurance policy, down to the most minuscule details. Doing so will leave you prepared to take the correct actions if you ever are hit with a disaster, so you can focus on recovery instead of trying to figure out where to start.

understanding homeowner’s insurance policy roof

Areas of Homeowner’s Insurance Coverage

Generally speaking, homeowner’s insurance policies come in packages. These packages will contain some or all of each of the following areas – areas you should be well aware of before signing up:

  • Dwelling: For damage to the home and any attached structures, plus any fixtures, wiring or related systems.
  • Additional structures: Non-attached structures like sheds, fences, solo garages, guest homes or others on your property are covered here.
  • Personal property: Covers the value of personal possessions, from electronics and appliances to smaller items like clothes.
  • Personal liability: Your financial loss if you’re sued and found liable for damages to someone else on your property.
  • Medical payments: Will cover medical bills for people hurt on your property.
  • Loss of use: Covers additional living expenses, if needed, while the home is being repaired after damage.

Coverage Limits

It’s important to also understand that each of the above areas comes with limits. Your coverage will carry the full replacement cost of the home or area included, but this is not the same as market value for the property – you should check regularly to ensure your coverage doesn’t drop below the full replacement value.

From here, consider limits on each individual area. In most cases, coverage in areas like additional structures (generally 10 percent), personal property (50 percent) or loss of use (20 percent) will be expressed as a percentage of the total coverage amount, while you will have your choice of the coverage limits for the overall dwelling, personal liability and medical payments.

Understanding Deductibles, Declarations and Exclusions

Let’s go over three other terms that are very important for homeowner’s insurance:

  • Deductible: The deductible is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before the policy kicks in and covers the rest. A higher deductible generally comes with lower premiums, and vice versa.
  • Declarations page: This is the section of a policy that specifies your basic information – name, address, policy length, policy limits, and perhaps others. You should always have a copy of your homeowner’s insurance declarations page in your home.
  • Exclusions: Exclusions refer to provisions that eliminate coverage for certain risk areas – essentially, exclusions limit the scope of your coverage in certain areas, so it’s vital you understand them.

For help with storm damage or any other area of roof repair, speak to the staff at The Roof Doctor today.