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5 Steps
Roofing Blog

5 Steps to Take When You Notice a Leak

Suddenly finding a leak on the ceiling of your home can be a very stressful experience. You may immediately start imagining the stress of dealing with contractors, the costs of repairs, the disruption to daily life of having repairs done on your roof or in your home, and visions of mold and other complications if the repair is not done in time. Not to worry. We are here to offer an easy step-by-step guide to dealing with a leak that can take all the stress out of the process. We have thought of everything so that you do not have to.

 

Step 1: Finding the Source

The first step after finding a leak is to identify its source. The source will determine what immediate actions you need to take next and who you will need to call for repairs. You might think that finding the source involves climbing on the roof or into the attic, but this is unnecessary and potentially dangerous. Instead, simply consider what a leak is. A leak is water getting into a place it should not be entering. There are two water sources: weather on the exterior and plumbing. If it is a plumbing issue, then it will leak regardless of weather. If it is a roofing issue, it will leak only when it is raining.

 

Step 2: Documentation

No matter what the source of the leak is, it is important to document it for insurance and liability purposes. You should take photos of the leak and the room it is in when you first discover it. You should continue to take photos throughout the process whether it gets worse or not, including once repairs begin and after the repairs are finished. While you may not need these photos, it is very important to have them in case you do. You should know that if you decide to contact your property insurance company and file a claim (in the case that the leak is caused by damage covered by insurance, like a windstorm) they will expect you to have taken steps to mitigate the leak even before they arrive. 

 

Step 3: Hiring a Contractor

The next step is to hire a contractor. As we have mentioned in previous posts, it is best to contact a local, experienced, licensed and insured contractor. A simple internet search will pull up a number of local contractors whom you can sort by their ratings and reviews of previous customers. A roofing contractor will come out to identify the source of the leak and provide an estimate, usually the day after you call them (if the first available appointment is more than a day or two out you may, having an active leak, consider a different contractor). Once the representative arrives and inspects the problem, he will provide you with an estimate. It is important that you ask this person to identify the specific cause of the leak if they do not immediately do so. The reason for this is that some causes will be covered by property insurance while others will not. The contractor’s representative will be able to tell you, typically, if the source of your leak is covered by insurance. If they cannot, you can call your insurance agent and name the source of the leak. If it is covered by insurance, you should file a claim with your insurance company at this point. Even if the repair estimate is under your deductible, you should still file the claim since the deductible only applies once during a policy period. If it applies now and you have another issue within the policy period, you will be fully covered for repairs then.

 

Step 4: Repairs

Once you have hired a contractor and agreed on a price, it is time to schedule the repairs. In the case of an active leak, you will usually be scheduled within a week. If the leak is particularly bad, your roofer will typically tarp it or take some other mitigating measures the same day that you agree to their estimate. If you did file an insurance claim, make sure that the repair is scheduled after an adjuster has had a chance to come out and take a look at the damage. If this is not possible, it is imperative that your contractor takes photos before, during, and after the repair so that you can provide your insurance company with the documentation. They will not pay for damages if they do not see evidence of them themselves. 

 

Step 5: Clean-up and Payment

Once the source of your leak is repaired, you will want to hire a drywaller/painter/handyman who can fix the damages caused by the leak on the interior and have your ceiling looking like new again. A good roofing contractor will be able to refer you to a quality company who does interior work for a reasonable price. Once payment is made you’re all set!

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!

Florida's Best Roofing
Roofing Blog

The Hidden Hazards of Water Damage

With all the rain storms we have been having, now is a good time to watch for leaks. It is important to examine your ceilings for leaks on a frequent basis and act at the first sign of one. Water damage can have serious effects on the safety and livability of your home.

There are certain home improvement problems that can safely be procrastinated. Nothing will go seriously wrong if you put off replacing an old carpet or repairing a creaky door. Leaks are another matter entirely. Even tiny leaks, barely a spot on the ceiling, can grow quickly and exponentially leading to major problems with very expensive solutions. Leaks can lead to structural problems which turn into safety and health risks.

Leaks can be caused by all sorts of damage to the roof. This can include wind, storms, falling debris, or hail. Improper installation of the original roof or a defect in the materials used may also be to blame. Improper maintenance or lack thereof altogether can also lead to leaks and shorten the lifespan of the roof. Remember that most roofs are only meant to last twenty to thirty years, even with regular maintenance and exclusive of external damage.

In addition to the obvious, there are some unexpected and unforeseen ways in which leaks can have an adverse impact on your home and life.

 

Higher Utility Bills

You may not know that when water enters the attic space, it can cause damage not just to the wood decking and ceilings, but also to the insulation in the attic that prevents excessive cooling of the house in the winter and excessive heating in the summer. When insulation gets saturated with water, it can take a long time to dry out. In the wet summer months it can go for months without drying under constant rains and leaks. If the leak continues for a long time without being addressed, it can deplete the efficacy of the insulation and result in higher utility bills as the AC unit or heater works harder to compensate.

 

Interior Mold and Mildew

The most serious potential consequence of neglected leaks is the growth of mold or mildew. These problems may take a while to develop, but if they do they will result in significant expenses and potential health issues. Once it begins to develop, mold can easily and quickly spread through the home’s structure and HVAC system from where it can reach other parts of the house including carpets, ceilings, furniture, and even clothing. The most common type of mold growth resulting from repeated water incursion is black mold, which is rarely toxic. Nevertheless, black mold can cause health and breathing issues, particularly for people who have underlying health problems like asthma. Getting rid of mold can be very costly and require specialists in mold remediation.

 

Fire Hazards

Because most homes’ electrical systems are wired through the walls and ceilings, including attics, leaks in these areas of the house can reach these wires and potentially pose a fire hazard. If you do notice that you have a leak be sure to check for affected wires and turn off electricity to that part of the house if necessary.

 

Attic and Ceiling Damage

The first damage from a leak will be to the wood in the attic and the ceilings. If the attic is used for storage, then the items stored there may be damaged as well. The plaster and paint on the interior of the ceiling will be stained and may form bubbles and expand. Continued leaking will spread to nearby ceiling surfaces and walls. The walls’ damage can get severe and will affect wall paint, insulation, drywall, and wall beams.

 

Structural Integrity

Rafters, ceiling joists, wall framing, fascia boards, and exterior trim are all structural elements that are susceptible to water intrusion. While the water damage to these areas can be superficial at first, continued water leaks can lead to mold, weakened wood, and rot. Once this happens these structural elements need replacing. This can get expensive, especially with the high prices of lumber materials at this time. Extended and neglected damage can result in the loss of structural integrity to the home making it unsafe for occupation and even liable to partial collapse.

Leaks should never be taken lightly. At the first sign of a leak, be sure to consult with a roofing professional to find the source of the problem and a possible solution. If you are in the Palm Coast, Flagler, or Volusia area, please give Florida’s Best Roofing a call at 386-263-7906 for a free estimate!

Leaking Roof
Roofing Blog

What To Do When Your Roof Suddenly Leaks Or Is Damaged

When it comes to your home, there’s really only so much you can do against the elements. Build an average home, and pit it against a category 4 hurricane, and there’s a good chance you’ll lose a boundary wall, a few windows, or even a whole section of your home. It’s part of the risk when building a home and a big reason why homeowners’ insurance is so important.

And no part of your home is more susceptible to this kind of damage than your roof. Heavy rain and winds, lightning, hail and acts of God can all damage your roof, causing leaks and internal damage. 

So, what’s a homeowner in the middle of a hurricane to do? In the event of such damage, quick action is your first order of business. 

Stop A Small Problem From Becoming A Serious Disaster

Before we start, it’s important to note one important thing: in the event of an emergency, never try to fix the problem yourself. Even more importantly, never try to do this during a storm. You could seriously injure yourself, but also cause irreversible damage to your roof. 

Call in a qualified roof contractor who is going to have the equipment and expertise to handle your repair job safely and efficiently. Make sure you have an exact understanding of what the problem is before you call, or as close to it as you can get. Be prepared to explain, simply, what the damage is over the phone or in an email, so that they have what they need to give you an accurate cost estimate. 

With this information onhand, you now have what you need to decide whether the roof needs repairs, and whether those costs are worth it or if they can wait for the storm to pass by.

What’s Involved

For an emergency procedure, measures will typically include some of the following:

  • repairing tarpaulins on or underneath damaged roofing 
  • building up damaged chimneys 
  • protecting a damaged utility line

Once conditions have lightened up and everything is dry, once more, your contractor can do a complete assessment of the damage, just in case there was something you missed. They’ll want to isolate a damaged section of the roof and repair it without having to replace the rest of the roof itself. 

What To Do When Your Roof Suddenly Leaks Or Is Damaged

As a homeowner, you know anything can happen, but that doesn’t make it any easier to predict. That’s why it’s so important to know exactly what to do in the event of a sudden leak or unexpected damage, to minimize damage and any potential risks to yourself. 

Always remember: trying to handle an emergency repair on your ceiling on your own could be dangerous, not just to yourself but also to your roof. Isolate the damage, contain any of the moisture that makes its way inside, and get on the phone with someone who knows what they’re doing.

Looking for professional help with emergency roof repair work? Visit Florida’s Best Roofing Inc, or get in touch with us on (386)263-7906, today!

Why Is My Roof Leaking?
Roofing Blog

Why Is My Roof Leaking? 5 Things to Find and Fix

There’s nothing quite as nerve-racking as the first time you notice that tell-tale water spot blossoming on your ceiling. Luckily, with a brief investigation into how that stain ended up there, you can prevent many more from following!

Irregular Maintenance or Neglect

Your roof needs occasional maintenance to live a long healthy life. The mingling of high temperatures, excessive moisture and seasonal gusts wears heavily on homes here in the Sunshine State. A roof in Florida should be inspected after heavy storms or at least every 2 years. Be sure to address any signs of damage, however small, before they become a massive expense. Keep an eye out for:

  • Curling or buckling shingles
  • Peeling paint on ceiling or walls
  • Wear and tear on the gutters

Improper Installation

A misplaced shingle or the wrong sort of fastener may seem minor, but it can end up requiring extensive repairs. Florida has the strictest building codes in the nation, and some counties take it a step further. Take the time to browse your local roofers; ask questions, check references and make sure your contractor is licensed! The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation has a free online search to ensure your contractor is legitimate.  

  • Knowledge and experience
  • Good references
  • Reputable business practices

Punctures & Separation

Wind-tossed trees crashing through the ceiling are usually what we think of when it comes to holes. Unfortunately, even a small puncture or gap compromises the integrity of your roof, and can wreak havoc. Buildup of sticks or leaves allows water to pool, and seep through your roof’s protective layers. If moisture makes its way past the underlayment you can end up with a moldy deck and rotten rafters. 

What to look for:

  • Buildup or pooling in valleys
  • Unusual temperature difference in certain areas of the home
  • Water stains on ceiling

Poor Ventilation

Improper venting causes destruction from the inside out. In theory, air should be sucked in from under the eaves and drift upward to exit through the top vents. Unfortunately air pressure is a difficult business, and it’s easy to disrupt the process. Some roofs (like those in extremely warm and wet areas) are more vulnerable and are likely to require professional intervention.

  • Rusting of nails and brackets
  • Mold or rot in the attic
  • A/C units working abnormally hard

The Age

Even the most well-maintained roof will degrade over time. Florida’s main culprit is the climate, but everything from the slope to the shingle color affects a roof’s lifespan. If your roof covering is on the mature side you may wish to consider replacing it. This will avoid allowing uninvited guests inside, and incurring significantly greater expenses later on.

  • Discoloration or streaking
  • Blistered shingles
  • Repeated leaking

Rarely do we lend thought to the adversity our roofs contend with daily. Sizzling in the sun, resisting subtropical tempests, defender against drizzle and deluge alike. With all our roofs do for us, it’s important to evaluate their needs and establish a maintenance routine.  Information is the best (and cheapest!) protection against leaks. Florida’s Best Roofing offers inspections with free no-nonsense estimates. 

Florida’s Best Roofing, Inc is a Palm Coast-based roofing contractor, providing professional roofing services in Flagler and Volusia County Areas.

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