With clouds beginning to build in the afternoon and the occasional light rain in the evening, we are witnessing rainy season trying to get started. Rainy season is my favorite time of year in Florida. Our yards and landscaping become a gorgeous nutrient-rich emerald green like only rainwater can do, the evenings are beautiful as the rain cools us off from the afternoon heat and we are given wonderful moments of calming quiet as we watch the rain through our windows.
Not all of the rains that come during rainy season are calm, in fact many are quite significant in terms of both quantity of water and wind. Even through many of these more significant rains are short lived, lasting for only an hour or so, they can cause significant damage to your home if your roof isn’t in good shape
Unfortunately, here in Florida, we are still seeing blue tarps on roofs all over and those are just the ones where people know they have unrepaired damage. What has been found in the meantime is that there is extensive hidden damage that has yet to be identified. If left unchecked, these issues will be brought to light as soon as it is too late- when it’s already leaking.
We spoke to attorney Lauren Hussey of Danziger & De Llano about the hidden damage issue as well as all the blue tarped roofs. Lauren’s area of practice is specific to hurricane insurance claims and roof issues have been a significant problem for her clients.
“We have clients who initiated their claims right after Irma and still haven’t received payment or even heard what they are getting” Hussey said, and that’s a huge problem for people who can’t afford to get their roof fixed or replaced without it.
“Several of our clients actually had significant hidden damage that the insurance adjusters didn’t identify. Thankfully, when we go back to redo the inspections, we have been able to identify several things that were missed.”
“Had these issues not been identified, it could have caused extensive damage to the inside of their homes once rainy season started.”
Have you had your roof inspected since the hurricane- even if you didn’t notice any damage?
Hurricane Irma was rough and with this year’s predictions being very similar to last years- whether you had repairs done to your roof or not, if your roof is 10 years old or more you should get it inspected before the rains come.
“Having worked in Southern Florida for almost 20 years, we know what hurricanes do to roofing systems and how to prevent a lot of the more common problems because we’ve seen and fixed it all,” said Hans Rivera of E-Z General & Roofing Contractors.
Rivera recommended asking the following questions of a roofer:
Do they use Miami-Dade building codes? Miami-Dade requires higher standards to withstand higher velocity winds.
Is the underlayment used under warranty for at least 20 years and how many layers of underlayment do they use? (E-Z General uses two layers as standard practice)
Is the labor under warranty for at least 10 years
Is the tile used under warranty for at least 30 years
If using tile, another thing you’ll want to consider is if the tile is porous or sealed. If it’s not sealed (pour water on a sample tile- is the water absorbed? Then it is porous. If it stays beaded up, then is it sealed), then mold will begin growing immediately and you’ll now be committed to hiring someone to power wash your roof regularly, by people who aren’t roofers, and you will almost always end up with broken tiles and a repair bill as a result.
If you are a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, finding potential roof leak can make for a fun problem-solving exercise albeit with a lot of trial and error as the initial point of entry is almost never near where the water stain ended up in the ceiling or wall. It first had to roll down some plywood, hit a nail, drip onto a scissor beam, roll down the beam to the frame of the wall, where it hits drywall for the first time- 20 feet away from the point of entry, just as an example.
First you need to determine if it’s a roof leak or something else. If you only see it happening after a rain storm, then it’s likely coming from the roof, if it happens when the weather is great, then it’s likely a plumbing issue. For those that you determined are from the roof, you’ll need to head into the attic with a really strong flash light. Once in the attic, find the spot on the ceiling where the water is pooling (or has historically) and pull back the insulation so you can try and determine the direction it came from. Then look for water stains and trails on the plywood above and beams, you can get a good idea of where the entry point is if you can follow that line up to its highest elevation. Look for sunlight shining through, if you see any, stick a straw through it so you can find it when you get on the roof.
Next, you’ll need to check the exterior of the roof. Gain access with a ladder and rubber-soled shoes and head to the highest point and work down. Check valley flashing, gaskets around plumbing vents and utility entrances. Inspect flashing around chimneys, dormer vents or other roof protuberances. Look for any tiles/shingles in need of repair. Note if there are any wind-lifted, bulging or raised shingles as leak sources. Identifying corrosion, damage, or lifted elements can give you places to start securing that may not have started leaking yet, but likely will soon. Work safely when using a ladder. Confirm the ladder is planted securely before climbing. Use rubber-soled shoes when accessing the roof. Tie off a safety line on something secure to break any falls from the roof. Use the appropriate safety equipment.
With all the stress that we went through with the hurricane, why wait for a problem to show up that you’ll have to repair when it’s actually raining…? Go ahead and get a professional inspection done- it’s free! If they find an issue? Be grateful it wasn’t discovered from a small waterfall into your living room. Let’s roll into rainy season at least being confident that our largest investment is being properly protected from the elements.
Julie Koester is CEO of Life with Moxie, a Lifestyle Revolution Company www.lifewithmoxie.com, CEO of Moxie Creed www.moxiecreed.com, skincare beyond chemistry. You can reach her at Julie@lifewithmoxie.com
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