When natural disasters strike, the aftermath can be a nightmare for homeowners. Hurricane Ian caused widespread destruction throughout Florida in September 2022, and many people are still left cleaning up months afterward.
This article covers everything you need to know about hiring a roofing contractor after a hurricane, including tips on how to find contractors and what you should look for when hiring one after a catastrophic event like this. Finding a trustworthy roofer after a hurricane is challenging because they are in high demand during these times. You don’t want to get taken advantage of, so it’s important to do your research upfront so you can find someone that will take care of you and your home.
How to Know if Your Roof Sustained Damage from Hurricane Ian?
If your roof was damaged by Hurricane Ian, you will need to hire a roofer to fix it. But first you need to know if it was damaged due to the hurricane. Professional roofing contractors have the experience and know-how to perform a thorough inspection of your home and identify damage that an average homeowner might not see or might not even know to look for. The contractor will inspect for storm damage on the shingles, underlayment, flashing, as well as the overall structural integrity of the roof. Good contractors will document their findings by taking photos of damage as well as photos of diagnostic readings to measure moisture or leaks. Typically, the contractor will share their findings with you and/or put together a comprehensive assessment of their findings. A key benefit of hiring a roofing contractor to perform the inspection is that they can also identify and make emergency repairs that could end up saving you thousands of dollars in potential damages down the road.
4 things to Look for When Hiring a Roofing Contractor in Florida
Before you start looking for a roofing contractor, you should have a basic understanding of what to look for in one. When hiring a roofer, you want someone who is local, knowledgeable, licensed, insured, and experienced in handling insurance claims.
Local – Your best bet is to hire a local contractor. The reasons are simple – local contractors are easier to hold accountable and they understand the lay of the land better than a storm chaser coming in from out of town. When it comes to accountability, think about potential warranty or service issues down the road. Who would you rather rely on if an issue were to arise three years from now, a company located a thousand miles away or one that has an office 40 minutes up the road? Local contractors also understand local building codes, permit processes, etc. Anyone who has had a construction project in Florida knows that codes and regulations vary dramatically from city to city. You want someone who understands this part of the project and can navigate it for you. Another benefit of hiring local roofing contractors is that they have established networks of other local contractors and suppliers. Large roofing jobs often require coordination of multiple trades and specialty craftsmen.
Knowledgeable – You want to make sure that your roofing contractor is knowledgeable when it comes to using various building materials. There are lots of different types of shingles and tiles and not every roofing contractor knows how to correctly install them. Top-tier roofing contractors will have various certifications from manufacturers or industry trade groups that demonstrate expertise in using particular roofing materials. They also ensure that installers will follow industry best practices and comply with manufacturer warranties requirements. Contractors that have these certifications often post badges on their website, but here are some places to look them up.
Licensed / Insured – Many states require roofing contractors to obtain a specific license to install or repair various types of roofs. Florida is known to have more stringent licensing requirements for roofers, which can be a benefit to homeowners in that it helps ensure that all licensed roofing contractors are competent in the trade. Florida’s licensing requirements include examinations, a combination or work experience, and background checks. It is always a good idea for homeowners to check the Florida roofing license database to make sure that the contractor has a valid license and is in good standing. That being said, one of the requirements to obtain a roofing license in the state of Florida is that the contractor must be insured. However, it is always a good idea for a homeowner to request up-to-date proof of insurance to verify they have an active policy. The roofing trade can be dangerous, and homeowners need to know that they will not be liable for accidents or injuries that occur at their home during a roof install.
Insurance Claim Expertise – You will also want to hire a contractor that specializes in processing insurance storm claims. The insurance process can be new and confusing to many homeowners, and you will need to rely heavily on the contractor’s expertise to ensure that your claim pays the correct amount of money to do the job correctly. Especially after a hurricane or other large storm, things get chaotic for insurance adjusters. There are simply not enough of them to inspect all the damaged homes so many carriers bring in seasonal staff to meet the demand. In these types of situations, with adjusters at max capacity, there are lots of opportunities for errors in calculating labor & material quantities and overlooking various accessories that are currently installed on your home’s roofing system. This isn’t a knock on the insurance adjusters. They are working hard after these hurricanes. It’s just the reality that people that are overworked tend to make more mistakes. Professional roofing contractors tend to be much more process oriented and have systems in place to ensure that all the calculations are correct, and all existing components are accounted for on the adjusters estimate. If there are any discrepancies, an experienced insurance contractor will know exactly what to do to rectify this. Managing claims for homeowners is a value-added service and can take up a TON of time if you don’t know what you’re doing. Also, coming back to the idea of hiring local contractors, insurance restoration contractors will tend to have a better handle on pricing for individual line items in the adjuster’s estimate. They will better understand the local supply chain, what suppliers and specialty tradesmen currently charge, as well as other local market dynamics.