Roof After a Hurricane - Westchase Roofing

10 Tips for Inspecting Your Roof After a Hurricane

As the proverbial dust settles after the wake of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, now is the time to pick up the pieces and carry on.

Hurricanes hit with incredible force and hold no mercy for those in their way. And chances are, your home is now in need of inspection and repair.

Let’s take a look at ten tips for inspecting your roof after a hurricane.

Tip 1: Clear All Debris as Soon as Possible

It can be easy to put off inspecting your roof after a hurricane. The time. The effort. The hassle. The money.

First and foremost, you need to make sure that those you love are safe before you start surveying the damage.

But the longer you allow branches, leaves, and other debris to rest on top of your roof, the more chance there’ll be for damage. Lying debris harbors moisture underneath that can quickly turn to mildew, mold, and rot.

The debris can hide significant issues like missing shingles or holes that could lead to expensive water damage inside your home during the next rain.

You’ll want to clear all debris from your roof as soon as possible to prevent any further damage.

Tip 2: Watch For Popped Nails

When you examine your roof after a hurricane, check for any nails that may have popped up during the hurricane. The wind, rain and relentless pressure on your roof can eventually drive nails to the surface.

In addition to looking on the roof, inspect around your yard and driveway for nails. These could do damage to lawn equipment, vehicles, or children. Use a metal detector if needed to avoid this hazard and protect your family.

It can be hard to know what to do to keep your roof safe during storm season. There are a few excellent measures you can take in the future to prevent nail popping during a hurricane.

For instance, there are specially designed nails to protect roofs during hurricane season. These nails offer great preventative measures to help your roof survive the intense impact of hurricanes.

Tip 3: Check Your Attic

An indirect, yet just as important, task to remember when inspecting your roof after a hurricane, is to thoroughly examine your attic for water spots or leaks.

You’ll want to check your attic’s insulation, especially in the corners and crevices where pools of water can easily lurk just outside of view. Look for wet spots, potential leaks or any other damage.

When water spots are forming on your ceiling, your attic is likely where it started. This is because the water has to go through your attic from the roof to get to your ceiling.

Water in the attic may lead to mold and mildew problems down the road. So if there’s even a small leak, it needs to be addressed immediately.

Tip 4: Watch for Water Pooling In Your Fixtures

When you inspect your roof after a hurricane, always closely examine your light fixtures, especially ones that are connected to exhaust fans. If your flashings are damaged, water could begin pooling in through your fans or other ceiling fixtures.

The flashing are a protective piece of metal that goes around the pipes that protrude from your roof. These pipes allow heat to escape from your home. You also have these exhaust pipes coming out from your stove fan and your bathroom exhaust.

When the flashing cracks, water may pool on the stove or in a fixture.

Fixtures that are not attached to fans may also collect water because water moves toward the lowest places in your home.

Check each ceiling fixture to ensure no water is getting through.

The dangers of water collecting around your fixtures include:

  • Electrical fires
  • Collapsing pieces of your ceiling
  • Electrocution
  • Mold, mildew and eventual rot
  • Signs that there’s a much bigger leak you haven’t found yet

You don’t want to ignore even the slightest of dampness surrounding your fixtures. Take note and get it fixed immediately.

Tip 5: Inspect Your Gutters And Leaf Guards

When you inspect your roof after a hurricane, check for any fragments or shingle granules gathering in your gutters. Look for any dents on your gutters or any other damage. If gutters are pulling away from the roof, have them refastened to avoid a bigger repair project down the road.

After you’ve cleared all the visible obstructions from the gutters, check the flow by running water from your hose at the highest point towards the downspout. If the flow out the downspout is slower than the pressure from the hose, there’s a blockage to be cleared.

It’s also a good idea to periodically check the downspout for any delayed trickling. This indicates that something is caught and needs to be removed.

Word of caution: gutters can conduct electricity, so if there are any downed trees or collapsed power lines, be sure to wait until these are cleared away or contact a professional.

Tip 6: Examine Your Shingles

When you examine your roof after a hurricane, look for rifts or more obvious cracks between the shingles and the metal flashing. Note any missing or broken shingles.

From the road, you may see dark spots that indicate your shingle got whipped up by the wind and were broken. In these cases, your roof may only be protected by a thin layer of roof underlayment fabric. This fabric only provides you with short-term protection once exposed.

Your roof needs immediate attention if you’re seeing these dark spots. They’re a solid sign that things can go downhill fast.

If you’re examining your shingles from the ground with binoculars, these spots may be difficult to see. Check for pockmarks up close. Pockmarks are caused by hail and fast-moving debris that leave craters in the shingles.

If pockmarks are the extent of the damage, they aren’t of immediate concern. But they will significantly reduce the life of your roof.

It’s likely that, even in the mildest of storms, some shingle replacement will be necessary. Be sure to take note of the extent of the damage before pursuing services to fix this.

Tip 7: Check for Leaks and Current or Potential Water Damage

Remember that the source of the leak may not be where the water actually ends up. Be sure to thoroughly examine all areas of your roof, walls, and ceiling.

Use a flashlight and closely examine your walls for water stains, as well as your ceiling. Be on the lookout for signs of moisture behind your walls that you may not be able to see.

This may come in the form of a damp feeling around the base of your walls or black mold beginning to creep out and across the paint.

If you have water in your walls, you may have a bigger problem on your hands than just a roof. But getting the roof fixed will at least stop further water from entering the home.

Run an industrial de-humidifier if you have one to get the indoor moisture levels down so that your home isn’t hospitable to mold, mildew, and creatures who like wet, rotting wood.

Tip 8: Investigate the Area Around Your Chimney and/or Skylights

When you check your roof after a hurricane, be sure to closely examine your chimney and skylights, if you have any. These are prime spots for water damage, mold, and mildew to begin building up.

Also, be sure to take note of any areas where you roof comes to a “V” where water may be pooling.

Chimneys and skylights will also have flashings and other barriers that prevent leaking. These may have been damaged during the storm, so be sure to check them out.

Tip 9: Monitor Your Ceilings For Several Weeks Afterwards

Even though the worst is over, issues could creep up over the next few weeks. If your roof and ceiling appear to be fine upon inspection, there still could be unseen damage that may crop up later.

Continue to monitor your roof, gutters, attic, ceiling fixtures and ceiling for several weeks following the hurricane. Issues may come to light, and you want to be able to remedy the situation as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Tip 10: Write It Off

Most of us don’t really care for tax season. But you might as well get the most out of the time, energy and money it took to repair your roof after a hurricane. You can write off hurricane damage for that year’s taxes.

This can mean significant savings on the tax bill or even a large refund to help you recoup some of what you’ve lost.

So keep up with how much you spend on repairs and document everything.

Protecting Your Roof After a Hurricane

The stress of a hurricane is about as much as many people can bear. And you don’t have to add to the stress by putting off inspecting your roof until the damage is extreme.

If you’re looking for help in repairing your roof after Hurricanes Irma, check us out at Westchase Roofing.

Westchase Roofing How to Prepare Your House for Hurricane Irma Tampa

How to Prepare Your House for Hurricane Irma

It’s peak hurricane season and while the country is already reeling from the devastation wrought by Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma, a potentially catastrophic storm, is snaking her way through the Atlantic and towards Florida. Currently, no one is certain where Irma will hit, however, she does appear to be making a move towards South Florida. Regardless, it is imperative that Floridians prepare themselves for a potentially life-threatening storm.

Preparing Your Home for Hurricane Irma

In addition to restocking your emergency preparedness kit and filling up your gas tank, Florida homeowners need to take measures to protect their homes from high winds, debris, and lots of water. At the time of writing, Hurricane Irma is a category 5 storm with winds up to 185 mph. After watching the devastation and destruction wrought by Hurricane Harvey, many Florida homeowners are keen to take steps to protect their homes. Here’s what you should be looking at.

Check Your Roof and Gutters

Remove any branches and debris from your roof and clean out your gutters. Look for overhanging branches and trim them back. Identify any missing or broken shingles and nail them down if possible.

Remove Dead Tree Limbs

Identify any damaged or dead tree limbs that could possibly break and harm your house. Cut them back. Even if the tree branch is several feet from your home, remove it. High-powered winds can bring it too close for comfort.

Take Outdoor Furniture In

High winds can turn patio furniture into dangerous projectiles. Anything that can be moved should be moved to ensure it doesn’t become airborne and damage your house.

Cover Your Windows

If you have storm shutters, use them. If not, a trip to your local hardware store may be in order. You’ll want to look for ⅝” exterior grade or marine plywood. Measure your windows and either have the store cut the plywood to size for you or cut it at home. You’ll want the plywood to be larger than the windows by 8 inches on all sides. You’ll also want to cover any glass doors.

Reinforce Your Garage Door

If your garage door is not made from steel, it may not be able to withstand the high winds of a hurricane. You can reinforce your garage door with a grid of 2-by-4s or with a wind retrofit kit.

Check Your Insurance Coverage

Your insurance policy should state what it covers, what you need to make a claim, and when you should start the claims process. You should also check your roof warranty to see what type of damage may be covered. Your insurance policy and your roof warranty should be stored in a safe, dry place with your other important papers, such as your deed, your birth certificate, etc. You’ll want to take these documents with you if you need to evacuate. Make it easy on yourself by keeping them stored safely in portable, plastic file carrier next to your emergency preparedness kit. (Don’t have an emergency kit? Check here to learn what should be in it.)

Use Sandbags if You Live in Flood Zone

Homeowners in areas that tend to flood can use sandbags around their doors to keep water from coming in. Hillsborough County has three pickup points for residents.

Evacuate if Necessary

We all love our homes, ultimately, however, your life is worth more than your home. If your area is being evacuated, follow the advice of your city or county officials. Remember to take your important papers and your emergency kit with you.

Hurricane Irma is bringing a lot of fear with her. It’s important to use that as an impetus to prepare for the worst. We hope you weather this and every other storm safely.

Westchase Roofing Spotting Storm Chasers

Spotting a Roofing Storm Chaser In Their Natural Habitat

In Florida, we’re no strangers to high winds, thunder and lightning, rain, or even hail. Add to that sunshine and high heat and you have a recipe for roof damage. If you’ve experienced roof damage, it’s important to get a quote for a reputable, local roofing company. So what happens when someone just happens to knock on your door offering to take a look at your roof damage after a storm?

Unfortunately, there’s a good chance that it’s a scam.

Here are some easy ways to spot whether you’re dealing with a roofing storm chaser.

1. They Ask For Money Up Front

After a quick look around of your roof, your uninvited guest informs you that you have damage from the recent storm that passed through your area. And they can fix it! Hooray!

But not so fast. They want cash to get started.

Any contractor that asks for cash up front is probably not a legitimate contractor. Don’t sign anything or hand over a check. Instead, thank them for their time and let them know you’ll be in touch if you decide you need their services.

Once they’re gone from your property, you can evaluate what just happened and research whether it was a legitimate roofing contractor that stopped. Chances are, if they are asking for cash after just stopping by out of the blue, they aren’t.

2. They Lack a License

Whenever someone comes to your door claiming to be someone, you should ask for their work license or another form of ID. Roofers should be licensed to work in your area and properly insured. Make sure any documents you are shown are for your area and that they are recent.

Even if documents are presented when they give you a quote after stopping by unannounced, don’t just hire them out of convenience. While some legitimate, local roofing contractors may knock on a couple of doors because they happen to be in the neighborhood fixing someone’s roof, someone with papers may still be a scammer. Check online for more information about the company and call another company for a quote.

Never sign a contract with a roofing company that is not licensed or insured or who has failed to show you evidence that they are licensed or insured.

3. Their Trucks Have Out-of-State Plates

The vehicles used by a door knocker can be telling. If a roofing contractor comes a-knocking and they have out of state plates, think twice before hiring them and be sure to do your homework. Any contractor who has worked in the area should have their vehicles registered in Florida. Storm chasers from out of state, however, may not.

4. They Want You to Sign—And Fast

If after taking a quick look at your roof, a door-knocking roof contractor comes down, writes down a quick quote, and asks you to sign a vague work agreement—don’t.

Having roof work done is an investment. Don’t commit to working with someone who pressures you into signing something without allowing you to ask questions or look for other quotes. Getting locked into a contract with a storm chaser could mean you may end up paying too much for shoddy work.

5. They Offer to Speak to Your Insurer For You

If a company offers to speak to your insurer or tells you that they will cover your insurance deductible, let them know you aren’t interested at this moment and close the door.

A reputable roofing company understands how insurance works—and so do scammers. Don’t let a roofing storm chaser try to finagle their way into insurance proceedings. Rather, call the insurance company yourself and arrange for an adjuster to take a look at the damage to determine if your policy will cover your roof.

Learn something you didn’t know before? Well, don’t keep it to yourself! Make sure to share this information with loved ones in the area so they don’t get taken in by a sub-par contractor or, even worse, a scammer.

If you feel you have sustained damage due to a storm, call a reputable roofing company to provide you with a quote. A local Tampa roofing company that understands the value of community and hard work can ensure you get the quality work you deserve for your home. Don’t hesitate, contact us for a free estimate today.

How to Conduct A Roof Inspection During Storm Season

roof inspection

The National Roofing & Contractors Association suggests that homeowners hire a licensed contractor to perform a thorough inspection of their roofs each year. However, when major storms are hitting the area, roof damage can escalate quickly.
While annual inspections are the ideal scenario, it can also be costly, and many homeowners choose to conduct a roof inspection themselves after storms to cut costs. If you opt for the do-it-yourself route, there are a few key things that you should know.

Be Smart!

If you even have the slightest doubt about your ability on a ladder or your roof, then please don’t take any chances. Saving a few dollars is not worth the risk of a fall, call a professional!

Clean it up

First thing’s first, if you want to get a good idea of the condition of your roof, it has to be clean. Remove any debris and thoroughly clean your gutters before you even get started with the inspection. Debris includes fallen leaves, branches, dirt and anything at all that should not be up there. To save time, inspect your gutters as you clean them. Look for holes or leaks as well as any weak areas that may cause problems in the future. Take care of any problems right away.

It’s all About the Shingles

Curling, lifting, bucking or blistered shingles can signal a need for roof replacement. Blistering often looks like a shingle has been raised up from the flat shingle bed. Curling might happen on the ends, or on the corners. Buckling can look like a crack in the shingle, or it might be a small lift or bubble if water has gotten underneath it.
If it looks like it’s damaged, it’s damaged. Don’t play around with your shingles. If in doubt, replace them. A damaged shingle can quickly dislodge or disintegrate and allow water into your home. A leak in your roof is a homeowner’s worst nightmare.

The Chimney is Key

The chimney is most often the first area of the roof that will show signs of a problem. If there are issues with the shingles around your chimney it is a sure indication that the remaining shingles will follow. Take a good look at the mortar around your chimney and repair any damaged or worn areas before they become a problem.

When to Call an Expert

For any signs of serious damage, hire an expert –  If you see any problems with your roof, don’t hesitate to call someone who can take a better look for you. Roof replacement services like Westchase Roofing Company get very busy during the wetter months, and that can mean a long waiting period depending on what area of the country you are living. Keep the time of year in mind and adjust accordingly.

To get a quote for a roof replacement now, call Westchase Roofing Company.

Be aware of your area’s storm seasons. A nasty storm can turn small problems into big ones overnight.  If you know that bad weather is coming, and you don’t have time to hire a contractor to do the full repair job required, then at least have them provide a temporary fix to prevent water from getting into your home.