Over the course of a roof’s life, needing emergency repairs is almost inevitable. When leaks or other water-related problems arise, residential and commercial building owners with a carefully thought-out action plan can tackle repairs in a swift and efficient manner and then move on right away. On the other hand, homeowners and business owners who failed to establish an emergency plan might have to deal with delayed repairs, which then threatens the integrity of their roofing system as well as the safety and comfort of the building occupants.
Here’s what a good emergency action plan for your roof looks like.
Emergency Action Plan: An Essential Aspect of Roof Management
Because roofs are mainly responsible for safeguarding properties from weather elements and impact from debris, it comes as no surprise that these systems see a lot of damage that needs professional attention throughout their serviceable life. In this sense, homeowners and building owners should anticipate and prepare for possible complications so that it is easier for them to take action should a roofing emergency arise.
When it comes to roof management, the first thing property owners should consider is creating a comprehensive plan and establishing a budget. If there is no emergency plan, immediate repairs may have to be postponed. This could put businesses in trouble because even the smallest issues can turn into bigger problems if left unchecked. For instance, persistent leaks could result in slip-and-fall accidents, inspection violations from health officials and even expensive lawsuits.
How to Prepare a Reliable Roof Emergency Action Plan
You want to have a reliable roof emergency action plan written before an emergency even occurs. The good news is that it does not take too long to set up an emergency plan that can benefit you if a storm affects any part of your roofing system. Here are preventive measures you should include in your emergency plan to keep your roof protected before, during and after a serious weather event:
Schedule regular maintenance. Perhaps, the most critical part of a roof emergency action plan is having a regular inspection and maintenance schedule in place. A thorough inspection can identify weak points in your roof and enable you to proactively prevent issues from occurring instead of responding to damage after it already happened. As a general rule, you need to have your roof inspected at least twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. You can either do self-checks on your roof to see if anything is out of shape or hire a professional to inspect it for you.
If you recently bought a property or have never performed repairs on your current roof, schedule an inspection with a roofing contractor. Skilled roofers will be able to tell you the age and condition of your roofing system. To do this accurately, they will take into account a few factors, such as the roofing material and local climate. From there, you can make the repairs and replacements needed to have a solid baseline for roof management.
Build professional relationships. Time is of the essence when it comes to roofing emergencies. This is why it is important to have the contact information of relevant parties listed on your phone way before you encounter a roofing crisis. Your trusted local roofing company is one. If you have already communicated with the team for an initial consultation or annual inspection, be sure to save the company’s number. Whether you see water leaking into your property or portions of your roof blown off by the wind, a local roofer will be able to get to you instantly and mitigate the problem before it spirals out of control. You should also have the contact information of your insurance agency on hand so you can properly and timely file a home insurance claim, bringing you peace of mind that the damage to your roof can be fixed and its cost is reimbursed.
Prioritize the repairs. If the initial inspection of your roofing system reveals any defects or weaknesses, they should fall into two groups categorized in your emergency action plan: immediate repairs and long-term repairs. A well-thought-out plan encourages property owners to deal with the most urgent problems first, such as roof leaks and ponding water, while shelving and budgeting for other repairs strategically.
Make records of emergency repairs. A reliable roofing emergency plan should include the correct procedures to take when documenting the losses your residential or commercial property has suffered from a severe weather event.
- First, you need to contact your insurance agent and roofing contractor to discuss the scope of damage to your roofing system. Make sure you have their numbers on hand to avoid confusion and panic in the event of an emergency.
- Second, begin the claims process as soon as possible. Stay on top of inspections and assessments, and get estimates on repair and restoration services. Do not forget to skim through your insurance policy’s fine print to have an understanding of its coverage and deductibles.
- Third, you need to take photos of the storm or hail damage before moving any fixtures or furniture inside your property. And if applicable, make sure you file receipts for hotel accommodations and other temporary living expenses. These documents will certainly come in handy when you file your insurance claim in the future.
- Lastly, do not hesitate to raise any questions or concerns regarding your insurance claim to your insurance agent. Once your claim is finalized and approved, your insurer will coordinate with your roofing company to make sure everything is settled before any construction begins.
Steps to Take During a Roofing Emergency
Now that you have created a solid action plan for your roof, it is important to know the proper steps to take during the actual emergency. Here are some tips:
- Place a tarp to prevent leaks. If water is leaking inside your property, use a tarp to cover the affected areas and protect valuable items from damage. You can also make use of buckets and place them under the leaks to catch drips and avoid making puddles on the floor.
- Do not tackle big problems on your own. Leaks in residential roofs are usually caused by cracked, broken or blown-off shingles. While it is tempting to make temporary fixes to your roofing system on your own, the task is simply too dangerous for regular homeowners to take on. It is better to wait for a professional team to repair damaged flashing or replace missing shingles. Skilled roofing contractors do not only have the right set of tools and equipment to navigate the issue at hand, but they also know where to specifically look during roofing emergencies.
Aside from strong winds and torrential downpours, there are other weather elements that you need to watch out for as they can strike a roofing crisis. An isolated fire in your home or building that is quickly extinguished can cause some damage to your roof. Small animals like squirrels and birds can also build a nest in your attic or gutters. Make sure you routinely inspect your roofing system to catch these problems before they wreak havoc on your indoor space.