Your roof is your home’s first line of defense against the elements, but roof damage can leave your home’s interior dangerously exposed. Not only can this rack up even more damage, but it can also put you and your family in danger. So, what can you do?
While there’s no way to prevent damage completely, you can prepare yourself and your home to mitigate the effects. Let’s take a look at how to make a roofing emergency action plan.
What Qualifies as an Emergency?
First things first—knowledge is power. Knowing what is and isn’t an emergency can give you peace of mind when issues arise. Additionally, you may need to tweak your emergency action plan based on the type of damage your home sustains. Emergency damages include the following:
- Lightning strikes
- Tree or fire damage
- Extreme mold or pest infestations
- Structural collapse
- High winds
- Inclement weather events
Things like collapses, fires, or pest infestations are hard to plan for, as they’re random. It’s much easier to look out for weather events and devise a plan accordingly.
What Doesn’t Qualify as an Emergency?
While you should address repairs as soon as possible, you don’t need to lose hair over some issues. If you notice a few missing shingles, moss or algae growth, or hail or flashing damage, you can wait a day or two before you call in a contractor. If you’re unsure whether your roof damage counts as an emergency, here are a few things to remember. Any damage that causes significant leaks, exposes your home’s interior, or endangers the structural integrity of your home is an emergency, and you should treat it as such.
Conduct Consistent Inspections
When making a roofing emergency action plan, start by conducting consistent inspections. This allows you to become familiar with what your roof usually looks like, making it much easier to pinpoint problems when they arise. Plus, this step helps you identify damages before they worsen. Suppose you notice the flashing around the vent pipe sustained damage from natural wear and tear. If you live in an area that experiences frequent storms, you can contact a roof repair company to replace the flashing and stop leaks before a storm can cause damage.
Prepare Ahead of Time
In the event of an emergency, your top priority is to stop any leaks and protect the interior of your home. While it’s impossible to plan for every possible event that could damage your roof, you can prepare an emergency kit. It should include roof repair tarps, ropes, sandbags, a safety harness, and a ladder. Once you notice a leak, keep in mind that a trickle can turn into a downpour very quickly. Always have your repair kit ready, and keep an eye on the weather.
Conduct a Visual Inspection
Remember how we mentioned that conducting consistent inspections will help you become more familiar with your roof? This is where that knowledge will come in handy! After a storm, earthquake, fire, or any other natural disaster has settled and your home is deemed safe to occupy, your first job is to inspect your roof. Under no circumstances should you climb up there and walk around. Safely inspect your roof from the ground, and examine the ceilings just below the roof. Look for new leaks, visible light shining through the ceiling, missing or damaged shingles, or large brown stains on your walls or ceilings.
As soon as you notice damage, you need to document and take pictures of it. Next, write down what the damages are, the time and date you noticed them, and the suspected cause(s). You should also keep copies of repair estimates, invoices, and your energy bills. This information will come in handy when filing an insurance claim and hiring a contractor.
Tarp Your Roof
Your safety should be your top priority. Unless you’re a roofing expert, you may not notice hidden structural damage that can make it unsafe to be on your roof. Do not go onto your roof until you’ve assessed the danger and ensured it is safe. Your goal should be to secure the tarp and get off the roof as quickly as you can. Stretch the tarp around the area, tuck excess material under the roofing, and secure it with sandbags.
Some people may suggest securing it with 2x4s. However, this can cause more damage if you do it improperly. You could end up living under an unsafe roof for longer than you want. If you need to place another tarp, try doing so from within your home.
Contact Your Insurance Company
Once you have assessed and documented all the damage, it’s time to contact your insurance company and file a claim. A representative may recommend a roofing company to perform repairs. In some instances, they may reject your claim entirely if you don’t use their recommendation. Additionally, they may offer assistance for booking hotels in the area while you wait for repairs if your home is unsafe to occupy. After contacting your insurance company, they should send out an adjuster to give you an estimate of the repair cost.
Find a Reputable Repair Company
If your insurance company hasn’t suggested a roof repair service, you’ll have to find one yourself. Be wary of storm chasers if the damage occurred after a storm or significant weather event. They may try to get a deposit out of you and leave the area before they do any work. Your best bet is to find a local company that’s familiar with the climate and has the experience to handle emergency roof repairs.
Finding a reputable and local roof repair company can be tricky among the stress of a roofing emergency. The last thing you want is to deal with storm chasers looking for a quick buck. Conde Roofing & Construction is a roofing company in NH that understands the importance of finding a roof repair company you can rely on. We are fully insured, and we’ve been in the business for over 20 years! We’ve got what it takes to provide high-quality, reliable roof repair services.