In the best and worst of times, the roof of your home is the first line of defense. Giving protection from the harsh elements, pests, and even intruders, it guards many of the things that you love and worked hard for.
However, as the years pass by, even the most robust roofing materials are certain to deteriorate. Aging roofing systems are vulnerable not only to punishing weather but also to stress, mold, infestations, and tree damage.
Today, we’ll run you through a few of the ways you can determine if you are dealing with a roof repair emergency and how to adequately protect yourself and your home in a worst-case scenario. We also describe the actions that the roofer is likely to take in response, and how they can limit the damage to your home before the roof can be completely fixed.
What Qualifies as a Roofing Emergency?
Many homeowners are under the impression that damaged flashing, a clogged-up gutter, or a minor roof leak calls for emergency roofing repair, but that’s usually not the case. These faults, while inconvenient, generally fall under the category of short-term repairs.
Signs that your roof needs emergency repair include the following:
● Metal panels or sections of shingles have been torn off in high winds.
● The underlying substrate of the above material has suffered damage.
● Large hail, tree limbs or other debris have broken roofing material or decking.
● A direct lightning hit has caused serious burn marks and visible damage.
● Water is leaking into a highly sensitive site, like your fuse box.
In the event that rain is flooding into the building, you should immediately move to shut off the power to your home.
Place down multiple buckets or containers, and move furniture if necessary. Contact emergency roofing repairs from a trusted source. However, one thing you should NEVER do is venture up onto the roof yourself.
Storm Conditions and Rapid Response
In Louisiana, we know the curse of a devastating storm all too well. Four hurricanes and two tropical storms have ravaged our coast since the beginning of the 2020 season. Lake Charles and Grand Isle area were hit repeatedly and have struggled to fully recover.
When roofing materials have been blown off or gravely damaged in a storm, you need a team of experienced professionals that can mobilize rapidly and make critical emergency roof repairs on the fly, stabilizing the structure and preventing further leaks.
Fast response times are the difference between recovery and total, cataclysmic loss.
Part of the emergency response involves fitting an emergency roof tarp as a short-term solution to prevent further property damage from the wind and rain.
It is important to check that roof leaks are covered by your home insurance policy. If you decide to make a claim, you need photographic evidence of water damage. Take swift action to minimize further damage, and notify your insurance agent right away.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t take the most severe storm conditions to destroy your roof. Winds as low as 50 mph can cause significant damage.
The severity will depend on several factors, including the type and age of the materials used, the roof angle and shape, building height and proximity to nearby structures, and the quality of the original installation.
What Homeowners Need To Do in an Emergency
In emergency situations, it’s easy to panic. When you have concluded that the roof damage is serious and requires urgent attention, you should try to stay calm. Follow these steps to handle the issue:
● Assess the Danger Level. Is the danger so great that you and your family should evacuate the home? For example, if it seems likely that the roof will collapse, or your home is already flooding, then your priority should be the immediate evacuation of your family and any pets.
If a fallen tree has taken down a nearby power line, you should urgently call 911 or your utility company. Stay away from the lines.
● Do Not Attempt Repairs Yourself. Performing emergency DIY repair is dangerous and jeopardizes future insurance claims. Do not try to tarp or fix a leaking roof. Do not climb onto a damaged roof even to apply a temporary fix.
There are many risks, including falling from the roof and even falling through the roof. However, it’s fine to identify the source of the leak yourself before the roofer turns up.
● Contact the Professionals. Many roofers offer 24/7 emergency roof repair service, so you can call them at any time. Be selective about who you call for an emergency roof leak, particularly if it is after a storm.
It is best to avoid inexperienced or unqualified roofers who show up in town after storms and offer questionable repair services. Hire a roofer who has a roofing license and who is fully insured.
● Limit Further Damage Inside: While you are waiting for the roofer to arrive at your premises, you can use buckets to collect water. Another idea is to power up a dehumidifier (if you have access to one) and take other measures to contain the damage to your house and possessions — as long as this doesn’t extend to DIY roof repairs, of course.
● Speak With Your Insurance Agent: If you choose to contact your insurance provider, you may also ask your roofer to document the damage and help you negotiate the claims process. They may be able to compile a report detailing the nature of the damage to your building.
Closely study the fine print before you take out any policies, though. Deadlines are common and they are enforced.
● Make Preparations for a Roof Repair or Replacement. Ifyou’ve received an acceptable estimate from your roofer, it’s time to start preparing your home for a possible roof replacement.
In addition, if the damage is extensive, you may need to sort out alternative living arrangements in the short term. Even with emergency roof tarping in place, the building might be inhabitable until repairs are completed.
You should also be aware that insurance policies generally don’t cover damage caused by a lack of maintenance. If you’re getting your roof fixed because of general wear and tear, or because it has come to the end of its lifespan, this won’t be paid for by emergency insurance.
Louisiana Winter Weather
Winters are comparatively mild across Louisiana. However, in recent years, Louisiana has reported record low temperatures in the final months of the season.
Louisiana winters are still cold enough to cause problems with shingles. Damage is caused by the additional weight of wintry precipitation resting on the rooftop for days, sometimes weeks at a time. Quick temperature fluctuations cause parts and pieces to expand and compress, putting the shingles under great stress and causing them to crack and warp.
These conditions eventually leave the roof in a more brittle condition. That’s why we suggest looking out for loose or missing shingles, and any pulled nails that are protruding from the roof of your home. Aim to identify any issues before they get out of hand.
Condensation is a notable seasonal problem in Louisiana. Warm air from our heaters can lead to a buildup of mold or mildew, due to inadequate ventilation and high humidity.
To tackle this problem at the source, we recommend that you have decent insulation installed in your attic and good airflow throughout. Often this job won’t be a complicated affair — in most cases, you just need to beef up your existing insulation.
24 Hour Support
When it comes to 24 hour emergency roof repair, Louisiana residents have a few options. Hibbard Roofing is familiar with hurricane-related storm damage and knows what it takes to repair and reinforce your roof in the aftermath of a catastrophic weather event.
Remember that we always provide an emergency tarp when your roof is leaking. You don’t have to cover the cost of emergency roof tarping upfront, as we bill your insurance company for this.
Count on us for all of your roof installation, roof repair, and gutter replacement needs in the state of Louisiana. We can install or repair any type of roofing material. Whether you need help with metal roofing, membrane roofing, or asphalt shingles, we have you covered.
Reach out to Hibbard today for more information on our emergency roofing services.