The elements can be hard on that roof over your head. Prolonged exposure to inclement weather and extreme temperatures can cause damage and lead to costly problems inside of your home or business.
A recent article on Grange Insurance’s website lists seven types of roof shingle damage, and includes tips on preventing and treating each problem, when possible.
Blisters - Blisters are caused by the expansion of volatile gasses escaping from the asphalt layer. The gas migrates to the shingles surface, eventually causing the top to erode and blister. Prevention: Make sure your roof is properly ventilated and shingles are not installed over wet surfaces, such as wet felt paper or roof decking. Treatment: There is no way to stop blistering once it starts to occur. Eventually, the roof will need to be replaced. If blistering is severe, where it opens up and exposes the mat of the shingle, then the roof will need to be replaced right away.
Craze Cracks (Thermal) – Craze Cracks are a result of the mat of the asphalt shingle drying out over time, which causes the mat to shrink and results in surface cracking. Shingles that exhibit this within a few years of being installed may indicate a manufacturer defect with the shingle. Prevention: Craze cracks occur due to normal age and wear, so they are difficult to prevent. Treatment: Craze cracks are very common on roofing shingles and are usually harmless. When shingles exhibit craze cracks, they don’t necessarily need to be treated or replaced.
Curling – Curling is when roof shingles start to lift and curl on the perimeter of the shingle. Prevention: Ensure your roof is properly ventilated. Roofs that have an additional layer installed over the top of the pre-existing layer are more susceptible to curling. Treatment: You can apply additional sealant to the underside of the shingles on the corner where the curling is occurring to reseal it to the roofing surface.
Cupping – Cupping is when shingles start to concave from the middle causing waves or cupping in the appearance of the shingle. Cupping is usually due to age-related wear to an asphalt or organic shingle roof. Prevention: Make sure your roof is properly ventilated and shingles are replaced when their useful life has been exceeded. Treatment: When cupping occurs, it means it’s time to replace the roof.
Flaking – Flaking is the deterioration of the roofing surface, which is usually caused by weathering of the shingle due to extreme age. Prevention: Replace your roof when its useful lifetime is over. Treatment: When flaking occurs, it’s a sign that the roof should have been replaced many years ago.
Hail Bruise – Hail Bruising occurs when hail stones damage the shingle surface and mat, which compromises the shingle’s water shedding ability. Prevention: Besides living in an area where hail storms are less common, there’s no way to prevent this type of damage. Treatment: Replace the damaged shingles or the entire roof, depending on the amount of damage. This type of roof damage is covered by most standard homeowners insurance policies.
Manufacturer Defect – A manufacturer defect is an issue caused during the manufacturing process which causes a defect in the shingle. Prevention: Unfortunately, this will happen from time to time. Treatment: You can contact the manufacturer of the shingle to learn about their policy for handling defects. Some companies may be willing to reimburse you for the pro-rated life of the shingle if there’s a warranty and it’s covered by the manufacturer’s policy.
So, one day you notice that your shingles have been damaged in a storm. You decide to hire a contractor to fix the issue or replace the roof. How can you tell a good roofing contractor from a bad one?
An unethical roofing contractor:
- Will not give you a solid estimate of how much it will cost to fix the damage.
- Will tell you not to talk to your insurance agent or to let them handle the insurance company.
- Will convince you that you do not need to pay your deductible or you will only need to pay a portion of the deductible to his company.
- Will offer an advertising agreement that “covers” your deductible in exchange for the advertising space. (Note: it is NOT illegal for a roofing company to advertise their services, but it IS illegal for them to trade a customer’s deductible in exchange for putting their sign on that customer’s lawn.)
- Will not keep you updated as to the status of the work or the insurance claim.
- Will send false invoices for a higher dollar amount than what you actually paid (this is where you get into felony status). Furthermore, if you sign the invoice, you have committed insurance fraud, wire fraud and conspiracy to commit insurance fraud whether you are aware of this or not.
When dealing with roofing contractors and insurance companies:
- Get a recommendation for a contractor from your insurance agency or company.
- If you are not using a recommended contractor, make sure that the contractor has good references and has been in business for longer than a few years. Ask for a track record.
- Get an estimate before you hire the contractor. It is their job to give you an estimate before you file the claim.
- NEVER believe a contractor who says that you do not have to pay the full amount of your deductible.
- Stay on top of your contractor and insist on being involved with the insurance company.
- If you are unsure or suspect anything is wrong, contact your insurance company directly and immediately.
Watch for these warning signs and follow these simple guidelines and, hopefully, you will never have to worry about being scammed or framed for insurance fraud.
Keep in mind that the team at Schwartz Insurance Group provides customers with help during the claims process, which includes offering recommendations regarding trustworthy contractors. Feel free to contact us with any questions or concerns.