Category

Home Maintenance

Should I Repair or Replace My Roof?

The short answer is you should replace your roof. Yes, it can be argued whether to repair or replace a roof depends on the extent of the damage. Some insurance companies even say that if most of your roof is still in good shape, you may be able to repair the damaged spot.

The reality is that if your roof has been compromised as a result of windstorm or hail event then you’re only placing a Band-Aid on the problem and will likely have additional roof issues in the near future. Additionally, when there are signs the roof is wearing out, or if it is close to the end of its expected lifespan, you are always better off replacing it.

The expected lifespan of a roof can vary greatly depending upon the type of roofing material used.  If you are not sure what type of roof you have, an experienced roofer can tell you.

If your home has an older roof, you should also keep in mind that there is a trend toward insurance companies tightening their underwriting requirements in areas like Florida where they have greater than average exposure.

Some insurers are refusing to renew existing homeowner’s insurance policies on houses with roofs older than 20 years unless they pass an inspection and some insurance companies are requiring the homeowners to cover the cost of these inspections.

Policies on homes that fail inspection are not renewed without a roof replacement.  Other insurers are refusing to write new policies for homes with roofs over 20 years old and are limiting liability under the policy to actual cash value to replace older roofs when they’re damaged.

This means they don’t pay to fully replace the roof, but only reimburse for what an old roof is worth after 20-plus years.  Although replacing a roof can be expensive, you may have no choice if failing to replace the roof means that you can’t get homeowner’s insurance.  (See “Why Should I Buy Homeowner’s Insurance.”)

If you check the condition of your roof at least once a year, you should be able to plan in advance for necessary repairs.  Moisture marks or brown stains on ceilings or walls, peeling paint on the underside of roof overhangs, damp spots alongside fireplaces, or water stains on pipes venting the water heater or furnace are all signs of a leaky roof.

When you inspect your roof; signs of trouble include cracked caulk or rust spots on flashing; missing shingles or shingles that are buckling, curling, or blistering; and worn areas around chimneys, pipes, and skylights. If you find piles of grit from asphalt roof tiles in the gutters, it means that the granules on your shingles are wearing down.

Black algae stains are not just cosmetic issues, masses of moss and lichen could signal roofing that’s decayed underneath.

If you’re inspecting your roof and find signs of a problem, especially if the roof is old or you suspect the damage occurred as a result of a storm with heavy wind or hail, or a recent tornado or hurricane, it is best to get a professional assessment.

Often, there’s a level of damage beyond what you are easily able to see.  Some roofing companies do this free; specialized roof inspectors, like those who work through the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association, charge about $175.

If something sudden and unforeseen, such as a wind storm, causes a leak to appear, your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover the repairs. But you’re still responsible for limiting the damage, so try to get a local roofer to spread a tarp while you arrange for repairs. Insurance may not cover your loss if you fail to mitigate the damages so be proactive a call a roofing professional to tarp your damaged roof.

How Can I Prevent My Pipes From Freezing And What Should I Do If They Do Freeze?

We don’t get as much cold weather as they do in other parts of the country.  Most of us who live here in Florida live here because we like the warm weather.

We joke about palm trees and wearing shorts and flip flops in December, spending the holidays on the beach and having only one day of Winter.  We tease our friends and family in colder climates about our warm weather.

Also, because we are accustomed to the warmer weather, we tend not to spend as much time preparing our homes for Winter as those in colder, more northern climates are accustomed to spending.

But even here in Florida, we do have some cold nights.  I was reminded of this a short time ago when a beep from my cell phone announced that there is a freeze warning in effect for tonight.   This means that temperatures could get cold enough to cause your water pipes to freeze, and in some cases, burst causing water damage to your home.

But there are steps that you can take to prevent this from happening.

  • Disconnect and drain all gardening hoses and install covers on all outside faucets.
  • If you have a swimming pool, make sure that it is properly winterized. Consider hiring a professional.
  • Keep the temperature in the home at 68 degrees or higher, even if you are going to be gone from the home for an extended period of time.
  • Open cabinet doors below kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow heat from the home to circulate.
  • Wrap pipes closest to exterior walls and in crawl spaces with pipe insulation or with heating tape. In a pinch, even wrapping pipes in newspaper can provide some degree of insulation in areas that do not have frequent or prolonged freezes.
  • Close all windows near water pipes and cover or close open-air vents.
  • If you have a basement, heat your basement and consider weather sealing your windows.
  • Insulate outside walls and unheated areas of your home.
  • Allow water to drip from a faucet served by exposed pipes. Running even a trickle of water through pipes can help prevent them from freezing.
  • If you plan to be away from home for an extended period of time, shut off the water supply valves to your washing machine.

The first sign of freezing pipes is reduced water flow from a faucet.  If a faucet or pipe freezes, you can thaw it by heating water on the stove, soaking towels in the hot water and wrapping them around the cold section so the pipes or by using a hair dryer.  (CAUTION:  Do not operate a hair dryer around standing water.)

Make sure the faucet is turned on so that the melted water can drip out and start by thawing the part of the pipe closest to the faucet.

If a pipe does burst, shut off the main water valve.  If the break is in a hot water pipe, close the valve on top of the water heater.

Call a plumber and a water mitigation company, if necessary.  Most homeowner’s insurance policies require that you make reasonable repairs to prevent further damage or loss to your property and will even pay for these costly repairs as long as the damage was caused by a covered peril and the costs are reasonable.

Review your insurance policy and if you have any concerns regarding the coverage afforded by your insurance policy, consult an attorney experienced in the area of homeowner’s property insurance claims and insurance coverage disputes.

If you have questions about your insurance coverage or need help with your insurance coverage dispute, please contact us for a free no-obligation consultation.