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Social Distancing from a Contractor’s Perspective

Drone Roof MeasuringIf there is one phrase that will likely define the year 2020, it’s “social distancing.” Two simple words, one very big impact. How humans interacted prior to 2020, and how they will interact has changed – most likely long-term.

From a contractor’s perspective, the necessary practice of “social distancing” takes on a variety of forms.

How Things Have Changed for Contractors

Before March, when you would call a contractor and ask for an estimate, you’d receive a visit from an estimator or sales person. During that visit, you would probably shake hands, and invite them in to discuss the project you need completed. You may spend quite some time together at your kitchen table or in your living room going over the process, looking at samples, and even chatting about family, kids, or the weather.

Before March, your contractor may have had an office full of people – managers, scheduling staff, estimators, contract prep staff, accounting staff – every person that makes the wheels of an organization turn. They would gather in a small conference room for meetings. They would gather in kitchens for lunches and breaks. They might even head to a local restaurant on a Friday after work for happy hour.

Before March, every business owner considered their business essential. Essential to their customers, essential to their employees, and essential to the economy.

Now, things are different.

So how has social distancing and the other methods put into place to eradicate a pandemic changed the home improvement industry? Like many other industries, home improvement was both hurt and helped by these sudden changes. Hurt, like most others, in that business slowed or even stopped for enough time to cause financial strain. Helped, also like most others, in that contractors have been forced forward in time from a technological perspective.

What We’re Doing Now, and What We’ll Keep Doing

Long prior to the pandemic, a number of companies have offered amazingly accurate satellite imaging and drone technology for use in the construction industry. Contractors can virtually inspect many parts of the exterior of your home without setting foot on your property. Accurate measurements can be taken, even on the most complex of roofs. Potential problems can be spotted, such as missing or broken shingles, loose gutters, and issues around piping. While there are still some advantages to having someone get on your roof for measuring and inspection, the speed and accuracy of utilizing technology for this step is often a better choice. This technology is definitely here to stay.

In addition to using technology for estimating purposes in the field, contractors are also using it internally to go paperless. Product sample brochures, for example, can be provided to homeowners via a web link. Contracts can be sent to homeowners, and returned to contractors by e-mail. Payments can be taken over the phone or online. Supplies can be ordered online, and crew coordination can happen virtually as well. Going paperless makes sense, both from a speed perspective and an environmental one.

Prior to March of this year, when meeting with homeowners, it was the practice – even a requirement – of many contractors to meet face-to-face. While it has never been the practice at S&K, some contractors went as far as to require 90 minutes or more in a face-to-face meeting with all homeowners. That in-person meeting would also likely including hand shakes. While we can still meet face-to-face, that is up to the homeowners. And when meeting face-to-face, social distancing is followed.

We recognize that each individual has their own level of comfort with personal interactions during this trying time. The most vulnerable among us in particular require an extra level of care and caution. So from now on, although we have always considered ourselves to be kind and courteous, an “extra mile” effort is being put forth to ensure the comfort and safety of customers.

From an installation perspective, while crews may not always be able to maintain more than 6 feet from one another on the job, they will always maintain that distance from homeowners. For S&K, 90% of our work is done outside, so social distancing is not an issue. And when we do need to enter your home, all precautions will be taken, and time inside will be kept to a minimum.

To use another phrase from the pandemic, we are truly “in this together.” The owners and teams at S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows are committed to continuing to go that extra mile in everything we do.

If you are interested in learning more about our No-Contact Service, or to schedule an estimate, call us at 1-866-836-7663, or click the Estimate link above.

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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Roof Replacement?

DOES HOMEOWNERS INSURANCE COVER ROOF REPLACEMENT?
During inspection for insurance purposes, your insurance adjuster or roofing contractor will take photos of any damage.

As with most homeowners insurance claims, you may be wondering “does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?”, but that will vary from company to company, policy to policy.

If you suspect that you have roof damage caused by severe weather such as hail or high winds, or damage caused by animals or birds, it is possible that repair or replacement could be covered by your homeowners insurance. Normal wear and tear due to age is not likely to be covered. However, if your roof is less than 10-15 years old and has missing or broken shingles, the shingle manufacturer may be to blame, and repair or replacement could be covered by insurance. This does not happen often, but every now and again a shingle manufacturer produces an inferior batch that fails prior to its warranty expiration.

In either case, the first step is to contact your insurance agent. They will ask you a few questions to determine next steps. After that, if they decide that further investigation is necessary, they will send an insurance adjuster to your home to asses the situation.

Once it is determined that a claim will be covered, the agent may provide a list of local roofers for estimates or recommend that you contact contractors in your area. In our experience, they generally require more than one quote (usually 3) to ensure a fair price.

Prior to having the work done, your insurance company will need to approve the company/estimate that the homeowner is most comfortable with, and work can begin.

Beware Storm Chasers

When areas are hit by severe weather, storm chasers aren’t far behind. In our industry, storm chasers are usually fly-by-night companies looking to capitalize on storm damage. They often canvas door-to-door after storms asking if the homeowner would like them to get on your roof to assess any damage. Often times their tactics are not only shady, they can be illegal. Storm chasers have been known to CAUSE damage to your roof while “inspecting” it, then encourage you to file a claim. This practice is illegal, and insurance companies know how to spot it. In many cases, insurance companies can find enough evidence of this man-made damage to reject your claim, leaving you with a damaged roof that you must pay to fix.

Should you choose to have your roof inspected for damage prior to contacting your insurance agent, it is wise to be present to observe the process. Illegal tactics by storm chasers include hitting shingles with a hammer to mimic hale damage, curling the edges of shingles by hand, or breaking shingles. Unless a roofer is fixing missing or loose shingles, an inspection should be observation only. You should ask for photos to be taken and a report to be written and provided to you for your records. You can provide these to your insurance provider.

As always, never hire a contractor that is not licensed, bonded and insured. Ask your contractor for their credentials prior to enlisting their services, and ask for a written contract/estimate for the work to be performed. So “does homeowners insurance cover roof replacement?”. If you’re still having concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us!

S&K Roofing, Siding and Windows has worked with most insurance providers, and are listed as a preferred contractor with many. If you’re curious if you have roof damage that is covered by insurance, contact your insurance provider. They will guide you through the process the right way.

 

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Missing Shingles or Broken Shingles – What’s the Harm?

If your home has missing or broken roof shingles, you might think it’s no big deal. Outside of looking bad, what’s the harm, right? Well, there can be a lot that goes wrong when roofing shingles are missing or broken. After all, your roof’s shingles are the main line of defense for your home against the elements. When that main line is compromised, minor intrusions can cause major damage.

In this blog post, we cover what can cause your roof shingles to be compromised, what can happen if left untreated, and what to do to make sure your home stays safe from whatever Mother Nature has to bring.

Conditions that Can Cause Loose, Broken, or Missing Shingles

Damaged Roof ShinglesHigh/sustained winds – As we have seen in recent years, certain times of the year can bring with it high, sustained winds. Roof shingles are meant to sustain wind, and even some gusting. But when gusts reach high levels, and/or are sustained over a period of time, even the best shingles and installation can be in danger.

Ice damming – During winter months when weather patterns swing from mild to severe, the freezing, melting, and re-freezing can cause ice damming. Ice damming can force ice, then water, to back up under roof shingles. This process loosens and can even break the shingles.

Improper installation – When your roof was installed, hopefully it was installed by a licensed roofing contractor. That is not always the case. Roofs installed by unlicensed, or poorly trained contractors can be subject to a variety of flaws. Improperly installed plywood, underlayment, and shingles can result in shingles that become loose and easily dislodged in wind and rain.

Roof Age – Even the best shingles and the best shingle installation has its limits. Most shingles come with 20-30 year warranties. When that time is up, you will likely see the tell tale signs – missing and broken shingles. If your roof is near or past its warranty, roof replacement is probably in order.

Why Fix Damaged or Missing Shingles

Prevent Damage to Plywood – When roof shingles become compromised, water can seep underneath them. If the barrier between the shingles and the plywood (the underlayment) is also compromised (and it likely is when shingles become loose or broken) water can also seep underneath of it, reaching the plywood. Once water becomes trapped between the plywood and underlayment/shingles, it can quickly begin to rot the plywood. Rotten plywood can lead to leaks and even dangerous mold.

Prevent Leaks – Once water finds its way under your shingles, it will find a path that will eventually lead to leaks. Sometimes a homeowner won’t even be aware that they have shingles that are compromised until a leak occurs. If your home is situated in such a way that you cannot see the roof in its entirety, how would you know? Unfortunately, you’ll know when you see a leak! Leaks that are visible inside a home in ceilings and walls can be costly. If your roof shingles are aging or if you see missing or broken shingles, do not hesitate in fixing the issue.

Aesthetics – If you are like most, you take great pride in home ownership. You work hard to keep your home looking its best. When it comes to curb appeal, your roof is one of the first and most noticeable parts of your home. When roof shingles are broken or missing, it can give the appearance of a home that is unkempt. Fixing your roof will help keep your home looking its best.

Repairs vs. Replacements

Shingle/Roof Age – When deciding whether to repair or replace your roof due to missing or broken shingles, age is likely the first consideration. If your roof is well within the shingle warranty, a repair is probably going to suffice. If your roof is approaching or has exceeded the shingle warranty, your roofing contractor may recommend replacement. Roof replacement may also be recommended if a large portion of your roof has been compromised.

Aesthetics – Even when your roof is within its warranty, there are times when the shingle that was originally used is no longer available. Even if it is available, over time your existing shingles may have faded. In either case, it can be difficult to get a match that will not look ‘patched.’ When that is the case, you might choose a roof replacement over a repair.

Insurance Coverage – In our area, each year we see isolated extreme weather events. In 2018, Mt. Airy, Maryland experienced a small tornado that ripped the roof off of a portion shopping center. The year prior, Ellicott City, Maryland was devastated by severe flooding. When your roof has been damaged by severe weather, your homeowners insurance may cover the damage.

Cost – When the damage to your roof is not covered by insurance, it is up to you to foot the bill. Many roofers offer financing, however not everyone’s situation allows for the expenditure of a new roof, particularly when it is unexpected. If you are in a situation where you cannot afford a new roof, a repair may buy you enough time to save, or at least to find a financing option that works with your budget.

Consulting with a Roofing Contractor

As with any home improvement contractor, it is imperative that you make sure they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Using an unlicensed roofing contractor, or doing a roof repair or replacement yourself does not provide you with a warranty. The lack of a warranty offers you no recourse if your roof becomes compromised. Reputable roofing contractors will offer not only the warranty on the roof shingle, but a limited workmanship warranty as well. When having your roof repair or roof replacement estimated, be sure to ask your contractor about warranties.

In addition to providing warranties, a reputable contractor will not advise roof replacement unless it is necessary. If your roof is well within the shingle warranty, unless there is significant damage, a large portion missing, or leaking, a reputable roofing contractor will likely offer a roof repair vs. a complete roof replacement.

If your home has missing or broken roof shingles, and you would like an assessment, contact us at 1-866-836-ROOF to schedule a no-obligation, free roofing estimate.

 

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