If your roof has been damaged in a storm or other natural disaster (what legal and actuarial entities call “acts of God”), most of the time getting the claim is just a matter of making a few calls, filling out some paperwork, taking pictures of the damage, and then waiting for half of an eternity for the claim check to arrive. (For those who have never been through that experience, the adjusters take their good ol’ time getting money to you, but their counterparts in sales have no qualms about taking your money over the phone right now! Doesn’t seem fair, does it? But I digress).
Sometimes, though, the homeowner can be on the hook for some of the damages because of roof neglect and poor maintenance. Often the maintenance can be done on a lazy Saturday afternoon and doesn’t involve a lot of technical skill. The homeowner does have a duty to care for their roof. It doesn’t happen often, but if the insurer finds the homeowner negligent, they can scale down the payout or reject the claim entirely. When we’re talking about tens of thousands of dollars, it’s nothing to sneeze at. Trust me, you want to get this right.
To avoid these problems you should give your roof an annual checkup (twice a year is even better; one before the snow falls, the other after it’s all melted). Identifying problems sooner rather than later is a very important aspect of roof maintenance. After the problems have been detected and repaired, it is of utmost importance to document what was done with paperwork and photographs.Otherwise, there’s no way to confirm that work was done on the roof. The old saying is still true: if it’s not on paper, it didn’t happen.
As you know and depending on where you live, every home is subject to the elements of rain, snow, sleet, wind and frost. Those elements cause great stress and strain on the structure and integrity of the home. Because those conditions are more likely to occur in the Winter and Fall seasons, it’s good to perform this annual check in the Spring.You will save a lot of time, money, and heartache when you do it this way.
Here are a few things to check every year:
- Get out your binocs and check the roof. Better yet, and If you need to, grab the ladder and climb up to check out everything firsthand. Search for loose or cracked times. If you are up on the roof, inspect it thoroughly. Spend the extra thirty minutes while you’re there. A leaky roof can result ceiling damage, rot, and redecoration expenses can quickly eat up lots of money. Then there’s the a safety factor to look at. If a tile slides off, someone below could be badly injured, or your car could take a hit. While you’re up there, take a few pictures to save in case there’s ever a question about the roof’s condition before a natural disaster occurs. Of course, the third alternative to this is to learn how to fly one of those RC helicopters, attach a camera and observe the damages that way. That does take a bit of skill and expense but after you’re done, you have a marketable skill (think I”m lying? Google RC Helicopter Photographer and look at the listings). Then again, your wife may wonder why you haven’t checked the roof like you said you were going to do. Instead, she’ll notice you playing on that “silly toy.” Just get up on the roof already and see for yourself. Play later.
- Next, clear the gutters of leaves, twigs, and roofing material (granules mainly). Over time shingles deteriorate and when a heavy rain comes along, that debris in the form of granules can wash right into the rain gutter and down the spout. Most of the time, the debris remains at the bottom of the gutter and doesn’t make its way to the ground. If your gutters are blocked, water can seep into the home’s wooden structure. Rotting wood near the gutters is a very common malady that can be fixed but it’s expensive. Most likely, it would not have occurred had the homeowner taken proactive steps to clear the gutters at least once and perhaps twice a year.
- Do a thorough check of the exterior house paint. Any cracked or peeling paintwork needs to be fixed. It might call for the services of someone who knows carpentry because if there are problems on the outside that have not been addressed for some time, there might be problems on the inside. Touch it up but be sure to call a contractor so they can have a deeper look at the issue.
- Hire a chimney sweep to take care of the gunk that has accumulated over the winter months (if you have an actual wood fire place). Heavy build-ups of soot can easily catch fire and during the summer the soot absorbs damp.
- When you are planting trees and bushes, be careful not to plant them near your home. The roots of plants and trees have been known to grow under housing foundations and cause considerable damage under your home. Most people think that falling trees are a large cause of home damage – and to some extent it’s true but the damage roots cause to the underlying structure of the home is significantly more costly to repair. The roots can also penetrate your drains and cause lots of plumbing problems. Poplar and willow trees are notorious for being problem children/plants. In fact, according to informal research, you are not supposed to grow a poplar tree within 150 feet of your property. Be forewarned.
- On the subject of trees, make sure you keep your trees trimmed so that large branches don’t become so heavy that they fall off in a storm and knock out power and fall onto your personal property. Make sure the branches are not obstructing wires telephone and electrical too. Utility companies have been known to go after home owners if they feel they have a case.
- Do you have any plants scaling the outside walls of the house? Ivy is the biggest culprit and can cause a lot of damage. It may look good on the outfield walls of Wrigley Field, but it wreaks havoc on your paint and wood. You have even bigger problems if the ivy ever makes it to your roof.
- Now go inside your house and do a thorough inspection of your ceilings and walls. If you see a watermark, then some time there was water damage. It may have been repaired already but it may still be a problem. Investigate further. Make sure you also inspect your HVAC or have someone come in to do that. It’s a good idea to pay $50-100 to have someone come in to perform routine maintenance on your home’s heating and cooling system. It really does pay off in the heat of Summer and the dead of Winter.
Most of these steps are very basic common sense home/roof inspection tips. We have a tendency to put off home maintenance because we just don’t want to deal with the headaches that we could uncover. Unfortunately disasters that could have been prevented cause a lot more headaches than if you were to properly maintain your home’s structure and systems. You could be obsessive about it and inspect the home and roof every week but what’s the point? Your neighbors will think you’re wacky, and your spouse will wonder about your mental stability condition too. What’s new, right?
Anyone in the Daly City Roofing Contractor Business Directory is able to handle all of these installation and repair services,