Your home’s first line of defense against the elements is the roof. It protects you from the scorching sun and storms. Besides that, the roof provides your home with an aesthetic appeal and helps to conserve energy. But, you’ll never realize its value until a tree falls over it or the storm sweeps it off. That’s when you’ll know that pans and pots cannot collect rainwater.
But, emergencies are naturally inevitable and unexpected. It’s impossible to know when the summer thunderstorm will strike. Even so, you can prepare for a roofing emergency. Having prior knowledge of the steps to take during such an eventuality can make the situation a lot more manageable. Here’s a detailed guide on how to handle a roof repair emergency.
What is a Roofing Emergency?
First things first, do you understand what a roofing emergency is? Of course, a small leak on the rooftop can’t qualify to be an emergency. A roofing emergency is severe damage to your roof, requiring urgent roof repair. Such a situation often requires the immediate attention of a professional. You shouldn’t ignore a roofing emergency, and there are three reasons for this:
- The leaking water can interfere with the electrical system and damage electronics, appliances, and breakers.
- Moisture absorbed in the attic and insulation can cause mold growth, which is a health hazard.
- The water can also ruin the rafters and decking in addition to staining walls and ceiling.
- There are six main situations that qualify to be roofing repair emergencies:
- An internal fire that has penetrated the roof or just weakened the deck.
- Small damage that is quickly growing to a big problem.
- A collapse of any part of the roofing.
- A tree or branch that has fallen over the roof, causing to cave in.
- If a storm or strong wind has torn off the roof’s shingles or flashing.
- If large amounts of debris have settled on the rooftop or smashed a hole into it.
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How to Respond to a Roofing Emergency
How you respond to the emergency largely depends on the nature of the damage. The first step you should take is to assess the severity of the situation. Find out whether it is a potential threat to you and your family. If there is significant damage, a collapse or weakening of the roof’s structure, vacate your family to a safer place. Also, call your emergency roofing service immediately.
If large volumes of water are entering the house, quickly turn off the main electricity switch to avoid electrical damage. It can be tempting to call the insurance company when caught up in such a mess, but it’s not wise to do so just yet. First, ensure that your roofing contractor has assessed the situation and estimated the damages. This will enable you to make the appropriate claim with your insurance provider.
If the damage is not posing any threat to you and your family, you can execute temporary repairs as you wait for a professional roof repair service.
These quick fixes include:
Tarping: In this case, you will cover the affected part with a heavy-duty tarp. To keep the tarp in place, you need to screw the edges with deck screws.
Asphalt shingles: If you have spare shingles in your store, you can apply them to the damaged area as you wait for a permanent solution.
Patching shingles: If your roofing is made of shingles, you can fix a leak by waterproofing it with a synthetic underlayment.
Cap the chimney: A leaking chimney can be easily fixed by covering the exterior opening with a tarp, shingle, or a metal sheet.
Why It Is Important to Call a Professional
Whether the situation is an emergency or a semi-emergency, you should call a roofing expert immediately. A professional understands that roof damage can cause substantial structural damage, mold growth, electrical damage, and water damage inside the house. For this reason, they will respond to your call immediately, even at odd hours.
The first thing the roofing contractor does is to apply a protecting covering on the affected area to prevent further damage. This involves capping, tarping, or applying shingles. Next, they will inspect the site to determine the extent of the damage. They will also try to diagnose the problem by looking for any underlying or apparent issues that may have caused the roofing catastrophe.
More importantly, your emergency roofing expert will write a report on the extent of the damage. This report also documents the estimated cost of the damages incurred. This information is crucial when filing a claim with your insurance company.
Keep in mind that the quick fixes discussed above are not permanent. The permanent solution to your roofing problem lies with a professional. They have the right skills, tools, insurance, and everything needed to do the job correctly. Be sure to call a licensed and insured roofing contractor when you are faced with a roofing emergency.
Should You Repair or Replace the Roof?
Depending on the level of severity and cause of the situation, the roof might require repair or complete replacement. Here are a few critical questions you should answer when making this decision:
- How much time do you have? If the emergency is quite severe, then you may not have time for a roof replacement.
- What’s the age of your roof? If it has lasted 20 years or more, replacing it would be the best option.
- How big is the damaged area? If the area is significantly large, it’s best to replace the entire roof. But, if the area is small, a roof repair is okay.
- How much will it cost to repair it? Evaluate the cost implications of repairing vs. replacement. If the costs are comparable, go for a new installation.
- Are the deck and attic severely damaged? If the roof’s interior structures show significant moisture damage, repairing the exterior roofing won’t solve it. In this case, a replacement is ideal.