When you notice storm damage to your roof, you are presented with a choice between hiring a contractor to perform a small repair on the roof or replacing the roof altogether. Storm damage can be incredibly stressful and is certainly something that happens very frequently in Florida. For this reason, almost every homeowner in Florida will eventually be confronted with this choice. Here we set out to provide you with relevant information surrounding this decision so that you can make the best choice for your home and for your roof.
Storm damage often appears as something fairly small. The most frequent form that it takes are missing or creased shingles on a roof. Other forms may include spots on shingles lacking granules (indicating hail damage), chipped or broken tile, or bent or dented metals. While it is true that strong storms, particularly tropical storms and hurricanes, may cause major damage to roofs through large pieces of flying debris (which could put a hole in the roof), most storm damage presents as something minor.
So, if you see two or three missing or creased shingles on your roof, does this suggest repair or replacement? While the first instinct when confronted with such damage may be to get an estimate for a small repair (or even do it yourself with tools from the local hardware store), this may not always be the correct choice.
Repairs due to storm damage do have some advantages. One is that they can frequently be done much quicker than roof replacement. Not only will a repair take only a couple of hours versus a couple of days for replacement, but it can also be scheduled much quicker. While most contractors schedule roof replacements two or three months out, roof repairs are typically scheduled within one or two weeks. The second advantage of repairs is probably the more impactful one: repairs are much, much cheaper than roof replacement. This does not, however, need necessarily be the factor that makes the decision for you.
How is that the case? Well, this all depends on the age of your roof. If your roof is about at the end of its life-expectancy (typically 15-20 years old for a shingle roof), then there are additional factors to consider besides time and cost. Firstly, it is nearly impossible to repair a roof of that age in such a way that it becomes as good as it was before the damage occurred. When shingles near their life expectancy they become brittle–that is very easily breakable or crackable. So, when a roof repairman goes to lift the shingles around the missing or damaged one in order to repair it, the surrounding shingles begin to tear as well. For this reason, most contractors do not give any warranties for repair work–it will simply never be as good or as durable as the original roof. Moreover, it is impossible to match older shingles (or tiles) in color because the materials’ color fades and warps with weather and wear. Consequently, a repaired roof will never be as aesthetically pleasing as the original, instead taking on a patch-work like appearance.
The second factor to consider in favor of replacement is that storm damage is almost always covered by your home insurance policy. So, if you do notice storm damage, your first step should be to file an insurance claim, before any repairs take place since the damage needs to be documented. Now, an insurance company may elect to pay for a small repair, which often comes out under the policy’s deductible, but in the case that your roof is nearing its life expectancy and your roofing materials are not matchable in color, they are required to pay for full roof replacement even if the initial damage is minor. The reason for this is that Florida statute 626.9744 requires that insurance companies replace any damaged material with materials of matching color and quality. If such materials cannot be found, as in the case of a 15 year old roof, they are required by law to pay for full replacement of all adjoining materials. Thus, with the help of your insurance company, your roof replacement cost after a storm may amount to the same out of pocket cost as a small repair–the amount of your deductible.
If you have any questions about roof repair or replacement, we would be happy to help you out. Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc. is a fully licensed (CCC 1325974) and insured, local roofing contractor with decades of experience. If you are interested in roof replacement or repair and you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give us a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!