Comprehensive Roof Inspection

Certification and Inspection Association Business Member’s Guide


Comprehensive roof inspections are an essential part of maintaining a safe and functional building. A roof is often taken for granted until a problem arises. Regular inspections by a certified roofing contractor help to prevent any potential issues from becoming major problems.


The consequences of a leaky or damaged roof can be severe and can lead to costly repairs for both the building owner and occupants if not properly addressed in a timely manner. As a business member of the National Roofing Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA), providing your clients with the best possible service to protect their properties is crucial.


Orange County Roof Inspection
Roof Inspection

Section 1: The Importance of Regular Roof Inspection: Preventative Maintenance for Roofing Integrity


1.1 Early Detection of Issues


Early detection of potential issues is crucial in maintaining the functionality and safety of your building’s roof. A proper roof inspection by a certified roofing company can detect any signs of wear and tear early on, allowing for appropriate remediation measures to be taken before more significant problems arise.


During a comprehensive roof inspection, the inspector will assess the roof’s overall condition, taking measurements such as slope, water spots, cracks, and leaks, and checking for any damage from wind or hail. They will also check for any potential issues related to gutters, downspouts vent pipes, and roof drainage patterns, ensuring that water is directed away from the roof and building.


Early detection and repair of issues such as damaged shingles, cracks, tears, or other weaknesses that may result from weather, fallen debris, or even simple aging can save time and money in the long run. It permits remediation before more significant problems arise, potentially averting the need for an entirely new roof. Furthermore, early detection can help to identify potential safety concerns, such as the presence of overhanging branches or any other potential structural issues. Addressing these concerns early can help ensure the safety of the building’s occupants.


Early detection of potential issues during a roof inspection is critical in maintaining the functionality and safety of your building’s roof. Detecting any signs of wear and tear early on during a structural inspection allows for appropriate remediation measures to be taken, potentially averting the need for an entirely new roof. It also helps identify potential safety concerns and ensures the safety of the building’s occupants.


1.2 Maximizing Roof’s Lifespan


Comprehensive Roof Inspection
Comprehensive Roof Inspection


Regular inspections are essential in maximizing the lifespan of your building’s roof. By detecting any signs of wear and tear early on, appropriate remediation measures can be taken, preventing further damage, and extending the roof’s lifespan.


Additionally, regular inspections can provide a better understanding of the roof’s lifespan, allowing for proper planning and budgeting for the eventual need for a new roof. By knowing when to replace the roof, building owners can avoid costly emergency roof repairs, and ensure that their roofing investment lasts as long as possible.


Regular comprehensive roof inspections can also increase confidence and peace of mind, knowing that the roof is in good condition and that appropriate measures are being taken to ensure its longevity. It also provides a safer and more secure building environment, ensuring that any potential safety concerns are identified and addressed promptly.


Moreover, regular inspections by a professional roofing company that can certify a leak-free roof, can help to identify any potential energy efficiency issues, such as improper insulation, which can increase heating and cooling costs. By identifying these issues early on, appropriate remediation measures can be taken, reducing energy costs and improving the building’s overall efficiency.


Regular inspections by a roofing professional are essential in maximizing the lifespan of your building’s roof. It allows for appropriate remediation measures to be taken, preventing further damage and extending the roof’s lifespan. It also provides a better understanding of the roof’s lifespan, ensuring proper planning and budgeting.


Regular inspections increase confidence and peace of mind, provide a safer and more secure building environment, and identify potential energy efficiency issues, reducing energy costs and improving the building’s overall efficiency.


Section 2: Thorough Assessment Techniques for Identifying Potential Roofing Issues


2.1 Comprehensive Inspection Techniques


Comprehensive roof inspections are critical in identifying potential roofing issues. It is essential to take measurements such as slope, water spots, cracks, and leaks, as well as assess the roof’s overall condition. These techniques can help identify potential roof damage issues before they become major problems, leading to costly repairs or complete roof replacements.


When it comes to assessing the roof’s condition, it is vital to take note of any discoloration, missing shingles, or any other signs of wear and tear. A thorough inspection of the roof’s surface can also identify any rusted or corroded flashings, which can cause leaks and structural damage over time. The inspector should also look for any visible signs of damage, such as cracks or dents in the roof, which may indicate a potential weakness.


During the roof inspection process, it is essential to check the new roof for any damage from wind or hail. Wind damage can cause shingles or other roofing materials to lift, exposing the roof to potential leaks and water damage. Hail damage can result in cracked or dented shingles, leading to further damage and potentially requiring complete roof replacement.


It is also important to inspect the gutters, downspouts, and roof drainage patterns. Clogged gutters can redirect water into unexpected areas, leading to mold, leaks, pests, water stains, and even structural damage. Proper drainage is essential to ensure that water is directed away from the roof and building. Roof inspectors may also assess the condition of your roof’s insulation to ensure it meets current standards, which can improve energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs.


Lastly, inspectors may assess for any tree growth near the roof or any other potential issues that could cause structural problems. Overhanging branches can cause significant damage to the roof, leading to leaks and other issues. Any potential mold growth or structural issues should be identified and addressed to ensure the safety of the building’s occupants.


Professional inspections, by a reputable roofing contractor, are essential in identifying potential roofing issues before they become major problems. By assessing the roof’s overall condition, taking measurements such as slope, water spots, cracks, and leaks, and checking for any damage from wind or hail, roof inspectors can identify potential weaknesses and recommend appropriate remediation measures and sound roofing advice.


Additionally, inspecting the gutters, downspouts, and roof drainage patterns and assessing any potential structural issues can help ensure the safety and longevity of the roofing investment.


2.2 Importance of Gutters, Downspouts, and Drainage Patterns


During the roof inspection process, it is important to assess the gutters, downspouts, and roof drainage patterns as well. Cleaning gutters and downspouts is essential to ensuring water is directed away from the roof and building.


Roof inspectors may also look at the roof’s insulation to ensure it meets current standards, which can improve energy efficiency and reduce heating and cooling costs. Lastly, inspectors may assess the house for any tree growth near the roof or any other potential issues that could cause structural problems.


Section 3: Benefits of Hiring a Certified Roofing Contractor: Ensuring Quality Construction and Peace of Mind


3.1 Thorough and Experienced Inspection


When it comes to roof and home inspections though, hiring a certified roofing company is crucial in ensuring that the job is done thoroughly and professionally. A certified roofing inspector is an experienced and trained professional who can identify potential issues that an inexperienced or uncertified inspector may miss.


During the inspection process, the certified inspector will carry out a thorough assessment of the roof’s overall condition, taking measurements such as slope, water spots, cracks, and leaks, and checking for any damage from wind or hail. Additionally, the inspector will check the gutters, downspouts, and roof drainage patterns to ensure proper water flows away from the building. Any potential structural issues or overhanging branches that could cause damage to the roof will also be inspected and assessed.


The inspector’s experience and expertise will enable them to identify potential weaknesses and recommend appropriate remediation measures. They can also provide recommendations to help extend the roof’s lifespan, such as proper maintenance and cleaning techniques.


In addition to identifying potential issues, a professional roofer can fix any problems quickly and efficiently. They have the necessary tools and knowledge to carry out any repairs required, ensuring that the job is done to industry standards.


By hiring a certified roofing professional, you can have peace of mind knowing that your roofing investment is in good hands. A roofing professional carried out by an experienced and trained professional will help ensure the safety and longevity of the roof, maximizing its lifespan and reducing the likelihood of an expensive roof problem & roofing repairs down the road.


Roof inspections by a certified inspector are essential in ensuring a thorough and professional roof inspection. With their experience and expertise, they can identify potential issues and recommend appropriate replacement options, roof repairs, and remediation measures, ensuring the safety and longevity of the roofing investment. Additionally, they can fix any problem quickly and efficiently, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs down the road.


3.2 Safety and Longevity of Roofing Investment


Hiring an experienced and certified roof company for a roof inspection is essential for the safety and longevity of your roofing investment. While it may be tempting to cut costs and hire an inexperienced or uncertified inspector, doing so can lead to significant risks down the road.


An uncertified inspector performing a roof inspection may miss critical issues during the inspection process, leading to costly repairs or even complete roof replacements down the road. Their lack of experience and expertise can result in overlooking potential safety concerns or issues related to building code compliance.


Additionally, an uncertified inspector may not have the necessary tools or knowledge to carry out any repairs required efficiently and effectively, leading to further damage to the roof and potentially putting the building’s occupants at risk.


By contrast, a certified roof inspector has the necessary expertise and experience to identify potential issues and recommend appropriate remediation measures. They are knowledgeable about industry standards and regulations, ensuring that the job is done to the appropriate level of quality.


Hiring a certified roof inspector can also provide peace of mind, knowing that your roofing investment is in good hands. They can provide recommendations to help extend the roof’s lifespan, such as proper maintenance and cleaning techniques, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs down the road.


The safety and longevity of your roofing investment are crucial. Hiring an experienced and certified roof inspector is essential in ensuring that the job is done thoroughly and professionally. An uncertified inspector may miss critical issues, leading to costly repairs or even complete roof replacements down the road.


By contrast, a certified roof inspector can identify potential issues, recommend appropriate remediation measures, and provide peace of mind, ensuring the safety and longevity of the roofing investment.


3.3 Adherence to Industry Standards


Certified roof inspectors pay close attention to current roofing industry standards, ensuring that the job is carried out to the appropriate level of quality. They have the necessary certification examinations, training, and continuing education to carry out a thorough inspection and make appropriate recommendations.


As such, certified inspectors have extensive experience with all types of roofing materials, allowing them to identify potential issues and recommend appropriate remediation measures. They know what to look for and what methods to use when assessing different materials, ensuring that the job is done to industry standards.


Additionally, certified inspectors are knowledgeable about building codes and regulations, ensuring that the roof’s installation and maintenance comply with appropriate standards. Compliance with industry standards is essential in ensuring the safety and longevity of the roofing investment.


Hiring a certified roofer for an annual inspection, provides peace of mind, knowing that the job is being carried out to the appropriate level of quality. The inspector’s adherence to industry standards ensures that any potential issues are identified, and appropriate remediation measures are taken, reducing the likelihood of costly repairs down the road.


Certified roof inspectors are trained professionals who pay close attention to current roofing industry standards. They have extensive experience with all types of roofing materials, allowing them to identify potential issues and recommend appropriate remediation measures. Their adherence to industry standards ensures that the job is carried out to the appropriate level of quality, ensuring the safety and longevity of the roofing investment.


3.4 Confidence and Peace of Mind


Hiring a certified roof inspector brings certain confidence and peace of mind that anyone needs when making a significant roofing investment. Roofers’ associations generally stand by certified roofers, ensuring that they adhere to proper protocols and quality construction. Besides, a certified roof inspector can provide useful tips for maintaining the roof effectively, thus avoiding costly repairs in the future.


As a business member of the NRCIA, providing your clients with the best possible service to protect their properties is crucial. Regular roof inspections can detect potential issues before they become major problems, maximizing the roof’s lifespan, and ensuring a safer and more secure building environment.


Comprehensive roof inspection techniques and assessment of the gutters, downspouts, and drainage patterns are essential in identifying potential roofing problems. Hiring a certified inspector for your roof brings the confidence and peace of mind that comes with a thorough and experienced inspection, adherence to industry standards, and useful tips for maintaining the roof effectively. Avoiding risks in terms of the safety and longevity of the roofing investment is vital for anyone looking to protect their properties.

Comprehensive Roofing Inspections: A Service to Clients

Maintenance is a normal part of our daily lives, and it never seems to end. Cars need oil changes, light bulbs need to be replaced, exterior paint needs to be touched up, the lawn needs to be trimmed, the house needs to be cleaned, and the kids need to be fed. As with most other things, the roof system of a structure requires maintenance.

Owner Approaches to Roof Maintenance

There are two main approaches property owners can take when it comes to their roof systems: proactive or reactive. Most property owners would fall under the reactive category for various reasons, including time constraints and budget. These property owners ignore the roof system until minor problems that could have been detected earlier result in expensive damages — by which point it may already be too late. In certain parts of the United States, precipitation is not a year-round threat, so roof issues can be out of sight and out of mind until they later present themselves at inconvenient times. It goes without saying that there is something left to be desired by this approach. Despite many owners taking reactive approaches to roof inspections, others are finding that a proactive approach is better suited to their needs. Roof inspection requests are thus increasing nationwide, with requests coming from:

● Residential and commercial property owners in escrow
● Those establishing a cause of loss for an insurance claim
● People shopping for property insurance or attempting to secure a loan

● Owners who just want to be informed

The final category in particular indicates that some owners are becoming more proactive, trying to determine what their roofing needs may be before a minor problem becomes a disaster. However, even though they may prefer to be proactive, many owners are at a loss for what to look for when attempting to prevent and fix roofing issues. There are fewer components to a roof system than a pepperoni pizza, but owners are rarely roofing professional themselves. In completing roofing inspections, roofing professionals must “think like a raindrop,” as rain often precipitates the discovery of roofing problems. Our job is to educate owners on their roofs’ conditions to help them make informed decisions.

Roof Inspections: Benefits and Types

Roof inspections are critical in establishing a baseline for the overall care plan for a roof. It is true that roof issues may be picked up on a property/building inspection report; however, these reports usually contain limited remarks made by a generalist with a recommendation to have the roof further evaluated by a licensed roofing specialist. A proper inspection helps achieve RoofAssurance ™.

There are two main types of roof inspections currently offered on the market. The first is a free inspection. This service provides a free estimate to clients who, in many cases, are already dealing with an active roofing problem. These reactive owners are a target for higher-than- average quotes due to the immediate need for work. In addition, this “free” service is typically limited in scope — the company typically only inspects approximately 20 percent of the roof (rooftop only), and the owner will, at best, receive a simple estimate on company letterhead. Costs may therefore grow as the roofing work proceeds and more problems are found with the roofing system. A Roof inspectors goal should be to effectively and confidently determine the integrity of the roof system. This can’t be accomplished only inspecting 20% of the system excluding the interior components of the structure.

The other type of inspection is a paid service with prices ranging from $300 to a few thousand dollars depending on the property’s size and the purpose of the inspection. The national average for an average-sized roof inspection is $350 for a LeakFREE ™ Roof Inspection and $475 for a ForensicROOF ™ Inspection. Because situations vary, the amounts of effort or time spent during the inspection significantly impacts the pricing. The investigation process in these inspections is much more detailed, starting from the inside out. There are hidden components to all roof systems that can’t be observed from the rooftop, such as the waterproof underlayment, mechanical fasteners, and moisture stains. This type of paid inspection should come with a comprehensive written report and a proposal package without an additional fee. The choice of whether to apply a portion or all of the inspection fee to work later completed is up to the contractor.

You may ask: “What is the difference if a licensed roofing company completes both types of inspections?” To help explain the difference to customers, I’ll share a short personal story. I like to golf. I’m not very good at it, but I enjoy the game. Each time I golf, I usually have a few good shots, and these keep me returning for another round of frustration. I was interested in purchasing a new set of clubs a few years ago. I could either go to a golf shop or attend free demo events to try out the manufacturer’s latest and greatest products. However, these events left me feeling like I was just being sold random golf clubs without truly finding out what I needed to succeed. Instead, I chose to pay for a professional fitting so I could find out what clubs would work the best for me. In addition, a portion of the fitting cost would be applied to a set of clubs if I decided to purchase them after the fitting. Similarly, when it comes to the roofing industry, you pay for what you get. Contractors offering free services want to close deals, sell roofs, and move on to their next free appointment. However, a paid roof inspection brings much more value to the client, as the inspector is paid for his time, knowledge, expertise, and transparent documentation.

Following a simple process is the key to producing comprehensive, detail-oriented, and informative inspections that not only correctly educate clients but also bring in revenue. A service-first attitude and transparent process helps increase job conversion. Stepping into a new service may seem daunting, but my advice is to try not to overcomplicate things. Inspecting a roof system is not difficult as long as you “think like a raindrop.”

Inspecting Roofs the NRCIA Way

An NRCIA-Certified Roof Inspector investigates five different zones of the structure: the interior, attic, exterior, perimeter, and rooftop. In addition, they will ask themselves three main questions:

1. Is the roof currently leaking?
2. Does the roof have a likelihood of leaking?
3. Is the roof system repairable should a leak occur within two years (average certification

If you have training and roofing experience, these points should be relatively easy to identify. Of course, there are times when a further exploratory inspection is required when roof trauma is not observable at a leak location. Exploratory inspections (in which a roof may require opening to find the faulty area) are a separate service and should be billed accordingly. A roof inspector should not cause any damage while inspecting a roof system, and should instead leave no trace that they were ever present. Once you have identified key issues, you will have to document them in a way that can tell a story to the client. Photo documentation and software technology is essential to staying ahead of the competition. Taking photos of the various inspection zones is the primary building block to creating a good report for the owner. A roof should last at least two years after an inspection, along with any necessary repairs, are completed. Suppose the roof’s remaining serviceable life is less than two years — in that case, a complete roof replacement should be professionally recommended and presented in a way the owner can respect and agree with.

Comprehensive Roof Inspection Reporting

The easiest way to do this is by providing a photo-centric inspection report that indicates:
1. The roofing red flags you observed and implications if those deficiencies are not
2. The cause of the red flag (i.e., deferred maintenance, workmanship defect, normal wear
and tear, storm-related damage, etc.).
3. How to properly repair or replace the deficiency.

Providing a well-written, photo-centric report will help clarify the need for restorative work, explain the location of the roof deficiencies, and support job conversion as the owners can see exactly how the inspector came to their determination. These reports are a great resource to review if a reinspection is requested or if you are selected to perform additional roof work later on.

Final Words of Advice

Keep in mind that we, as roofing professionals, are in the service industry. By focusing everyday on being a service to others, the client will know you are there to serve their best interests and a sale will ultimately follow. Remember to:

● Serve first.
● Follow the inspection process in five zones: interior, attic (if accessible), exterior, perimeter, and rooftop.
● Stand out from your competition and inspect 100 percent of the roof system.
● Evaluate, educate, and document.
● Take pictures that can educate the client.

Paul J. Watrous is president of the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association (NRCIA).

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Preparing for High Winds: How to Protect a Home from Damage

High Winds During Hurricane

Wind can come in the form of hurricanes, tornadoes, cyclones, microbursts or downdrafts. There are high winds and gusts in some instances that last just a few minutes, and there are sustaining winds that may last for days. While wind can be a powerful asset, it can also pose a significant danger at times. On an individual basis, it can be valuable to understand the impact of high winds and how we can best protect our homes and personal property from wind damage. There are many ways to reinforce a home against wind damage — some are simple enough to DIY while others may require professional assistance.

In this guide, we hope to help increase understanding of how wind can put stress on a home. It is our goal to help improve the appreciation of this powerful force and provide advice in best protecting a property on almost every level to help minimize damage from large storms.



When considering the role doors play in protecting homes from high winds, it is natural to think about our exterior doors first. They are the doors that provide the first line of defense from high winds and blowing debris. While certainly wind-resistant doors and break-resistant glass play a significant part in fighting winds, interior doors are important as well. In hurricane winds or when a tornado may be imminent, all doors and windows, including every interior door should be closed. This can prevent pressure build up inside of a home which can lead to losing a room. Closing interior doors will also help to compartmentalize damage from wind or rain should there a breach in the exterior of a home.


Benefits of Impact Resistant Doors

Many areas of the country have been designated Wind-Borne Debris Regions (WBDR) and High-Velocity Hurricane Zones (HVHZ). These are mainly located in coastal areas that frequently experience high winds. Stricter building codes exist in many of these areas requiring new structures to be constructed using impact resistant doors. These doors are not only constructed using materials with greater strength and impact resistant glass, but are also installed using techniques to withstand higher winds, rain, and debris.

While it wasn’t that long ago impact-resistant doors were unsightly, design and material improvements have made them more aesthetically appealing and virtually indistinguishable from standard doors. They have become so appealing in fact, even owners of older homes are choosing them when it comes time to replace current doors.

There are multiple benefits to these impact-resistant doors. They provide better security for a home, even when high winds aren’t present. They offer better sound and temperature insulation than standard products. Impact-resistant doors will help prevent a doorway breach in high winds, keeping occupants and personal possessions safer.

Another benefit of impact-resistant doors is that they could lead to a discount to homeowners insurance premiums, especially for those who live in high wind-prone areas. Many of these homeowners are making proactive improvements to better safeguard their properties including the installation of impact-resistant doors.


How to Reinforce Doors


Boarding up Door

There are ways in which standard doors can be reinforced to better resist damage from high winds. Most are simple, do-it-yourself projects.

  • Inspect doors of any cracks or missing or damaged hardware. Make sure there are no air leaks around the door.
  • Replace standard hinge screws with longer, stronger screws that will reach into the wall frame.
  • Make sure the threshold seals the door bottom and is screwed deeply into the floor.
  • Add a deadbolt to exterior doors that extend a minium of one-inch.
  • If you have French-style double doors, make sure they are refitted with bolts that extend at least an inch into the floor.

It is a common practice to reinforce doors (and windows) with sheets of plywood when a hurricane approaches. This can be cost-effective and should be planned in advance. When covering doors with plywood, use at least ½ inch thick plywood sheets that extend beyond the door frame and secured with heavy-duty screws or expansion bolts. Pre-drilling holes and marking the location for each sheet of plywood can help save valuable time in an approaching storm. Keep in mind that plywood quickly becomes in high demand as a hurricane approaches, so being prepared ahead of time will ensure you have the materials needed and on hand.

Other than covering traditional, standard sliding glass doors with shutters or plywood the only way to defend against glass breakage is by replacing the doors with those using impact-resistant glass. Even with impact-resistant glass, many homeowners appreciate the added protection a layer of plywood can provide.



A quick look around any yard will reveal a number of items that can quickly turn into projectiles during high winds. There are natural materials like sticks, limbs, dirt and stones. Then there are man-made items like lawn furniture, trampolines, grills, umbrellas, yard tools, and toys. These items make a home’s windows particularly vulnerable during high winds, especially when standard glass is used. They can also damage siding, scrape roofing and damage neighboring property.

Even a small branch or piece of flying debris can start a landslide of damage once a window is cracked. That crack can weaken a window, eventually turning into a break. As winds continue to put force on the broken window, the break can become larger and even cause the complete failure of the window. This can result in dangerous shards of glass being splintered through a room. Winds and rain now have even greater access to the home’s interior, likely creating further damage. Once winds enter a space, the entire structure, including the roof, is at greater risk.

A home’s security during high winds is only as strong as its weakest link and, in most cases, that is a window. There are two main options when it comes to providing better window protection. One is to cover or reinforce windows and the other is to upgrade windows to high impact glass.


Benefits of High Impact Glass

High impact glass is manufactured to resist the impact from wind-borne materials during strong winds. Not only is the glass generally thicker, it is reinforced with a clear film to help maintain its integrity. Impact resistant glass is more flexible in high winds and even if cracked, will not shatter into dangerous sharp pieces of flying glass.

Beyond improving the safety of a home in a wind event, there are multiple other benefits to high impact glass that even homeowners in non-coastal areas can benefit from.

  • Sound Insulation: High impact glass has sound insulating qualities that can create a quieter environment in a home. This can be very beneficial in a noisy city environment or even in the suburbs where weekend lawn mowing and trimming may take place earlier than appreciated. It will also help insulate a home from the sounds of neighboring barking dogs, traffic noise and construction.
  • Security: Not only can high impact glass protect from flying debris but it can also discourage intruders. While high impact glass is not impenetrable, it will certainly slow down someone intending to break into a home through windows. This just may be enough to discourage them.
  • Reduction of UV Rays: High impact glass uses laminate material that reduces up to 99% of UV rays from entering a home. These rays can cause long-term damage and fading of curtains, upholstery and other furnishings.
  • Lower Energy Costs: Choosing impact glass has the built-in benefit of reducing energy cost. How much will depend on the type of windows chosen. This is particularly valuable in coastal areas that frequently experience high temperatures like Florida, the Southeast Coast, and Gulf Coast states.
  • Lower Insurance Costs: Many insurance companies offer discounts to homeowners who improve their homes using wind resistant upgrades like windows. These discounts along with energy savings can contribute to paying for high impact windows.
  • Increased Value: High impact windows add to the value of a home. They can also be a significant selling point when putting a home up for sale in a high wind-prone region.

Like any replacement window, high impact windows are available in three common framing materials including wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Modern high impact glass windows are every bit as attractive, and in many cases more so, than traditional window options.


How to Reinforce Windows

When upgrading to high impact glass is not the only option, there are less expensive, and even do-it-yourself alternatives.

  • Plywood: Plywood is an inexpensive and effective way to protect your windows in a high wind event. The key is to be prepared and pre-measure and drill plywood sheets to cover windows ahead of time. Use plywood that is at least 1/2″ thick with sheets cut to extend 6-8″ beyond the window opening. Mark and pre-drill holes where heavy duty screws will anchor the plywood sheets in place. Mark the location of each plywood sheet using a marker, for example, “Kitchen window-Upper Right”. This will help you more quickly mount your plywood in an approaching storm.
  • Hurricane Film: Hurricane film is a clear laminate that can be applied directly to the glass in a window. It is popular because it is relatively inexpensive, easy to apply and can help prevent UV rays for entering a home. Hurricane film is designed to keep the glass from shattering into tiny, sharp projectiles upon an impact. If windows are older or frames are weak, however, it could cause the entire window to fail in high winds or in a significant impact.
  • Shutters: Shutters are still a popular choice for window protection especially along the coasts and for condominium owners. There are plenty of design and material options in modern shutters including roll-up and accordion style. These are pre-installed and ready for deployment during a wind event. Materials include aluminum, fiberglass and reinforced fabric. There are even opaque materials that will let more light into a home. Remote controlled powered shutters add even more convenience.

It is important to note that taping windows/placing a giant “X” using tape on a window is virtually useless in either adding strength or in keeping a window from shattering. The other methods in this section will be much more helpful.



The roof is one of the largest parts of a home. Rather than thinking of it as a single element, however, it is helpful to think of it as a combination of materials that protect your home from rain, snow, animals and helps keep warmth and cool air in. A roof consists of the outside layer (most frequently – but not always – asphalt shingles), a tarpaper moisture barrier, underlayment, and trusses. It also includes materials like flashing, eaves, soffits and more.

Although large, the roof is susceptible to damage in high winds for a variety of reasons. As a roof ages, shingles can become brittle and lose adhesion to the structure. Older roofs aren’t reinforced as well as more modern structures and are more easily damaged. While a roof is both large and heavy, it can be no match for high winds as elements get peeled away or the entire roof structure may even be lifted away.

Of course, once the roof has been compromised, wind and water can enter the interior of the home and the entire building will be at risk.

The lifespan of roofs will depend primarily on the roofing materials used. Standard vinyl shingles may last from 15-25 years, while steel or tile roofing can last 60-80 years or more. These materials, of course, will vary widely in costs.

Like most elements of a home, the lifespan of a roof can be extended through regular inspections and maintenance.


Regularly Inspect the Roof

Roof inspections should be conducted at least once a year. While many roof issues can be detected with the naked eye, a closer look may reveal more hidden problems. Here is a list of some areas of focus when conducting an annual roof inspection.

  • Missing or partial shingles.
  • Shingles that are cracking or buckling.
  • Worn or cracked rubber boots around roof pipes and vents.
  • Rust on metal flashing
  • Cracking or chipping caulk on flashing
  • Damaged or missing chimney capabilities
  • Shingles that are scraped or otherwise damaged from limbs that may have fallen.
  • Any moss that is growing on the shingles.

Furthermore, homeowners should check the area around their roof and keep any tree limbs trimmed back and away from the roof. These limbs can serve as traffic lanes for insects and varmints who can do roof damage. In addition, you’ll want to make sure your gutter system is clean, clear and draining properly. Backed up water or frozen water can cause significant problems to a roof’s structure. Particular attention should be paid to the edges of a roof where weakened material can be more easily lifted by high winds.


Optimal Roof Design


Metal Roof Protection

Housing design has a major impact on the amount of wind damage that may be done to a home. A low profile roof, for example, is much less likely to experience damage than a high profile one. This means that a roof on a single story home is less likely to incur damage that the roof of a two-story house.

A hip roof is less likely to be damaged than a gable roof. The more roof penetrations there are, the more likely it is that damage occurs. Wider overhangs are also prone to more damage. Roof integrity in high winds is frequently determined during construction and in the design and materials used.

For example, in construction, nails should be used as opposed to staples. Plywood is a more durable, wind resistant choice than particle board for underlayment. While certainly more expensive, metal roofing has proven to withstand high winds far better than asphalt shingles. Metal roofing has far fewer seams than asphalt shingles and fewer areas where the wind can get underneath. Metal roof sections lock together creating a better bond and overall stronger structure. Roofs designed with smaller overhangs also have less opportunity for uplift.

While a homeowner may feel there is little they can do about an existing roof, there are actually a number of roofing upgrades, aftermarket products, and steps that can be taken to upgrade a current roofing system to make it more wind resistant.


Securing Roof/Shingles

Even if you are just replacing a current aging roof, there are steps one can take to make a roofing system more wind resistant. Start by using plywood as the underlayment instead of composite wood. Metal roofs are extremely wind resistant as are clay, slate, and concrete tiles. Heavier clay or slate materials may require additional strengthening of your underlying roof system. There are asphalt shingles that are rated higher for wind resistance and they should be installed using nails as opposed to staples. You can also request six nails be used in attaching each shingle instead of the normal four. These steps alone will help provide a more substantial, wind resistant roof. There is more however, that can be done.

In excessive winds, pressure is applied to various sides of a home and potentially can lift the entire roof system off of a house. When this occurs, there is no lateral stability to hold the walls up. This results in the walls generally falling outward, making it appear the home has exploded. There are several steps than can be taken to mitigate this problem including better securing the roofing system to the load-bearing walls and foundation. There are braces which can be added to a roof system including trusses to maintain its integrity. Hurricane straps and can be installed to secure the roof to load bearing sidewalls.

These systems will likely need to be upgraded/installed by a licensed contractor familiar with roofing codes in your particular area.


Garage Door

A garage door is typically the largest moving part of an entire home. This creates some unique challenges in high wind situations. Generally speaking, garage doors are designed to move upward and downward, providing security and shelter for vehicles and other items stored in the area. Like most materials used in construction, under daily stress, garage doors may perform admirably and even enhance the appearance of a home. Under the stress of high winds, however, they can and do fail. This can cause a chain reaction of destruction and damage to a home, once wind and moisture are introduced to the area.

When a detached garage is involved, a garage door plays a major role in keeping the wind from getting into the garage and lifting off the roof. In an attached garage, it could lead to damage to the roof structure of the entire home.


Inspecting the Condition of the Garage Door

Ensuring a garage door is ready for high winds starts with a visual inspection. Unless a garage door contains windows, there should be little if any daylight seen around the panels when the door is closed. Wheels should fit securely in the roller tracks and there should be minimal “wiggle-room” when the door is in place. The garage door should be able to manually lock into both the right and left sides of the track.

When replacing a garage door, consider a “storm ready” reinforced door. These doors are constructed of heavier materials and reinforced both horizontally and vertically. Impact resistant hurricane-ready garage doors also include heavier hardware and more durable wheel and track systems. Securing this type of door simply involves closing it and locking it into place.

Best Garage Doors Materials


Strong Garage Door Material

Steel is a popular impact resistant material that can be used for a garage door. Many impact resistant doors will include at least one layer of steel and may include layers containing wood, polycarbonate materials, insulation or aluminum. The strongest wind and impact resistant doors use several layers in their construction.

Keep in mind, a garage door must not only withstand the strength of 100+ mph winds but must also be able to absorb the punishment that flying debris may inflict on the door. Thin aluminum or aging wood may not stand a chance of survival in such winds and swirling debris. Most have seen images of a 2×4 piercing a tree, car window or other material as a result of high winds. It doesn’t take much of an imagination to visualize the damage that could do to a standard garage door.


How to Reinforce a Garage Door

There are two main forms of aftermarket options to reinforce garage doors to increase wind resistance. The first is a bracing system that must be manually put into place as high winds approach, and be manually removed following the storm. These bracing systems installed inside of the garage door help to provide additional support. Long metal posts are placed into the floor and into ceiling beams. Some bracing systems also include horizontal braces.

There are also hurricane panels available, most frequently made of steel, aluminum or polycarbonate materials. Like storm shutters or plywood that can be used to protect doors and windows, these panels install on the outside of the garage door, provide additional protection from wind and debris. These also need to be manually removed when the wind threat has passed.

Reinforcing garage doors with these aftermarket systems can offer better protection for a home, but they will not generally qualify homeowners for discounts on their insurance policy.


Home Siding/Exterior

Another area of a home that should be of concern in high winds is the siding. Like the roof, windows, and doors, keeping a home’s siding inspected and properly maintained will go a long way in maintaining its integrity in a windstorm. Like those other areas, the key is preventing the wind from getting a foothold behind the siding, giving it an opportunity to tear it off of the structure.


Siding Condition Inspection


Checking Siding Condition

A large factor in the integrity of your siding in high winds is its age, condition, and the materials of which it is made. Like other aspects of your home, the place to start is with a thorough inspection of your siding.

You are looking for cracks and openings and where the siding may have deteriorated. While much of this inspection can be visual, be prepared to apply pressure on the siding to test its strength and to verify it is firmly attached. If wood siding appears to be soft, those pieces should be replaced. Where it is loose, it should be reinforced. Make sure to check corner pieces as well.

Other areas of concern should be around doors and windows. If siding has pulled away from window or door frames it should be resealed. The same is true for any areas where the siding has been breached for a dryer vent, exterior faucets, the main water line, and natural gas entry points and any HVAC vents or pipes. You’ll also want to inspect areas where the cable company may have created an entry point. Wind-driven moisture into these areas can cause long-term damage from rotting wood and even mold.

An annual thorough siding inspection can help you spot trouble before it magnifies and will help ensure your siding is better prepared for any unexpected wind event.


Sealing Gaps

One of the easiest and best ways to prevent winds from getting behind siding is to make sure the siding is sealed properly. Over the course of years, siding is heated and cooled, potentially creating gaps, cracks and even pulling away from the foundation. Wood siding can be compromised by moisture or insects. Older vinyl siding can bow and crack.

These gaps can be eliminated in a variety of ways including caulk, spray foam insulation. If the damage is significant enough, replacement of some of the siding may be prudent. Keep in mind, during gale force winds, it is not just the weakened siding that is in jeopardy.


Proper Siding Installation for High Winds

Special steps need to be taken when installing new or replacing siding in wind prone areas. Of course, attention needs to be paid to any local building codes and manufacturer’s instructions for the materials used. Prior to installation, a moisture barrier or house wrap should be put in place to serve as an additional defense against wind-driven moisture. Pay close attention that the materials purchased are suitable for the location of your home. For example, if a home is located close to a coastline, stainless steel fasteners may be suggested or even required. It is typically advised to never use dissimilar metals together.

When siding is being installed, very careful attention must be paid to the proper installation of the lowest deck of materials. If this layer is improperly or carelessly installed it can have a negative effect on the entire project. This is due, in part, because damage to siding frequently occurs from the bottom up.

Other installation tips will depend on the type of material used.


Installing Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is resilient in high winds as long as it is properly rated and is installed correctly. The International Building Code says vinyl siding should be rated up to 110 mph up to 30 feet high. This is sufficient for one and two story homes. For taller structures, or for those who wish to achieve higher than a 110 mph rating, more structurally sound siding and installation methods should be used.

It is important to remember that higher wind ratings are achieved through a combination of the materials and the installation methods so manufacturer instructions for installation should be strictly adhered to.

Vinyl siding rated for higher winds will generally be made of thicker, stiffer vinyl and include an enhanced nailing hem. Nails should be placed in the center of the nail slot and should not be hammered fully into place. Leave enough room for the siding to be able to slightly expand and contract in temperature swings. This will prevent the siding from buckling. Do not caulk or seal vinyl siding pieces together to allow for this slight movement.

Only use the manufacturer’s suggested starter strip when installing siding. This will help ensure a solid start to the project. Make sure each section is properly locked with previously installed sections and has an appropriate overlap. Special care should be taken around window and door frames to maintain the integrity of the vinyl siding.


Installing Wood Siding


Properly Installed Wood Siding

Wood siding is both attractive and functional in areas where high winds occur. Here are some tips to keep in mind when installing wood siding in these wind prone areas.

  • Be sure to use a water barrier or house wrap under the wood siding, but make sure to include a rain screen. A rain screen is a small gap between the back of the wood siding and the water barrier that allows moisture to escape or “rain” down the barrier. This can be accomplished by using vertical furring strips to allow for the spacing. Check manufacturer recommendations, however, to suit your specific materials.
  • Choose decay-resistant wood. Redwood, cedar, or cypress are good choices.
  • Prime the wood siding before installation for best coverage.
  • Follow specific manufacturer instructions for attaching wood siding, especially when attempting to achieve high wind ratings.
  • Blind nailing should be done at least ¾ of an inch below the top edge. Surface nailing, however, may provide better adhesion in high winds. Check with both local building codes and the manufacturer’s instructions before making a final decision.
  • Be sure to trim off the bottom of the first course, not allowing for an extension of siding beyond the underlying material. This can minimize wind grab.

Wood siding can require more maintenance than some other choices, but it can pay dividends in beauty and in the versatility to paint it to change colors.


Installing Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is durable, versatile and extremely wind resistant when properly installed. While installation is similar to that of wood siding, fiber cement siding will require special precautions and tools outside of your typical homeowner toolset, especially when cutting material on-site. Eye protection and breathing filters are strongly encouraged.

The following suggestions should be kept in mind when installing fiber cement siding.

  • Field-cut ends should be sealed based on manufacturer instructions.
  • All intersections should be properly gapped and sealed.
  • Pay strict attention for local codes and manufacturer instructions when choosing appropriate fasteners for the wind ratings you desire to achieve.
  • Blind nails should be at least 3/4″ from the top edge. To achieve 100 mph+ wind ratings, face nailing is recommended.
  • Make sure the first course is trimmed and doesn’t extend beyond the underlying material.

Fiber cement siding provides exceptional protection from wind, and although it may be outside of the realm of a DIY project for many, it may be worth exploring as a high wind resistant option.


Insulating Concrete Forms (ICFs)

Insulated Concrete Forms (ICF’s) are an increasingly popular choice in new construction for those living in areas prone to natural disasters, including hurricanes and tornados.

ICF’s are concrete walls that are cast in place on-site, between two layers of insulation. The insulating material is bound together by steel rods. Not only does this type of construction provide exceptional soundproofing and insulation benefits, it can withstand winds up to 250 mph. That should get the attention of anyone considering building a home in a tornado or hurricane prone area.

While ICF construction is said to add about 5-10% to a home’s build price, that cost can be made up in energy savings and potential savings on homeowner’s insurance. Some project actual energy savings of from 30-70% with an ICF constructed home. An ICF constructed home is said to allow less allergens into a home and is more fire resistant than other construction materials. It also can provide peace of mind in even the most severe weather and wind conditions.


Landscaping and Outbuildings

An important component of protecting a home and property in high winds is minimizing the potential projectiles that can become airborne in a tornado or hurricane. These projectiles can result from trees and limbs and from an assortment of yard furniture and outdoor tools and toys we may use on a daily basis. Depending on how much warning you have prior to a wind event, items can be safely secured in a garage or outbuilding (which should also be secured and/or reinforced). Items like empty trash containers can even be filled with water to keep them in place. Larger items like a backyard trampoline should be disassembled, stored, or at the very least turned upside down and secured to the ground.

Homeowners should consider every item not secured in their outdoor living spaces as a potential projectile including potted outdoor plants, decorative items, and umbrellas. Even piles of brush can scatter and cause damage to property in severe winds.

It can pay to make an inspection of your property and secure loose items before an approaching storm.




Pruning Trees Safety

Very few news stories about wind damage don’t include images of large downed trees. Trees serve as a sail in the wind and, in spite of deep or extensive root systems, will topple in high winds. The potential increases when storms occur during or after heavy rains when the ground has become saturated. The saturated ground provides less resistance to the wind pummeling a tree. Eventually, a tree may simply become knocked over, large root ball and all. In other cases, large sections of a tree may split in the wind or large limbs taken down. This is more frequently seen in an area that hasn’t seen a heavy wind storm in several years. In this case, trees that have become overgrown or aged are “pruned” by Mother Nature. Interesting enough, in areas that see more frequent windstorms, significant tree damage is less likely as nature keeps up with the pruning process. Whatever the scenario, homeowners should keep an eye on trees around their homes to better protect their homes from potential damage.


Inspecting and Pruning Tree Branches

Proper tree maintenance on a property starts with regularly inspecting trees. While you may not feel comfortable in your knowledge of trees, there are some simple things to look for in a tree inspection.

You should be able to “see” through the leaves of a tree. This better allows air flow through its branches and minimizes the drag high winds put on the leaves. If the tree is small enough, you may be able to remove or prune some of these interior branches to allow for winds to better pass through.

Generally speaking, small growth branches that extend upward should be left to grown. Downward-growing branches or those that are beginning to grow across others can cause potential issues. Those can and should be trimmed.

Branches that touch a house or overhang a house should also be trimmed. Winds can cause a limb that is touching a structure to scratch rub against siding or roofing causing damage. It also provides an opportunity for window breakage. Of course, limbs that hang above a property are always cause for concern. If tree trimming is done immediately prior to an anticipated hurricane, be sure trimmed limbs are properly disposed of and not left in a pile in the yard.


Tree Removal

If wind damage is your top priority, no tree should be closer to your home that its height, and should be removed. However, in most instances, this is neither practical nor desired. Trees provide shade and add beauty to homes. The reality is, however, an old tree that is showing its age may need to be removed. This will require the services of a professional, usually, with fees based on the size of the tree and how challenging a position it is located in to be safely removed.

Removing an heirloom tree can be a difficult decision. They are often replaced by planting a new tree that will offer less maintenance and potential danger.

Make sure any tree removal service used is bonded and insured. Inquire if stump removal is included in the price and if all limbs and material will be removed from the property. When a home has a fireplace, the homeowner may decide to keep many larger pieces of the removed tree for future firewood. Some trees may also have wood that is valuable. The wood can be sold either to the tree removal service or another individual.

It is important any limbs and debris be removed from a yard prior to any high wind event. This is a reason a homeowner shouldn’t wait for an impending wind storm to perform needed tree removal.


Outbuildings and Other Potential Projectiles


Secured Storage Shed

Many homes make use of outbuildings and storage sheds to store items ranging from lawn equipment to tools and bicycles. If the outbuilding is not secured to a cement pad or otherwise properly anchored, it can cause problems on several levels. First, smaller, lighter wood or plastic buildings (or tiny homes that are not built on a foundation) can easily be moved or toppled in high winds. They can break apart and sail into the wind. This also can create the secondary problem of turning the contents of the outbuilding into projectiles. Watching this take place from the interior of a home while the winds are raging can be frustrating, frightening and concerning. There will be little that can be done after the fact. Outbuildings need to be prepared for high winds ahead of time.

Securing any such outbuildings or sheds is critical in areas that experience high winds. Anchor systems are available that can be attached to the base of a shed-like structure and be secured to the ground. There are also strapping systems that extend from one side of a small building over to the other side — both sides are anchored into the ground. The number of straps required will depend on the length of the building.

If outdoor items like barbecue grills or furniture can’t be stored inside of a secured area, make sure they are anchored with a metal cable or chain to a solid structure like a deck or post that is cemented into the ground.

If you are considering purchasing a storage shed or DIY outbuilding and live in an area that experiences high wind storms, be sure to ask about options that may be available for that particular structure to secure it properly.


Taking Shelter Indoors

Taking shelter indoors may be your only option in fast-moving storms like tornadoes. In hurricanes, where residents generally at least have a few days of warning, departing to a safer area may be the best option. In either case, the safest place in the home during a high wind event is generally the same; an interior room on the lowest level of a structure, away from windows and exterior doors. In some cases, this may be a basement or a first-floor interior closet or bathroom.

Be sure to take a battery operated radio or weather radio with you along with a flashlight. Blankets may offer additional protection and in severe cases, mattresses can be used to provide cover. If an interior bathroom is used, the tub can provide additional protection.


Understanding When It’s Best to Evacuate

Pacific hurricane season is from May 15 through the end of November while the Atlantic Hurricane season spans from June 1 through November 30th. Coastal areas suffer the highest impact, but hurricane force winds can still occur a hundred or more miles inland.

Residents who may be impacted by a hurricane generally have days or more to get ready. This is when plans and preparations should be made to secure your property, notify family and friends as to your intentions, and secure gasoline, cash, and needed foodstuff to make it through the storm and for at least three days beyond. If you are not in the immediate impact area for the most damaging winds, you may decide to “ride it out”. But when should you decide to evacuate?

Simply put, if you are told to leave or are in a mandatory evacuation zone you should leave. You should become familiar with planned evacuation routes for your area and depart within at least a day prior to the storms impact. Keep in mind hotel rooms will likely be at a premium, so leaving earlier will allow you to travel further from the storm’s impact area and may offer more options for accommodations.

Before leaving, do what you can to prevent damage to your home. Install shutters or plywood over windows and doors. Secure loose items in your yard. Make plans for the care of pets. Perhaps most importantly, let loved ones know of your plans and destination.

Leaving a property behind can be a difficult decision. But staying behind may be a frightening, life-threatening situation you should avoid.


Creating a Safe Room

People have varying definitions of a “Safe Room.” Some view it as a place to go in your home when there is an emergency. Others view it as something that should be constructed in the interior a home to serve as a refuge in a variety of calamities. For the purposes of this guide, we are assuming there is a specific area in your home that can serve as the safest place to be in a hurricane or tornado. This will likely be in an interior room on the lowest level of a home, away from windows.

Once you have determined where this space is, there are some preparations you can take to improve the safety of the space.

Ideally, the space should be at least as large as a walk-in closet. It should have a locking door that can be secured with a deadbolt and perhaps, reinforced with longer hinge screws. The room should have a battery operated flashlight or attached LED lighting, a battery operated weather radio, bottled water, and blankets. For our purposes, the safe room need only help you survive the peak winds of an approaching.

There is a newer product on the market that can also help you create a more impenetrable safe room. It is concrete cloth.


Concrete “Cloth”

Concrete cloth is a material that has already been proven effective in lining construction ditches to protect workers, as an easy to deploy fabric in building quick shelters for the military and in fortifying existing construction. Concrete cloth is fabric that is impregnated with cement. When wet, the material can be manipulated into a variety of shapes for up to two hours. It will completely harden in 24 hours, even if it is over-hydrated.

For purposes of a safe room, sheets of the concrete cloth could be attached to the wood studs of walls or the ceiling to be reinforced using common nails or screws. Once it begins to dry in just two hours, you have a concrete reinforced wall. Even a single layer of concrete cloth is said to be able to withstand winds in excess of 130 mph. At about $6 per square foot, concrete cloth would cost about $600 to cover a 10’x10′ walk-in closet.

Finding a Contractor

While some projects to make your home more wind and impact resistant can be handled on a do-it-yourself basis, there are some projects where you will need to secure the services of a professional. What should you consider when choosing a contactor? Here are some tips.

  • Make sure any contractor you use is licensed, bonded and insured. This protects you if the contractor damages your property or otherwise fails in his obligations.
  • Ask family and friends for referrals. This is particularly important if they have used the services of a contractor.
  • Get payment terms upfront, understand all details of what is included in the bid and never pay 100% of a contractor’s fee before work is completed.
  • Get a firm completion date from your contractor. There should be ramifications if that date is not met unless it is due to unforeseen circumstances like bad weather or a material supply issue.
  • Review online rating services. A quick internet search may reveal both negative and positive aspects of a contractor.
  • Ask for references from the contractor for similar projects he has completed.
  • Simply ask the contractor why you should choose his or her services.
  • Ask about any warranties and guarantees, including labor.

In some instances, manufacturer’s may recommend certain contractors as “certified” to install their products. Ask specifically what that means for the product and service you are looking for. Perform due diligence before securing a contractor and minimize problems after you’ve selected one.


Why Prepare

Why should you prepare for high winds, hurricanes, and tornados? The simple reason is to better protect you and your household and the investment you have made in your home.

This perhaps can best be driven home by statistics.

  • All but one of the ten costliest hurricanes have occurred since 2004.
  • 2012’s Hurricane Sandy severely impacted 16 different states.
  • Since the mid-1800s, 34 states have been impacted directly by a tropical storm or hurricane.
  • The United States records over 1,000 tornadoes each year.
  • Altogether, the costs of the 16 separate weather events in the U.S. in 2017 that exceeded $1 billion each added up to over $306 billion.
  • Hurricane force winds can impact an area for 12 to 18 hours but a slow-moving storm could leave hurricane force winds in place for 24 hours or more.
  • Hurricanes are ranked on the Saffir-Simpson Scale which places them in five categories. Category 1 is from 74-95 mph, Category 2 from 96-110 mph, Category 3 from 111-120 and Category 4 from 130-156. The most devastating Category 5 hurricanes range from 157 mph and above.
  • Tornadoes are rated on the Fajita Scale which determines an EF0 tornado to be “light” at 65 to 85 mph. An EF1 tornado is designated as one with winds from 86 mph to 110 and is “moderate”. A “considerable” tornado is an EF2 with winds ranging from 111 mp to 135 mph. An EF3 spans from 136 mph to 165 mph and is considered “severe”. At 166 mph to 200 mph an EF4 is referred to as “devastating” and an EF5 at 201 mph+ is determined to be “incredible”.

Tornadoes and hurricanes are a reality that should be accounted for. There are steps, however, that we can take to mitigate damage.

In many areas, the odds are pretty high that – at some point – a home will be subject to high winds. The winds may be from a hurricane, tornado or even a straight line or mountain wind. Some areas experience blizzard scale winds. Protecting a home starts with inspecting weak points and areas subject to damage like roofs, windows, doors and garage doors. Inspect siding more frequently and take care of our trees, trimming them when needed and removing them as necessary. Make sure your home is safe and have plans in place for severe weather events.


Article originally published at


Tapping Into the Sun at Home: Residential Solar Benefits, ROI, Installation, and Upkeep

Home Solar Panel System

Solar panels convert light from the sun into electricity. They are used to charge remote power systems, operate telecommunications equipment, and keep homes and businesses running. Although a solar array requires a substantial initial investment, solar panels are an energy-efficient upgrade that have many benefits, including major cost savings that can make the array worthwhile. At one time, these systems were an uncommon feature on homes and businesses. Today, they can be found on structures around the country, in all climates and regions.

Solar systems are popular due to their energy efficiency, money savings, high value to property buyers, and the tax rebates that make them more affordable. Homeowners and business owners interested in adding solar panels to their property have a lot of information to consider before moving forward, such as system cost, leasing versus buying, system longevity, and return on investment.

Standard solar array systems last 20 years or longer with proper maintenance. Therefore, it is critical for those interested in solar panels to learn as much as they can before making their final decisions.


The History of Solar

People have been using energy from the sun to improve quality of life for thousands of years. In the 3rd century BCE, Greeks and Romans used light reflected off burning mirrors to ignite torches during sacred ceremonies. Greek legend tells a story of a scientist named Archimedes who set fire to enemy ships by reflecting sunlight off bronze shields and focusing energy beams on the wooden structures.

Photoconductors were discovered in the 19th century, and by the late 1800s, materials that could generate electricity when exposed to sunlight were discovered. While these primitive solar cells were different from present technology, these discoveries paved the way for modern solar energy systems that power today’s homes and businesses.

The next leap in solar technology came in the early part of the 20th century when Einstein published a paper on the effects of light and how it carries energy. In the 1950s and 60s, scientists used solar energy to power certain systems on spacecrafts. Later, this same technology was converted into more everyday uses. The energy crisis of the 1970s forced scientists to explore new potential energy sources. Solar panels were installed on the roof of the White House, but at that time, solar was highly inefficient. Groups like energy providers began investing in solar research to determine if this type of energy could be improved.

It’s estimated that the first solar panels operated at 1% efficiency and produced electricity at a cost of approximately $300 per watt. Those statistics changed dramatically as scientists found ways to improve solar energy. Today, solar power can be generated at a cost of approximately $0.50 per watt. While this is much better than earlier versions of the technology, most solar panels operate between 15% and 18% efficiency. There is still room for improvement, and the technology continues to progress.

Advantages of Solar


Reasons to Get Solar Panels


There are so many advantages to solar power that for many homeowners and business owners, installation of a system is an obvious choice. In addition to energy efficiency and money savings for property owners, solar panel installation can be a display of a company’s dedication to eco-friendly construction for those who want to attract clientele that prioritize eco-friendly businesses.

For homeowners, installing solar panels can raise property values and make the house overall more attractive to buyers seeking an energy-efficient house. Some homeowners also value solar panels because they want energy independence, which allows them to not have to rely on the services provided by standard utility companies.


Save or Eliminate Energy Costs

One of the first and foremost reasons that property owners choose to install solar panels in their home is because they’re seeking energy savings. Solar power, generated by the sun, is in theory completely free — after the solar panels have been purchased and installed.

However, some property owners choose to lease their system rather than purchase it. In this case, energy savings depends on a variety of factors, including the structure’s energy consumption, size of the solar energy system, whether the system is leased or purchased, direct hours of daily sunlight, size, and angle to the roof and local electricity rates.


Increase in Property Value

Return on investment is another common reason that property owners choose to install solar panels. Structures that are inherently energy efficient often sell for more money than structures that are older and less energy efficient. Solar panels are viewed as an upgrade, with a standard return on investment of about $15,000. However, ROI can vary based on factors like the age, cost of the system, size, and so on.

Tax Credits and Rebates

Investment Tax Credit (ITC) is the federal solar tax credit that allows both residential and commercial property owners to deduct 26% of the cost of their solar panel installation from their federal taxes in 2020. This federal tax credit was originally instituted in 2005, set to expire in 2007. It has been extended several times since, and is currently set to expire in 2021. While the tax credit may be extended again, there is no guarantee.

The ITC only applies to property owners who own their solar system. However, other tax credits and rebates may apply on the state or local level.


Solar is Universal

Solar power is universal because even those living in low-light areas can take advantage of solar power. Those seeking solar panels do not have to be located in areas where the sun shines frequently. Solar energy systems can be installed and be effective in parts of the country where regular rainstorms are common.

When installing an effective solar energy system, the most important thing for people to remember is to ensure the system is properly positioned to absorb solar energy. Solar panels must be placed in high-light parts of the property, away from trees and objects in the landscape that could block the system from the sun.


Potential Drawbacks of Solar Power

In general, there are more advantages of solar power than disadvantages. However, it is important to understand that solar power is not the right option for every property or every owner. Before deciding if solar power is right for them, people should know the potential challenges associated with solar power, and have an understanding of their own goals associated with getting a solar power system.


Solar Panels Have High Upfront Costs

Solar power has always been expensive, although systems become more affordable over time. The current average price to install solar panels is about $19,000 before the federal tax credit.

Some people are able to manage this high up-front cost by leasing a system, although leasing has its own disadvantages. As already stated, ownership of the system is what qualifies the homeowner for the federal tax credit. Leasing locks the homeowner into a regular monthly payment, often for the life of the solar system.


Solar Panels Aren’t Compatible With Every Rooftop

Most modern homes can accommodate solar panels. However, sometimes the material the rooftop is made from, and sometimes the structure of the house itself, is incompatible with solar panels. This is often true of older and historic homes. Historic Preservation Review Boards sometimes prevent the addition of solar panels if they are prominently displayed, while other review boards make concessions for these structural additions.

Solar panels can be installed on slate, clay, and wood rooftop shingles. However, the mounting method must be adapted for the type of roofing material the system is being installed on. Rooftops that are in poor condition may need to be repaired before solar panels can be installed. Weakened slate, for example, can be broken during the installation process.


Solar Panels Take Time to Reflect Their Savings

Because of the cost of solar panels and their installation, people who buy their system may wait about 7.5 years before they see a payback. Additionally, if someone chooses to install a solar system on their home and then moves before they start to see savings, they may not recover their money.


Finding and Comparing Solar Contractors Can Be Difficult

In some areas, solar contractors pop up frequently and disappear as quickly. Often, offers from contractors differ dramatically. Some contractors offer leased systems only, others may only sell, and still other contractors may have a mixture of packages for homeowners. Financing options make the process of choosing a contractor even more complicated, because payment terms may vary from one contractor to the next. These factors make comparing offers and systems challenging.

Some tips for finding a reputable contractor include:

  • Know the licensing requirements in your state and ensure the solar contractor you choose meets those requirements.
  • Meet with multiple contractors to compare bids.
  • Get references from satisfied customers.
  • Use online tools and resources to compare bids and make the process easier.

Planning a Solar Electric System


Home Solar Panel Research and Planning


Before installing a solar electric system, it’s important for people to plan properly, do their research, meet with contractors, and compare bids before committing to a system. They should know the questions they should be asking contractors, and familiarize themselves with the process so that they can be fully prepared in advance.


What Is the Home’s Current Energy Usage and Needs?

During the evaluation process, solar contractors will need to know how much energy a home uses in an average month. Because energy usage may vary throughout the year, contractors may ask to see the owner’s utility bills for the last year to see how energy usage fluctuates.

An energy audit can also be performed to assess a home’s energy usage. An energy auditor will suggest changes that the owner can make to reduce how much energy their home or property uses. Changes made to a home’s energy usage just before installing a solar panel system can change the solar system’s needs. Solar contractors fit the system to the needs of the house, so homeowners should talk about any changes they’re planning to make to their home that may reduce their home’s energy usage. If someone is trying to save money on their system, they may choose to make changes to their home’s energy efficiency before installing a solar system.

If possible, homeowners should plan to make these changes a full year before meeting with solar installation contractors. Making these changes early will ensure that the full effects of energy-reducing changes can be reflected in their utility bills, which in turn will give their solar panel installation contractor a tool that can help them gauge the best system for the home.


Does the Home Have the Potential for Solar?

Not all homes are a good fit for solar power. While it’s true that this type of power can be used in nearly all regions of the country, if the property is located in the woods or surrounded by trees, then the constant shade may reduce the effectiveness of the solar system just enough that the cost is not worth the price.


Age and Condition of Roof

Roofing materials have a service life. Therefore, if a roof is old enough that it should be replaced soon, a solar panel installation contractor may suggest replacing the roof before installing solar panels. Additionally, the panels will need to be moved for repairs and re-roofing projects, which can increase the cost.


HOA Restrictions

Homeowner associations and historic preservation societies often place restrictions on alterations to properties that may affect the appearance of the home. Those unfamiliar with their local HOA’s restrictions on solar should read their contract or agreement before meeting with installation contractors.


Nearby Structures and Landscape Features that Shade the Roof

Landscaping features and large structures or objects that block the path of the sun can prevent solar panels from being effective. For large properties with areas of intense sunlight set away from the house, people may also install panels on the ground.


What Are the Options for Using Solar?

Solar is not a one-size-fits-all fixture. Community and shared solar, solar leases, power purchase agreements, and solarize programs are all options for homeowners and businesses to consider.


Solar Lease

Leasing is one of the most common alternatives to purchasing a solar energy system. A solar lease is an agreement that exists between a solar contractor and a property owner. The contractor owns and maintains the solar system, and the property owner pays the contractor for the use of the system.

Solar leases are not a way to save money on energy, because the lease incurs a monthly cost, just like a utility bill. However, homeowners who are only interested in clean energy and who are not so interested in energy savings often turn to solar leases. Some homeowners prefer the lease rather than an outright purchase because system maintenance is included in the cost of most leases.

Leasing can complicate the home selling process because the home buyer must want the lease and be approved to take over the lease. Some home buyers would not be interested in leasing a solar system, while other home buyers may not be approved.


Power Purchase Agreement

A power purchase agreement (PPA) is an arrangement wherein a solar company installs an array on a property at no cost to the homeowner, and the homeowner purchases power from the array for less than the going rate for electricity from the power grid. The contractor maintains ownership of the solar array and performs all maintenance of the system.

While this type of arrangement is similar to leasing, it is not the same. For example, in a solar leasing situation, the property owner pays a fixed rate to rent the array from the solar leasing company. In a PPA, the property owner pays for energy itself, which can fluctuate based on the property owner’s lifestyle, technology needs, number of people in the household, and so on.


Shared/Community Solar

A shared solar array is a single array that serves several homes or buildings. Shared solar is often considered for homeowners and property owners who want solar, but who are unable to install it on their home.

Sometimes, people turn to shared/community solar because purchasing a single system is unaffordable. Often, property owners turn to shared/community solar because they do not have an appropriate rooftop for an array. Shared or community solar may be a purchased or leased system; agreements are flexible based on the needs of the property owners.



Solarize programs are sometimes confused with shared and community solar, but there are significant differences. Whereas a community solar program consists of multiple property owners sharing one system, solarize programs allow homeowners or property owners in a community to enter into an agreement with one company to install solar panels on their rooftops, and as a result, get a bulk rate.

Solarize programs usually kick off with a campaign from the solar company. During the campaign, the company educates homeowners in the community about the benefits of solar power and how a solarize system can help them. At the end of the campaign, homeowners who are signed up get their solar array. The more homeowners who participate in the program, the deeper the discount.


Which Bids and Site Assessments Are Available from Solar Installers?

In recent years, solar contractors have become far more common, which can make selecting a proper contractor difficult. The North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners certifies contractors. This certification gives property owners a way to measure the qualifications of the contractor they’d like to hire.

The NABCEP has established a code of ethics and standard of conduct to ensure that solar contractors engage in ethical and professional practices. Homeowners who hire contractors certified by the NABCEP can report violations and complaints to the board, which in turn can investigate claims and take disciplinary action if needed. The NABCEP has a search function on its website to enable homeowners to find board-certified contractors. Homeowners reviewing bids from contractors should be aware that all agreements with solar contractors are required to state the maximum generating capacity of the system being installed.


Are There Any Financial Incentives Available?

Small solar energy systems are eligible for a varying federal tax credit through December 31, 2021, but leases and power-purchase agreements are excluded. Other financial incentives vary by state.

To find out what the solar incentives are in each state, people may contact their state’s department or agency of energy, or look up their incentives online. While some sources may publish a national compilation of incentives state by state, the best way to get the most accurate information is to contact a state’s energy authority.


How Will People Work With Their Solar Panel Installer?

The installer will determine how many panels are required, where the panels should be installed, how the system should be oriented, what the tilt should be, how efficiently the system will convert energy, and what other electricity sources should remain available to power the home.

It is the homeowner’s or business owner’s job to review the contract, ensure the contractor is properly licensed and certified, and confirm that the cost of the system will fit their budget. It is also the homeowner’s or business owner’s job to produce all the information the contractor needs to verify that the solar array being installed will be adequate for the home’s needs.


Solar Panel Cleaning and Maintenance


Taking Proper Care of Solar Panels


Once the installation process is complete, it’s important for people to consider solar panel cleaning and maintenance. Cleaning a solar array may only be necessary in areas with heavy particulates in the air, and rain can sometimes be enough to naturally and safely do the work. People leasing a solar system should read their agreement with their contractor to find out whether their contractor will handle the maintenance.


How to Clean Solar Panels DIY

People who want to clean their own panels should only do so if it can be done safely. There are many contractors who will clean panels for a reasonable cost, and it is safer to hire someone who has experience and the proper safety equipment.

Before cleaning their panels, people should read the warranty or instructions that came with the panels to determine whether the panels require any special equipment or cleaning product. Next, people should consider sending a few pictures of the solar array to the contractor who installed them to determine whether a cleaning is even necessary. Most panels don’t need to be cleaned very often.

Those who decide to go forward with the cleaning process should not scratch or damage the glass in any way, as this will reduce the panel’s energy production. Unless otherwise directed by the instructions from the solar panel manufacturer, dish soap, warm water, and a soft sponge should be used to clean dirt from the panels. Isopropyl alcohol can help with any oils or sticky debris.


Solar Panel Cleaning Service

Cleaning services that specialize in solar array cleaning are equipped with the safety equipment and skills to clean and maintain rooftop units. Sometimes, installers can do this for an extra fee; if they cannot, people can contact one of these specialized companies to clean their array for them.


Consider If the Lease Includes Maintenance

Maintenance and cleaning may be an add-on option for leased solar panels. Some companies even include this service, while others only cover damages to the array.


Determine How Often the Solar Array Needs Cleaning

Solar panels don’t need to be cleaned as often as one might think. A contractor can inform someone how often their panels should be cleaned.

Solar panels should not be cleaned because some standard dirt or grit has accumulated there. They should only be cleaned under extraordinary circumstances (the panels have become exceptionally dirty for whatever reason), and the contractor believes cleaning is necessary to maintain functioning.


Maintenance Over Cleanliness

Solar panels have few moving parts, so most systems need little maintenance over the course of many decades. Unless the panels are installed incorrectly, they’re unlikely to need much repair. Sometimes, arrays can be damaged by hail, falling trees, and other debris carried on strong winds. Unless the system is hit by a fast-moving, devastating storm, it may be difficult to tell when something is damaged or broken. Electricity bills should be monitored, because the most obvious indication of a problem may be a sudden failure to produce energy.

The good news is that most of the time, solar arrays are often covered under good warranties. In fact, this is something else to look for when shopping for a solar array: a good warranty. Many warranties will cover the first 10 to 25 years, including the one part that’s most likely to break: the inverter. If something does go wrong, people should contact their installer as soon as possible to get more information about how to proceed.


Is Solar Worth the Investment?

With a positive impact on the environment, a good return on investment when it comes time to sell a home, and savings on energy bills throughout the year, solar offers many rewards to property owners who invest in them. However, solar doesn’t always make sense for everyone.

Once someone understands how solar works, what it takes to get a system installed in their home, and what the payment options are, they’ll be able to decide for themselves whether solar is a good option. They should take time to explore the benefits and the challenges of solar, and of course, find the right contractor for the job. Working with a reputable and knowledgeable professional can help make the experience of installing solar in a home or business worthwhile.

If you are a landowner, you may be interested in making money from a commercial solar farm. Learn how you can view your property’s solar worth for free here or read more about how solar farms can be a lucrative economic opportunity for landowners.


Article originally published at


Curling Shingles – A Key Sign of Roof Aging

Asphalt based shingles have four layers. During the aging process the two asphalt layers begin to contract around the base mat layer. The base mat layer is commonly a fiberglass layer and will not shrink. As the asphalt layers contract they will pull on the mat layer causing it to pull away from the layer of shingle underneath giving the edge a curl look.


Typical curling looks like this with shingle roofs:




It is rare to find curling in shingles younger than 12 years of age on a roof. If it does exist for young shingles, you may have a more serious problem than just the shingle. Curling in young shingles is commonly sourced from improper ventilation in the attic. Other causes include improper installation, poorly made shingle or even the wrong shingle type on your roof.


Curling with shingles older than 12 years of age is not uncommon, but it is a sign the shingle is in its second half of life. During the 2nd half of life, shingles deteriorate at an accelerating rate. Thus, it is a good idea to have your roof inspected by a certified inspector. Inspectors determine the remaining life of the roof membrane, identify potential or existing issues and provide guidance to the property owner of the next best set of steps to maintain roof integrity.


The National Roof Certification and Inspection Association trains and certifies roof inspectors across the country. If you wish to be placed in contact with a Certified Inspector, fill out this NRCIA Contact Form and a qualified inspector will reach out to you. 


Guide to Choosing a Professional Roofing Contractor

Having your roof repaired or replaced is a daunting endeavor. There will be four to six workers on your roof making noise and exposing your property to potential water intrusion if not conducted properly. The financial exposure is significant given the potential losses, and this is with homeowner’s insurance.

So how do you select a professional roofing contractor to minimize this risk and ensure that your roof project is executed in the best possible manner?

There are six key elements in selecting a professional roofing contractor.


Legal Name and Address

This is important for several reasons, primarily you need to know what is the legal name and address of the roofer that is responsible for your roof. This is required to validate their license and credentials. Furthermore, having the correct legal name provides the foundation of the financial exchanges between the parties. In addition, you need this information as it should match the third-party sources when you investigate this contractor’s legitimacy.

There are several indicators that the name is legitimate including letterhead, marketing materials, office location, and the next most important key element: insurance.



Every professional roofing contractor will provide insurance documentation with their proposal. A standard Accord certificate of insurance is customarily presented without you having to ask. If you have to ask for the insurance certificate after receiving the proposal, you may want to exclude this contractor from the selection pool.

The two minimum insurance policies required include general liability and worker’s compensation insurance. Without either, the homeowner is liable for the respective claims associated with the property address if they arise.


License and Credentials

Most states in the US require roofing contractors to carry or obtain a license to perform construction work. In some states, it is a simple contractor’s license. A good ratio of states mandates the roofing contractor carry a specialty license to perform roofing work. Your roofing contractor should carry a license.

They should have TWO licenses. The first relates to construction, i.e. a contractor’s or roofer’s license as explained above. The second required license is a business license. For most states, it is referred to as a franchise license issued by the state’s Secretary of State; some states mandate this at the local level where a Commissioner of the Revenue issues business licenses. The key here is that your roofing contractor should provide copies of both licenses. The business license should match the legal name as explained above. Contractor licenses and specialty licenses are often issued to individuals and the state’s contractors license board will have a database to associate the individual with a company. 

Credentials go above and beyond licenses and demonstrate a higher level of professionalism with the company. Credentials include:

  * Certifications – such as those advocated by the NRCIA,
  * Safety Cards – OASHA 10 Hour Training and Fall Protection, 
  * Manufacturer’s Approval – required to issue manufacturer’s warranty for the materials,
  * Formal Degrees – engineering, construction 4-year institution or trade programs
  * Memberships – including membership in the National Roof Certification and Inspection Association 



A fourth key element is referrals from prior customers. Many roofing contractors provide testimonials on their website and the better organizations will include an e-mail address from that customer. Thus, you have an opportunity to ask questions and get an idea of the level of conduct and outcomes related to past projects.



It is common to receive two warranties when a roofing project is completed. The first comes from the manufacturer of the roof materials. Their warranty often extends to five years and on a limited basis beyond that period. The second warranty is for workmanship. This is the roofing contractor’s assurance that the labor cost associated with any callback is completely free. The best professionals include two communication contacts after the installation. The first is done 30 days after the install to verify no leaks. Customarily, the roofing contractor calls you and asks that you walk inside of the home looking for water stains or other indications of possible leaks. The second contact is physical and occurs after one year whereby the roofer stops at your home and walks around your property to inspect and look for any obvious issues that may have arisen during the prior twelve months.

The workmanship warranty customarily extends out for two years and with higher quality materials, five years. There are exceptions to workmanship which include storms, hail, or tornados. In this case, they are defined as winds over 80MPH or hail storms causing a certain size of the hailstone. But in general, the workmanship warranty covers all other incidents or issues on your roof.


Resolution Process

Finally, you want to know the process to resolve any issues that arise. The better roofing contractors want you to contact them and give them access to the roof so they may investigate and determine the source of the issue you identify. Many minor items can be addressed right then and thereby the inspector. For more significant issues, the contractor will want to have the opportunity to correct the defect in a period such as within seven days. 

For egregious issues or differences, many contracts between the homeowner and the roofing contractor allow for an independent assessment of the issue paid by the contractor. Often the third party opinion is the position taken by the roofing contractor. The more professional roofing contractors will absorb the associated cost of repairs or cures if the third-party investigator determines culpability on the contractor. However, if the third-party investigator determines it is an act of God or homeowner neglect, the contractor will extend a proposal to make repairs. 

In this case, many homeowners feel slighted or disagree with the results; thus, they feel the roofing contractor is still at fault. In this case, many roofing contractors will allow the homeowner to engage their inspector and get a determination from that third party. The key here is that the second outside inspector is paid by the homeowner and not the roofing professional. Depending on the results, determines the follow-up steps.

Overall, a professional roofing contractor stipulates these steps of action in the contract forcing both parties to behave in a preset fashion.



There are six key elements required before engaging a roofing contractor to perform services on your home. They include an understanding of the legal name and address of the company; presentation of insurance certificates and licenses. Furthermore, professional roofing contractors will extend a warranty, provide referrals and stipulate the process to address problems once the project is completed.

If you want to hire a professional roofing contractor, then consider an NRCIA approved professional or authorized contractor. If you need your home inspected, use one of our certified inspectors or forensic inspector.


Contact us here: NRCIA Contact Form.


Difference Between an Estimate and a Proposal

Many roofing contractors offer a ‘Free’ estimate for services to your roof. From the homeowner’s perspective, this is a price to perform the services they explain. However, estimates are just that; in accordance with Webster’s Dictionary, estimates are “an approximate calculation or judgment of the value, number, quantity, or extent of something”.

In general, you want an accurate assessment of what it will cost to perform the services and supply the materials to do the work on your roof. What you really want is called a ‘Proposal’.

There are two distinctly different methods to present the cost to perform roof repairs and replacements. One is an estimate, the other is a proposal. The following will succinctly explain the differences between the two.


Estimates are a verbal communication of value to the homeowner. In addition, estimates have restrictions and include:

1) Nonbinding, in effect, no offer is rendered with the verbal conveyance of value; AND

2) The value is typically plus or minus 20% of the final price.

The key is that estimates can be delivered over the phone to the homeowner. Many professional roofing contractors simply look at Google Earth and confirm your home’s attributes (number of buildings, height, surface area and logistics) and can easily identify the number of squares of work involved. The best roofing professionals use other software tools such as EagleView to quantify requirements. From here, they can easily and quickly estimate how much to charge. Again, it is verbal, nonbinding and generally within 20% of the final actual dollar amount.

If you want the exact amount, then you need a proposal.


Unlike estimates, proposals are written and require a physical visit to your property by an estimator. During the visit, the roofing professional will want to know your concerns and perform a physical evaluation of your roof. Modern day roofing contractors can prepare the estimate right there on the spot depending on responses to several questions they pose. Many use software to prepare a written offer to perform services.

Take note of the distinct differences with an estimate. Proposals are written and they are accurate. In effect, a proposal qualifies as the first step in creating a contract between two parties. Since most states require a written document between parties when dealing with real estate, a proposal qualifies for two of the required four elements of a contract. This doesn’t mean you are obligated, it simply means the roofer has initiated two of the elements.

By the way, the four required elements of a contract are:

      • Offer – what the written proposal states;
      • Consideration – the price of the proposal;
      • Acceptance – the homeowner must agree to the proposal and price;
      • Performance – either party must either do the work or pay a deposit.

The National Roof Certification and Inspection Association pushes for integrity, not only with the roof but from its members. The NRCIA advocates that its members prepare proposals as a pre-requirement to creation of a contract. In addition, the NRCIA stresses to its members the value of providing options to homeowners, primarily a minimum of three different price levels depending on materials, warranties and substitutions.

In summary, there differences between an estimate and a proposal. Estimates are VERBAL, NONBINDING and an APPROXIMATION of the price to perform roof repairs or replacements. Whereas proposals are WRITTEN, ACCURATE and FORMAL OFFERS to the homeowner to render services.

If you desire to engage a roofing professional to perform work at your home, consider using an NRCIA member. Simply click here and fill out the contact form, an NRCIA member will contact you within 24 hours: NRCIA Contact

Roof Pitches – A Basic Understanding of Impact With Proposals

Your roof pitch plays a critical role in determining the cost to replace your roof. As the pitch increases, the volume of materials needed increases at an increasing rate. In effect, the cost of the roof goes higher at incrementally increasing rates.

Look at this basic illustration of a roof pitch.

As the pitch increases, more surface area is required to meet the rise of the roof. Look at the angles of various roof pitches here to grasp the change.

The change in the roof pitch adds two additional costs. First are materials. At a 5/12th’s pitch, material requirements to satisfy the rise change are 9% greater than on a flat surface, a 1/1 pitch. At 9/12th’s pitch, it takes 25% more material to cover the additional rise.

The second cost that is directly tied to the roof pitch is labor. A 5/12th’s pitch or lower is considered ‘Walkable’ which means the labor crew does not have to implement additional safety requirements. Once the pitch reaches 6/12th’s (1/2); the crews are required to exercise additional safety protection, specifically fall protection. This additional requirement significantly increases the amount of time to do the work. In effect, on a 7/12th’s pitch, the additional safety standard adds about 20% more time to the labor. At 9/12th’s pitch, compliance requires more than 50% additional time to properly comply with safety and the additional work associated with the extra materials.

So why do roofs have different pitches?

In general, a roof needs at least a 3/12th’s pitch to get rain moving as runoff at a fast enough pace so as not to pool on the roof deck. Depending on where you are located in the country, determines the more common roof pitch for your home. In the Southeast, 5/12th’s is quite common. But up North, higher roof pitches are required in order to reduce and/or prevent snow accumulation which is additional weight for the roof structure. 

Thus, your roof pitch greatly impacts the proposal prices presented to you. The additional cost of materials and labor, especially at the higher pitches, can make your roof replacement much more expensive per square foot than your neighbor’s lower pitched roof.

If you desire a quality proposal from a professional roofer, use an NRCIA member. Contact a professional roofer by filling out this contact form: NRCIA Member Contact for a Proposal

Certificate of Insurance – What to Look For as a Homeowner

No other step is so important as the roofing contractor providing insurance when it comes time to perform work on your home. Your failure to ensure that coverage exists exposes you to the possibility of a lawsuit. Think about this for a moment. You have workers on the roof of your home and one of them falls and requires medical care. Who pays for that accident?

If your contractor isn’t carrying insurance at the time of the accident, the cost falls on you. Many home policies only cover $5,000 of medical care for accidents around the house. Do you really believe that the costs for medical care for somebody falling off your home is going to be less than $5,000?

How do you know if your roofing contractor has coverage? What do you look for to verify coverage?

The primary document every contractor should put forth without being asked is a Certificate of Insurance (commonly referred to as a COI). It looks like this:

This is a nationally recognized form called the ‘Accord’ presentation format. Here are the four critical parts to review:

Block 2 – The name of the insurance broker managing the contractor’s insurance. The agent is in Block 9.

Block 3 – The name of the roofing contractor. This should match the name of the contractor you want to engage and to whom you will make payment for services.

Block 5 – This reflects the actual coverage. As a homeowner, you want two critical pieces of insurance. One is general liability coverage, which is always marked with an ‘A’, is typically the first insurance presented. At the bottom of the page (commonly marked with a ‘C’) is Worker’s Compensation Insurance which covers injuries sustained when a worker falls off the roof or steps on a nail etc. 

Check that the policies are in force during the time the work will get done on your property; there are two columns reflecting effective date and date of termination. DO NOT LET YOUR ROOFING CONTRACTOR RENDER SERVICES IF THE INSURANCE HAS LAPSED!

All legitimate professionals will have insurance in place and the date range is always within the time frame of services. If the work is nearing the limits of the date range, professional contractors provide both the current Certificate of Insurance and the future coverage form which is typically provided about two weeks prior to lapsing of coverage. 

Many contractors include the auto policy coverage, property coverage (their equipment and tools) along with specialty coverage such as an umbrella policy or errors and omissions policy. 

Policy Limits – In block 5, at the far right-hand side are limits of coverage. Each state is different in what is required as a minimum level of coverage. And yes, many contractors try to keep costs low by selecting the bare minimum required level of coverage. As for general liability, their level of coverage should cover the cost to replace your home in case they cause a fire or water damage wrecks havoc on your home and belongings. Most contractors will have no less than $1,000,000 as coverage.

With worker’s compensation insurance, coverage should never be less than $500,000; but the best roofing contractors include $1,000,000 as the coverage per incident. Again, imagine a critical accident whereby one guy is falling and he grabs his fellow worker for stability and the two of them end up on the ground injured.

The National Roof Certification and Inspection Association advocates for policy limits of $1,000,000 for both general liability and worker’s compensation. If you want to get in contact with a member that serves your area, fill out the contact form here: Contact an NRCIA Roof Professional


What to Expect at the First Meeting With Your Roofing Contractor

As a homeowner, you are concerned about the integrity of your roof. Is it leaking? Will it start leaking soon? Many questions exist and you need someone to provide answers. Well, a professional roofing contractor will provide answers. The better trained professional roofers listen to your concerns, evaluate the situation and then if necessary provide a proposal to you to resolve the problem.

The following sections describe and illustrate what you should expect during that first meeting with your roofing contractor.

Listens to Your Concerns

After arranging a time to meet at your home, a professional roofing contractor will text you ahead of time to alert you that he is on his/her way to your home. Upon arrival, customary pleasantries are exchanged and the roofing contractor should ask three critical questions.

    1. What is it about your roof that concerns you?
    2. When was the last time any form of roof repair or replacement occurred?
    3. How can I help?

A professional will listen and after your response to the help question, they will guide you towards the appropriate answer. This process includes describing the current type of roof on the structure then the various types of options customarily found in your area for a roof. If they are well-prepared, he/she should provide brochures that explain these types of roofs and their corresponding benefits and drawbacks.

Once done explaining and illustrating the types of roofs commonly used for your area and structure; the roofing professional will move on and ask permission to evaluate the roof.

Evaluates Your Roof

 This step typically takes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to conduct. Many roofers will actually get up on the roof to walk it and get a closer look at the existing condition of the materials. They’ll investigate by inspecting flashing, collars, drip edge and valleys. They will take measurements and review your current air flow system for the attic.

Most of this work is done on the outside; sometimes though, they may request access to your attic. This is to discover leaks but more importantly look at the roof structure and the underside of the roof deck (the planking materials used to support walking on the roof).

Once done, they will report back to you to explain and discuss with you the current condition of your roof. In many cases, you may only need minor repairs; commonly due to maintenance failures. Many homeowners are unaware that roofs do require regular maintenance; at least every five years the roof should be inspected and critical points are either recaulked or replaced (such as pipe boots).

From here, a roofing professional will ask if it is OK to provide a proposal for services.

Submits a Proposal

The better roof professionals currently use customer management software and they have access right there at your home to load the information into their software. If you respond that you are interested in receiving a proposal, many roofing contractors can prepare this for you on the spot. It takes about 30 to 45 minutes to load the measurements and roofing layout and then generate a proper proposal. Often, they will e-mail it to you and complete meeting by explaining and answering any questions or concerns you may have. In some situations, the roofing professional will have to get answers prior to issuing a proposal to you. But they often will explain to you why and get a proposal to you within one business day. It is rare for it to take longer.

With this proposal, a professional roofer will include copies of their business license, insurance compliance, contractor’s license and a copy of the contract. When they submit the proposal to you, they will schedule a phone meeting to answer your questions and explain the next step in the process. 

As with any roof, this is an exterior function and as such, weather plays a big part related to scheduling and completion. The roofer will cover this too during the proposal submittal.


The key here is that this is all about integrity. The integrity of your roof and that of the roofing professional. Roofing professionals should listen to your concerns, ask appropriate questions and identify solutions to your problem. Before submitting a proposal, a roofing professional investigates and evaluates your roof. This allows them to have accurate information to load into software to prepare a proposal. The best roofing professionals provide three pricing options: good, better and best.

If you are need of a professional roofer, please fill out the contact form at this link and a roofing professional will contact you soon to arrange the first meeting. Contact an NRCIA Roof Professional