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Five tips to become roof aware

by: Kirsten Land on July 18th, 2017 about General

Have you been thinking about switching your homeowners insurance policy to save some money? Before you switch, make sure you do a little homework. Otherwise, instead of saving money, you might end up costing yourself-a lot. Be roof aware before you shop around.

Here are five tips to help you be roof aware before switching insurance providers or policies.

1. Have a roofer check your roof for any damage.

One friend and many of her co-workers decided to switch together to a cheaper policy for home and car insurance. Enticed by the low price offered by an agent who visited their office, they switched on the spot.

Her new insurance company sent a roofer to her home to complete an Age and Condition Report on the roof. Unfortunately, she had hail damage, and her roof needed to be replaced. Because of that, she was uninsurable. Had she filed a claim on time with her previous insurance company or asked a roofer to look before she switched, she would have saved a lot of hassle.

2. Familiarize yourself with your current policy or sit down with your agent periodically to review it.

It sounds mundane, but just knowing the basics of your coverage can really help you, both when rate shopping and if you need to make a claim. Some people switch policies trying to save money only to discover the new policy doesn't cover the same things as their previous policy.

3. If your roof is five years old or older, have it inspected.

Find an experienced roofer that you trust (and one that's Haag Certified) to come inspect your roof. Being Haag Certified is an industry-recognized certification that indicates your roofer can effectively and efficiently inspect and assess damage. Also, if you notice that a lot of your neighbors are getting their roofs replaced, it's a good sign that you should have a roofer take a look at yours.

4. Know your time limit on filing an insurance claim for roof damage.

Many homeowners insurance policies have a time limit for filing a roof claim after storm damage occurs. Usually, it's two years. Back to our friend's story above... the hail damage discovered by the new insurance company was more than two years old, which left her on the hook for the cost of replacing the roof.

Many reputable roof companies will do a free or low-cost roof inspection. It's a good idea to have an annual inspection by a qualified roofer.

5. Can't remember the date of the storm that hit you? Ask a roofer.

Many roofers, like us, subscribe to a service that archives the dates and details of storms across the country. If you think you might have damage but can't remember the date, a roofer with this service is your best bet to pinpoint the date for you.

The moral of this story and the reason for these tips? Saving money doesn't always save you money. Remember to practice the principles of roof awareness so you don't get stuck with a big bill.

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This roofing mistake can cost you

by: Kirsten Land on July 4th, 2017 about General

After a hailstorm, the roofers come out looking for business. You'll see many knocking on doors and leaving flyers or offering to check the roof for potential damage. But beware-some roofers, whether they're scammers or simply inexperienced, can cause damage to your roof that your insurance company won't pay to repair.

The Case of the Fake Pictures

After a recent storm, one of our strategic partners allowed a roofer who knocked on his door to inspect his roof. The roofer came back down and said he found damage and had photos of the bad shingles. Then, he pressured the homeowner to call his insurance company immediately and file a claim.

Our partner refused and called us after the roofer left. We came out to inspect his roof and guess what? We didn't find any damage. The roofer had tried to scam the homeowner using fake photos.

The Damage Scam

Another scam that dishonest roofers might try is damaging your roof when they go up there. They'll use hammers or roofing axes to bang and scrape shingles so it looks like it was impacted by hail. Most insurance adjusters, however, can easily spot this. And even though you didn't know what the roofer was doing, you'll still be on the hook for repairs because insurance won't pay.

Inexperienced Feet

Scammers aren't the only roofers you need to be on guard against. Inexperienced roofers, even with good intentions, can cause damage to your roof by not walking on the shingles properly.

The Lesson

Whether accidental or intentional, insurance companies will not pay to repair a roof damaged in the ways outlined above. Even worse, if you file a claim and your adjuster determines that your roof is not covered, it is still filed as an unpaid claim. In other words, it's on your file and your rates may go up.

So, the moral of the story is simple: If you don't know the company that wants to get on your roof, don't let them up there before thoroughly checking them out. If you can't establish a level of trust that you feel comfortable with, just say no. Wait until you can find a roofer that you trust.

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As the heat builds up this summer, your attic can get extremely hot. Did you know that there are calculations and codes that tell you how much ventilation your roof should have?

If you’re getting a roof replaced, make sure that your roofer knows the roofing codes for ventilation (you’d be surprised at how many don’t know this!). If you’re not getting a roof replaced, but would like to find out if your roof has enough ventilation, call a roofer who knows how to calculate it. Here’s why it matters.

Energy savings

Want to save money on your energy bill? Make sure your roof is properly ventilated. An overheated attic makes your air conditioner work harder to keep your house cool.

Mold

It smells funky, ruins stuff, and is hard to get rid of. Besides that, it can cause some serious health problems. An overheated attic is like an incubator for mold. Hot, humid air trapped in a dark place? That’s mold’s dream home.

Shingle warranty

Without proper ventilation, the oven-like heat trapped in your attic can damage the shingles, causing them to blister. This voids the shingle manufacturer’s warranty. When that happens, you’re on the hook for repairing the damage.

The ventilation calculator

Our friends at Lomanco have a tool to give you an idea of how much ventilation you need. You can compare that with how much ventilation you have. If you don’t have enough, you can call a roofer to get an estimate on installing more vents.

Know your ventilation

Want to make sure your roof is in good shape? First, find out if you have enough existing ventilation. Then, if you are adding ventilation to your current roof, or are replacing a roof, make sure your roofer knows the roofing code regarding ventilation in your area. Helping your attic breathe is always a wise investment.

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Don’t let roof issues complicate selling your home

by: Kirsten Land on June 6th, 2017 about General

Thinking about selling your home in the near future? If you are, and your roof needs repair or replacement, we recommend that you take care of those repairs before you put the house on the market.

Not only will it be one less thing for you to worry about, it can also put you in a stronger negotiating position-and sometimes, it can even save the sale.

The sale that fell through

Sellers, when they find out that they need a repair or replacement on their roof, often decide to wait until they get an offer before making the repair. That can, however, backfire.

A realtor for a buyer called us to come inspect the flat roof of a house that they wanted to buy. Unbeknownst to the realtor, their client-the buyer-also arranged to have another roofer come inspect the roof. Two roofing companies showed up on the day of inspection.

That’s typically not a problem. However, the buyer’s roofer didn’t have much experience with flat roofs. Our roof inspector, with more than two decades of experience with flat roofs, assessed that this roof needed about $1500 in repairs. The other roofer, however, thought that the entire roof needed to be replaced. The buyer got spooked, and backed out of the sale.

If the seller had taken care of the repair before putting the house on the market, it likely wouldn’t have been an issue at all.

Bargaining chip

Repairing your roof before it goes on the market can enhance your negotiation position. “New Roof” looks good to a buyer. “Needs Work” makes buyers wary. It also gives them ammunition to counter-offer for less.

One less stress

Imagine all the moving parts you have to deal with during the sale of a home. Walk-throughs, inspections, negotiating, packing, and then finally actually moving. All under a time constraint.

Do you really want to coordinate with a roofing crew and have them in-and on-your house while you’re trying to get everything else done?

Taking care of it before going to market will help preserve some of your sanity during the craziness of a move.

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Why our business is really about people (not roofs)

by: Kirsten Land on April 4th, 2017 about General

You’ve probably noticed how one act of kindness often leads to a chain reaction of kind acts.

It may not seem like that has much to do with a roofing business, but it does for us! Here’s one way we’ve seen that chain reaction in our business.

We work with a lot of real estate agents. This leads to us helping people who are buying or selling a home. That’s a stressful time for everyone involved! So, when someone’s hit with a curveball like a damaged roof, you can imagine how that adds to their stress levels.

That was the case for a family that was selling their home and were set to close in a few weeks. The roof had just received some hail damage. We came out to inspect it as a favor to the real estate agent, and sure enough, the roof was totaled.

Despite the all-around stress of that situation, we all found ways to work together to help each other. First, we came out and met with the seller’s insurance adjuster, who agreed with our assessment that the roof was totaled. Insurance would pay to replace the roof and gutters and would expedite the process.

The seller chose us to replace the roof and gutters since we had been willing to work with them and their insurance. The roof had to be done before they could go through the closing. We promised to get the work done before the closing date.

Meanwhile, the buyers asked if they could choose the roof color and pay for an upgrade to an impact-resistant shingle. It may have seemed like an extra hassle for them to worry about, but the sellers didn’t hesitate. They graciously agreed to the request.

Afterward, the buyer of the house was so pleased with our work and our customer service, they purchased our two-year roof maintenance service.

The seller was also pleased, as were both of the real estate agents. We got the job done, and the house closed on time.

You never know what an act of kindness might lead to. Ours started small: doing a favor for a real estate agent who needed quick help before a closing. It ended with a win for all of us, and every party reaching out to lend a hand to the others.

You see, our business isn’t really about roofs.

It’s about people. And giving them what they need in a way that makes everyone feel like they are more than customers. At its core, our business is about kindness. And kindness is contagious.

If you’re worried about your roof, call us, and let us be a friendly face when you’re stressed about your house. Because you will always be more than a customer to us.

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How do you love your house? Let us count the ways.

by: Kirsten Land on February 7th, 2017 about General

Valentine's dayWhen was the last time you gave your house a Valentine? Yes, even houses need love, and this February you can give yours a special Valentine’s treat. Here are six things you can do this month for your house.

Door sweep and weather stripping

Check out your exterior doors. Over the years, the sweep (the weather strip along the bottom of the door) and the weather stripping around the frame can deteriorate and fail. As that happens, drafts come in and air escapes, which drives up your heating bills in the winter and cooling bills in the summer. Replace them if they’ve seen better days.

Baseboards

Baseboards take the brunt of family life. Kids crash cars into them and whack them with hockey sticks. Adults and kids both kick them from time to time. If your baseboards look tired and bruised, it’s time to buy some paint, painter’s tape, and a brush to touch them up. It’s a small thing, but it’s a detail that can breathe new life into a room for little cost and effort.

Furnace Filter

When was the last time you checked your furnace filter? If it’s been a while, take out the old, and replace it with a new one. In fact, most filters should be replaced every couple of months. Not only will it enhance the efficiency of your HVAC system, it will improve the air quality in the house for everyone. Bob Vila offers some guidelines for choosing the type of filter that will best suit your needs.

Vacuum the Dryer Vent

Out of sight, out of mind. The poor dryer vent can get neglected. Think of it like an artery. When it’s clear, the dryer runs efficiently. But as it clogs with lint, it reduces efficiency. The dryer has to work harder, and it may eventually stop drying your clothes altogether. Not only that-a clogged vent becomes a fire danger. So, pull your dryer out, disconnect the vent tube, and vacuum it. You get bonus points for going outside and vacuuming the vent tube from the opposite direction.

Light Bulbs

Do you have some light bulbs way up high that are hard to replace? If you’ve been putting that off for a while and living in the dim shadows, then let there be light! Get out the ladder and change out all the bulbs that need it. You can install energy-efficient bulbs to save some money on your energy bill and avoid changing them again for a while. In addition to brightening the room, good lighting will brighten your mood, too.

Smoke Alarms

Don’t put that ladder away yet! While you have it out to change the light bulbs, scoot it around to your smoke and carbon dioxide alarms. If you haven’t changed their batteries in a while, give them fresh ones.

In any relationship, it’s always the little things that show you care the most. It’s the same with your house. Treat your home to some TLC this month!

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Will your insurance cover a roof repair?

by: Kirsten Land on January 17th, 2017 about General

Protecting your homeOver the years, we’ve found that a lot of people don’t really know what their insurance policy covers when it comes to their roof. Unfortunately, that could be a financial land mine.

Before you renew your property insurance for the year, we recommend reviewing your policy to fully understand the coverage. Below, we’ve listed a few very important things that you need to know about your insurance policy.

Know your deductible for a new roof

The deductible is the out-of-pocket expense you will pay before insurance starts paying out on your roof claim. If you don’t know what your deductible is and your roof is damaged, you may be left scrambling for cash during a time when you’ll have enough anxiety as it is. When you review your policy, note your deductible and work toward having the funds to pay it.

Know what insurance pays on a roof claim

We often encounter homeowners who are surprised at how much or how little their insurance company will pay out on a roof claim. If you find out that insurance doesn’t cover nearly as much as you thought, you’ll have to come up with more money. The amount that insurance pays may vary depending on factors like the age of the roof. Many policies offer recoverable depreciation, while others do not. These aren’t things that you’ll want to come as a surprise.

Know what exclusions apply

In some cases, a policy might cover repairs to a roof from storms but not cover repairs for damage that was a result of improper maintenance. In other cases, a policy might not even cover a full roof replacement. Again, these are not caveats that you want coming to you as a surprise while you’re having a roof emergency. Be sure to check for exclusions in your insurance policy that apply to your roof.

Understanding your insurance policy will result in a lot less stress if you need to replace your roof. If you’d like more information about roof replacement or maintenance, give us a call.

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How to prevent ice dams

by: Kirsten Land on January 3rd, 2017 about General

Snowy houseIce dams are a typical problem in states where heavy snow is commonplace. But even in Oklahoma, some winters bring favorable conditions for ice dams to form. Find out what causes ice dams, and what steps you can take to prevent them from damaging your home.

What are ice dams?

Ice dams are formed because of melting snow on your roof. The warmth of your home’s attic melts snow, which runs down to your gutters. That water freezes and forms a mound of ice at the cold edge of the roof.

That’s the ice dam. It blocks other water from running down (and off) your roof. Water backs up, seeps under your shingles, and gets into your home.

Water dripping down onto your ceiling can cause stained ceiling and walls and even rotten wood. That can create a lot of damage.

How do you prevent ice dams?

The way to prevent ice dams from damaging your home is to keep your roof cold. Keeping heat in your attic from melting the snow stops the melt that forms ice dams. There are a few steps you can take keep your roof cold.

1. Add insulation in your attic

If your attic doesn’t have enough insulation, heat from your home will more easily escape into the attic and the roof will be warm. Check your local building codes to find out how much insulation is required in your attic.

2. Close paths to the attic

Much of the heat lost in your home is lost to the attic. Heat gets to the attic through many paths, like pipe chases, access hatches, and gaps or cracks in the drywall. If you’re comfortable doing this, you can get into your attic and close these paths using foam and caulk to keep out the heat, or hire someone else to take care of it.

3. Vent your attic

Attic vents keep cold air moving through your attic, moving warmth out. Ridge and soffit vents will help prevent ice dams from forming.

4. Chimney flashing

Remember that holes for pipes and cracks in drywall allow heat into the attic? If your home has a chimney, the gaps alongside it also allow heat into the attic. You can correct this by adding flashing around your chimney in the attic.

If you find that this winter is hard on your roof, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you resolve any roofing issues the winter weather leaves behind.

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Help keep your family safe from holiday crime

by: Kirsten Land on December 20th, 2016 about General

santa-thiefThe holiday season is an exciting time filled with family gatherings, traveling, shopping, gift-giving, and relaxing. It’s still important, however, to be careful during the holidays.

We can get caught up in the magic and let our guard down, making us vulnerable to holiday crimes. Here are a few simple tips to help you be safe during your holiday season.

Shopping

If you need to shop at night-a strong possibility with the earlier sunsets-try to bring a friend or family member, and park in a well-lighted area close to your destination.

Be aware of your surroundings. Avoid parking next to vans, trucks with camper shells, or cars with darkened windows.

Locate your car keys before heading back to your vehicle. Do not approach your car if there are suspicious people in the vicinity.

Hold onto your packages, bags, and your purse securely-don’t set them down to open the door.

If traveling from store to store, don’t leave your packages on the seats of the car. Stash them out of sight.

ATM safety

Pick an ATM in a safe place. Good locations include a mall (if the ATM isn’t tucked in a secluded corner), a restaurant, or any other well-lighted, highly visible location.

Be careful when entering your PIN. Shield the keypad if others are standing nearby.

Keep your receipt. Don’t discard it until you can shred it at home.

Only withdraw the amount of cash you need.

Be aware of anyone who may have been watching you withdraw money and then follows you. If someone does that, stay in a public place. You can ask mall security or whatever place of business you’re in for an escort to your vehicle.

Home

Lock up your doors and windows, even if you’re only leaving the house for a few minutes.

Stash gifts and valuables so that they can’t be seen from the windows.

Be aware that criminals sometimes knock on the door and pretend to have a delivery for you.

Traveling? Arrange for a neighbor to collect your mail and pick up newspapers and packages. Ask them to keep an eye on your house. Leave lights on in a few rooms and on the porch. If possible, set them on an automatic timer. And don’t broadcast your trip on social media so people know that you’re gone.

Be aware and be safe so you can enjoy the holidays to the fullest. Have a safe, warm, and enjoyable holiday season with your family!

Parts of this list were adapted from the Holiday Safety Tips posted by the Los Angeles Police Department.

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Three winter home care tips

by: Kirsten Land on December 6th, 2016 about General

winter-cottageWith cold weather already here and more on the way, you can still help protect your home from the damaging effects of winter weather. Here are three simple, inexpensive tips you can use to give your home an advantage when it goes head-to-head with Old Man Winter.

Tip 1 – Gutter socks

I know, these sound weird. Let me explain. To protect your gutters from the snow and ice that can pack-and crack-the gutters, take a long tube sock. Fill it with ice melt (not just salt!). Tie the end. Attach the sock to a bracket at the higher end of the gutter.

To attach it, you can poke a hole in the sock, put a carabiner through, and easily clip the carabiner onto the bracket. This will prevent the sock from sliding down the drain and clogging the gutter.

Lay the sock flat into the gutter, and presto! A gutter sock! Create and install several, according to how many gutters you have, so that the ice and snow don’t cause them to crack, leak, and detach.

Tip 2 – Stock up on ice melt

Speaking of ice melt, it’s a good idea to buy it before you’ll need it. You’ll be prepared and probably save money, too. Ice melt never goes bad, so you can find a spot for it in your garage, cellar, or storage and forget about it until you need it. It’s great for gutter socks, but it’s also pretty handy for your driveways, walkways, porches, and outside steps.

If you have to buy it when a storm is coming or is already here, you’ll typically pay higher prices. It’s just supply and demand. But you can be ready ahead of time.

Tip 3 – Beware of turbine covers

Here’s the main thing to remember about turbine covers: don’t use them! They’re sold at home improvement stores right next to the turbines, but you don’t need them, and they might create unhealthy conditions in your home.

It may be tempting to cover the turbines on your roof in the winter. At first glance, it seems logical, right? It’s like an umbrella for the turbines, to keep snow and sleet from accumulating and seeping into the roof. But don’t do it.

Turbine covers can cut off air flow while trapping heat and moisture. That creates the ideal conditions for mold to breed and spread.

Why they sell these covers, I don’t know. If you read the manufacturer’s instructions for the actual turbines, they clearly warn not to cover them. Keep your turbines open and unobstructed so that your roof remains well-ventilated all winter long.

As always, if you’d like to have a professional come check things out on your roof before winter digs any deeper, call us at 405-359-3951. Let’s keep your roof in optimal condition, so it can protect your house, your belongings, and your loved ones.

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