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Fixing a Roof Problem

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Permanent Roof Relief

In the Nick of Time

It's a good idea to be home when an insurance adjuster arrives. Your knowledge of what happened can be important to the amount of recovery you receive. Plus, you might be able to point out things that the adjuster might overlook. It's also not a bad idea to get an estimate from a roofing contractor before the adjuster arrives, or even have a contractor there when he does. Differences of opinion on roof damage are common. Insurance companies pay out big time on roof damage claims. As such, they tend to err on the conservative side when it comes to assessing the extent of the damage.

Always notify your insurance company before making permanent repairs. Claims can be denied if repairs are done before an adjuster can assess the damage.

Unless you've worked on roofs before, it's strongly recommended that you hire a professional roofer. What's more, your insurance company might insist on it. Remember, how materials are installed can make or break a roof. Shoddy workmanship is a major cause of roof problems.

That said, it's not that tough to replace a loose or missing shingle or two, especially if you're handy, you feel comfortable on ladders, and your roof isn't too steeply pitched. Here's what you'll need:

  • Something to kneel on, such as a moving pad, if you're going to climb onto the roof to do the repairs

  • Hammer

  • Pry bar

  • Shingles that match the existing color as closely as possible

  • Galvanized roofing nails

  • Roofing sealant

If you're going to be working on the roof itself, rather than from a ladder, you should also wear a safety harness and line. This will keep you from tumbling off the roof. Safety glasses and gloves are also highly recommended. If you work from a ladder,station someone at the foot of it in case you need help.

Finally, think twice about doing these repairs if your house is taller than a single story or if the roof is steeply pitched. Here's what you'll do:

  1. If you're working on the roof, put on the safety harness and secure the rope to your harness. Put the pad under your knees.

  2. Use the pry bar to lift up just enough of the shingles to expose the heads of the roofing nails. Pry the nails out and remove the damaged shingles.

  3. Slide new shingles into place. Line them up with existing shingles.

  4. Secure shingles with roofing nails. Dab roofing sealant over the nails for a watertight finish.

  5. Press shingles down flat. Heat from the sun will activate the adhesive part of the shingles and seal them into position.

Homeowner's policies provide coverage for direct losses from things like tornadoes, windstorms, hail, and so on. Be sure to check your policy for specific coverage terms. If you live in an area where windstorms or hailstorms are prevalent, there might be specific deductibles for these perils.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Common Household Disasters © 2005 by Paul Hayman and Sonia Weiss. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.


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