By Casey Crowther / Published January 2019
In 2018, it was Hurricane Michael.
In 2017, it was Hurricane Irma.
In 2016, it was Hurricanes Matthew and Hermine.
Tropical storms and hurricanes have been slamming Florida for centuries—flooding homes, shredding landscaping, and damaging something many of us take for granted: a roof over our heads.
Florida has strict laws prohibiting price gouging and unscrupulous laborers, but after every disaster, criminal contractors swoop into vulnerable communities in hopes of making a quick buck. Oftentimes, they’ll require hefty deposits, but might skip town before completing the job. Or they might hire unskilled day laborers whose work is substandard.
Property owners, property managers, and boards of directors for private communities and condominiums must take initiative immediately after a storm passes to inspect structures for damage. Residents or tenants may have evacuated, and time is of the essence.
Your first step is a DIY inspection. Certain types of damage are obvious—broken tiles, missing shingles, branches protruding over the roof, or toppled trees crunching the decking. To find not-so-obvious damages, grab a ladder tall enough to visibly inspect the roof and move around the building to examine each section to look for bumps, ripples, or other imperfections. Do not climb onto the roof, though, because any compromised sections might not be safe.
Then, if you have access to the attic, grab a flashlight and peek into the space. If a roof structure was damaged, water intrusion could be visible. Look for tell-tale signs of water permeation like moisture or streaks.
Many community associations forge business relationships with landscaping, pest control, and pressure washing companies, but roofers aren’t always on their Rolodex of vendors. That means after a storm, they could be frantically Googling commercial roofers in hopes that someone—anyone—is available ASAP. That’s not good business practice.
Hiring a roofing company to repair hurricane damage is a critical decision that shouldn’t be based on a catchy sales pitch, flashy website, or availability, and certainly not on offering the lowest price. There are five critical questions you should answer before proceeding with a roofing company:
A reputable roofing company will offer free estimates for any large-scale projects like condominiums, residential complexes, gated communities, shopping plazas, and big box stores.
The company you ultimately select isn’t just your roofer; it should be your partner in resolving your needs. Make sure your roofer is willing to take these four actions on your behalf:
President, Target Roofing & Sheet Metal
Casey Crowther is president of Target Roofing & Sheet Metal, a licensed and insured commercial roofing specialist that provides new roofs, reroofs, repairs, and maintenance plans. The company is headquartered in Fort Myers. For more information, please visit TargetRoofing.com, call (239) 332-5707, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.