Got Hail Damage? Don’t Panic!

Hail Damage; What that means for your roof and gutters.

We have received quite a few calls from our customers regarding hail damage. 

They need to replace their roofs and gutter protection.  Once the insurance adjuster has determined you need a new roof due to the hail damage it’s time to hire a roofing contractor.  But don’t panic!  Just because you have damage doesn’t mean it’s imperative to replace the roof immediately.  Many insurance companies will allow up to two years to pay a claim (verify with your insurance company).  One person in our company waited two years to replace his roof because he preferred having the work done by a roofer he trusted.  So please take your time in finding the right contractor – don’t hire a contractor who is here today and gone tomorrow.

I appreciated the suggestion of Tim Carter who writes for the Chicago Tribune.  He recommends educating yourself about roofs doing so before you meet with roofing contractors.  Visit a supplier of roofing material and talk about which shingle or roofing product would be the best value and work best on your home.  (Take photos of your house that show the roof.)  Once you determine the roofing material you want to be installed, go online to find the manufacturer’s installation instructions – print and read.  You’ll learn much about accessory materials and proper installation.  This will prepare you to talk with a contractor and better convey your expectations.

Following are some recommendations when seeking to hire a roofing contractor: 

  1.  How long have they been in business and are they local?

If they are well established, they are likely to be around in the future.  When disasters occur “storm chasers” move into an area claiming to be a local company.  When the work is done, they’re gone.

  1.  Ask for references

Search the company online and read reviews.  Ask friends and neighbors who they recommend.  Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau.

  1.  Make sure they are licensed and insured

Ask for business license numbers.  Check with local authorities to make sure the roofing company is complying with their regulations.  Liability and worker’s compensation insurance are essential to protect you as the homeowner from damage that may be incurred to your property and liability for personal injury.

  1.  Are the workers qualified?

Roofing contractors that work their way through disaster areas may use inexperienced personnel.  You may want to inquire regarding the training or skill levels expected of the company’s workers and if they have completed any safety training programs.

  1.  Get a written contract

Have everything written down including the beginning and completion dates of job; specify the materials to be used; an itemized list of cost for materials and labor; and a copy of their labor warranty.  (The manufacturer of the roofing materials will typically provide a product warranty but this will not cover the installation or labor warranty.)

  1.  Good communication

Perhaps this should be number one but I think it sums up everything above and then some.  You want a contractor who can answer your questions and keep you informed throughout the project.  This will help avoid misunderstandings and unwelcome surprises.

 The moral of this story is – take your time to find the right roofing contractor.  And remember, if there’s a lot of hail damage throughout the area they may have to put you on a waiting list.  But you will have the peace of mind knowing you have found a reliable company who will stand behind their work.