Storm Damage

In certain parts of the country, a whirlwind of different weather conditions can occur over a stretch of a few hours. A relatively warm and sunny morning can be overtaken by relentless rains that quickly are swept away by powerful winds, and the icing on the cake may involve early evening snow showers. Such a blend of weather overwhelms many people, forcing them to shift between jackets and short sleeves, wool hats and visors, as well as tennis shoes and galoshes, all the while dealing with the impact on physical and mental health. It can be, in a single simple word, exhausting. The ever-shifting weather is not limited to affecting people. Homes, and especially roofs, must adjust to the conditions as well. Oftentimes, the ice, rain, wind, and debris results in damage to the house’s protective covering. When this occurs, people often must utilize insurance to get the repairs needed to move forward; unfortunately, many people either do not know the process or are leery of calling their insurance carriers for fear of increased rates and/or insufficient service. Filing a storm damage claim with one’s insurance agency need not be cause for concern as long as individuals remain mindful of a few important points that Fusion Roofing and Restoration is happy to provide.

Be Familiar with Your Insurance Policy

Dealing with storm damage can be a frustrating part of being a homeowner, especially if your insurance company is digging in its heels on approving a claim. Going over your policy before big storms can help you understand exactly what type of damage is covered and the events that the insurance is applicable for. Each insurance company has their own policies and included and excluded damage sources, so go over this document thoroughly and ask questions if you’re not sure whether you have coverage for severe storms.

Assessing and Repairing Roof Storm Damage

The inspection should indicate the need to involve the owner’s insurance agency. At Fusion, as with any reputable firm, we also will have a discussion with the property owner concerning the conditions, the probable fixes that will be required, and, importantly for many people, the potential costs. This is an important aspect of the conversation as the property owner will benefit from knowing the approximate costs prior to communicating with the insurance company.

When you work with Fusion Roofing, we will inspect your roof for telltale signs of damage. The type of damage we look for depends on the type of storm that came through, and the roofing material that you use. In general, we are inspecting for three categories of storm damage: hail, wind, and water. Damage from hail can be very conspicuous and shows up as dents in the roofing material, broken or missing shingles, and damage to the gutter, flashing, and other roof fixtures.

When storms have high winds, we may see trees toppled onto the roof, missing shingles, and broken tiles. We look for any part of the roof that is no longer protected from the weather due to the missing or damaged material. Shingle and tile material may end up in the gutters, and the roof’s surface may have cracks. Other parts of your home’s exterior may also have damage, such as the flashing or your chimney.

Water damage occurs when the roofing material is compromised, and water can get into your home. This type of storm damage can lead to long-term issues in the exterior and interior of your home, so it’s important to have professional roofing contractors assess the damage to determine whether you have water getting into your home. In addition to looking at your roof, we will also check the interior of your home for telltale signs that water is getting in. Some of these include clogged or torn off gutters, irregularities in the ceiling and walls, and musty smells.

Our professional roofing contractors will repair this damage with quality materials to ensure that your roof can properly protect you from the elements. Our team has extensive local experience and understands the building codes, materials, and types of roofs prevalent in this area.

The next step is for the property owner to contact the insurance agency and file the claim. The insurance company will then set an appointment for an adjuster to visit the property, document the damage, and offer an approximate amount to be given for repairs, if any. During the assessment, the property owner should also have a contractor of his/her own choosing on hand to verify the adjuster’s findings. It might also be of great value for the owner to possess a copy of the insurance paperwork to be fully aware of policy outlines. Having such knowledge in conjunction with the contractor’s professional view can help protect the owner from a poor settlement, a figure that unbeknownst to many may be negotiated in order to reduce out-of-pocket expenses.

Tips for Working With Your Insurance Company on Storm Damage

If damage occurs and is noticed, the first action a property owner should attend to is taking pictures. Photos taken as soon as possible after an event provides evidence that the storm occurred and that it affected one’s home or business. Also, if anything such as limbs or other debris needs to be moved, it is imperative that pictures are taken first to accurately show the damage prior to altering the scene. Also, anyone who does attempt to move debris should exercise quality judgment and extreme caution to avoid bodily harm. Another important initial step is to contact a trustworthy company such as Fusion to inform them of the situation so that they may send out a qualified inspector. As Fusion performs a multitude of duties, we capably inspect roofs, gutters, box gutters, siding, and insulation to determine any potential issues.

Give them as much information to work with as possible to prove the claim amount that you’re requesting. As mentioned above, fully documenting the effects of the storm through photographs can provide the baseline condition data that the adjuster needs. When you have a professional roofing company on your side, you also have the advantage of their expertise and experience in navigating this process. Try to be patient, as it can take some time to process a claim if a storm has caused widespread damage in the area. The insurance company, especially if it’s a local provider, may be inundated with claims and attempting to stay on top of the volume. The people you interact with may be pulling long hours, and if they live in the area their own homes could have been impacted as well.

At the assessment’s conclusion, the adjuster will provide a detailed analysis of his/her findings. Fusion will gladly assist the property owner with any necessary explanations. If the owner is dissatisfied with the initial amount to be given, he/she can ask for another adjuster to be sent out for a second opinion. Once the initial offer is presented and is within an expected range, Fusion will work with the insurance agency to align the cost of repairs or replacement with the owner’s deductible and any related expenses. A potential related expense may be water damage that is not initially visible but becomes noticeable after days have passed. At Fusion, it is of great importance that owners be able to minimize or completely avoid paying for any damage out-of-pocket.

Avoid Scams: The Storm Chaser

Following large scale storms, so-called “storm chasers” come into the area to offer home repair services to impacted houses. On paper, they sound attractive at first. They will take the homeowners’ insurance claim money as their payment and may offer faster service than local roofing contractors, who are dealing with a large number of requests after a storm. Because of their business model, they have a lot of experience in going through the claims process.

However, if it sounds too good to be true, it often is. Storm chasers travel from region to region, and they have no specialized information about the community they’re working in. The work they do may not be up to code and they cut corners to deliver on their turnaround time. The materials they use may be of lower quality to increase their profits. They also don’t have an understanding of the local climate and weather patterns outside of extreme weather events, so the roof repairs and replacement they do fail to stand up to the elements. The turnover rate with their employees and contractors is often significant, and the people they use may have minimal training in doing roofing projects. Since they aren’t based in the local community, this type of storm damage roofing company often fails to provide warranties for their work.

Some storm chasers are bigger scams than others. They may take the deposit and leave town without doing any work, or leave it halfway completed to go to another storm-stricken area. They may offer to pay the homeowner’s insurance deductible or provide other incentives for choosing their company to do the work. They may lack the licenses to perform the work, but will leave town before they endure any consequences for that. Ultimately, the homeowner is the one who ends up being damaged by this type of company.

The Importance of Working With Professional Local Roofing Contractors to Fix Storm Damage

In contrast, working with a local storm damage roofing company, such as Fusion Roofing, provides you with service that you can depend on. You know that you’re working with roofing contractors with strong roots in the community and who pride themselves on quality. We’re not a fly-by-night company that is going to leave as soon as a bigger storm is on the horizon, and we have an experienced and well-trained team ready to make the necessary roofing repairs. To prevent water from getting into your home while the repairs are underway, we use tarps and other protective material to stop further storm-related damage to your residential property.

A common fear exists amongst property owners that insurance claims are something to be avoided at all costs due to potentially increased rates or lack of service. This fear may be essentially the result of being unaware of the process of filing a claim. Fortunately, there are companies like Fusion that are able, willing, and enjoy assisting property owners to return to normalcy, to regain a sense of safety and security in their homes and businesses.

Roof Damage? Get a Free Quote

Contact Fusion Roofing today to get a free quote for repairing the storm damage to your roof. We’ll get your roof back to working order and help you go through the insurance claims process following extreme weather events, such as major storms.

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**Also, it is important to remember that policies vary, so policy owners need to be aware of what their policies contain**

Counter Flashing Material Options: Pros and Cons

While one can safely assume that building materials such as brick, stone, and vinyl provide protection against water seepage that can fatally damage exterior and interior wood structures, another precaution that extends the life of wood structures is flashing. Flashing, a stripping usually formed from metal, is utilized oftentimes at joints or seam points where a crease occurs or where two objects intersect, such as a vent pipe protruding from a roof, in order to divert water away from the weak spot or opening. In the case of brick walls and in particular brick chimneys, counter flashing, using two pieces of flashing wherein one piece overlaps the other to bolster sealing, is introduced.

When attached to brick walls or brick chimneys, counter flashing’s role is to force water downwards to a roof, gutter, or other surface below. This entails that the flashing material come into constant contact with wind, precipitation, or fallen objects and debris that collect. Due to its position, the material to be used as flashing must be considered as such materials are not completely impervious to weathering as well. Three common metals formed into counter flashing are aluminum, copper, and galvanized steel. Though all three have value, each must be evaluated by their respective positives and negatives by homeowners and contractors.

The most commonly used material for counter flashing is aluminum. Aluminum holds a great deal of value for multiple reasons. First, aluminum, when taken care of, has a long life expectancy—upwards of 20 or more years. Next, the metal can be custom fitted and pieces easily slide together. Third, as it is often painted, which produces a nice weatherproofing layer, it can be relatively corrosion resistant. Finally, and most important for many homeowners, aluminum is the least expensive material. However, with these benefits come some detractions. While aluminum is highly rust-resistant, if improperly cared for or if damaged and neglected, oxidation or corrosion may occur from unpainted aluminum being in direct contact with mortar, and rust can ensue. As aluminum is lightweight and often thin, it is weaker and more easily damaged by fallen limbs or ladders placed against it. Another issue is that the material cannot be soldered. Although the pieces can be placed together easily, the joints can be weaker even when nailed together.

(Aluminum Chimney Counter Flashing, top, and Galvanized Steel Soldered Chimney Counter Flashing, left)

Galvanized steel is a second metal used for counter flashing. Steel blends strength and durability, especially when galvanized. When protected and properly maintained, galvanized steel has a life expectancy of around 40 years. The galvanization process results in rust resistance, extending its life. Adding to its strength, the joints between steel pieces can be soldered, thus creating in essence a single unit. The negatives for galvanized steel include a propensity to rust if not maintained. Worse, rust formations eventually lead to small holes in the metal, which then leads to water intrusion. Noticing a deterioration of the galvanized layer is not simple, which can make maintaining or repairing weak areas difficult. Another con is that the material is heavy. While the thickness and weight make steel strong, those same attributes make it unwieldy and tough to custom fit and install.

A third metal that can be used is copper. Copper is extremely durable, often lasting for decades. It is the most aesthetically beautiful of the metals, both in its early years when a burnished brown and when the green oxidation patina often sets in. Like galvanized steel, the joints can be soldered to create a strong piece, but unlike steel, copper is light and exceedingly malleable. These features make it easy to shape, mold, and install. While likely the best choice for flashing, copper is also the costliest of the three metals. The value placed on the metal also makes it a target for thievery, so homeowners with copper flashing or gutters must be vigilant. Another problem, like aluminum, is that copper can be damaged by fallen limbs or ladders.

Counter flashing delivers an indisputable protection for roofs and walls. With various options available, homeowners and builders should consider cost, durability, maintenance, and strength of materials before making a choice. The life of the home and the bank accounts of  owners often depend heavily on such details and decisions.