6 Signs You Need a New Roof

Signs You Need a New Roof

You live under it and its vital to the structural integrity of your home, but you probably don’t give a whole lot of thought to your roof—at least not until it springs the proverbial leak.

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5 Tips to Help Prepare Your Home For A Hurricane

What is your preparation plan should a hurricane strike?

Admit it.

Most of us are procrastinators when it comes to storms.

Believe it or not…the level of preparation before a hurricane can determine how well you overcome the storm, and how quickly you recover from it.

You should start preparing your home NOW, long before a storm is in the forecast.

In the event of a hurricane…you can never be too prepared.

That’s why protecting your loved ones and your property from extreme weather such as hurricanes should be your top priority.

Let’s go over some helpful tips on what you can do to prepare your home for a hurricane.

But first, I want to go over the difference between a “hurricane watch” and a “hurricane warning”.

You may often hear these terms in your local forecast.

Understanding the difference between them… is essential to helping you prepare for a hurricane.

As soon as a hurricane watch or warning is forecast for your area — it is important—  depending on the type of alert, to immediately begin or complete your preparations.

Hurricane Watch

A “watch” means hurricane conditions are possible within 48 hours. You should begin to stock up on emergency supplies in the event a warning should be issued. If you live in a coastal area, you should also be prepared to evacuate.

Hurricane Warning

A “warning” is more serious. Hurricane-force winds (74 mph or higher) are expected to hit your area within 36 hours. You should seek shelter or evacuate, if notified to do so.

5 Tips to Help Prepare Your Home for a Hurricane

1. Avoid Water Damage

Heavy rains have the potential to cause significant water damage. These tips can help you prepare your home.

  • Close and lock all windows and doors and remove any window air conditioner units
  • Remove valuable items from your basement or elevate them off of the floor
  • Clear debris from exterior drains and gutters
  • Repair damaged gutters and downspouts to make sure water can drain away from your foundation
  • Check your sump pump and the battery backup to confirm they are working properly

2. Monitor Your Trees

Trees can be a hazard in a powerful windstorm. Broken limbs, fallen trees, even uprooted shrubbery could damage your home and fences, or your neighbor’s property. Routinely maintain the trees around your home:

  • Prune tree limbs within 10 feet of your home
  • Check for cracking or splitting in trees
  • Remove dead limbs and weakened trees

3. Roofs, Doors, Windows and Skylights

It is important to keep wall openings, such as doors, windows and skylights protected.

The roof, doors, and windows of your house are especially vulnerable to wind damage. When houses are exposed to hurricane-force winds, the rooftops are most susceptible to damage, including the skylights, followed by walls and other openings.

Strengthen doors and windows:

  • Install reinforcing bolt kits at the tops and bottoms of doors
  • Reinforce garage doors (braces can be found at your local Lowe’s or Home Depot, and can also be purchased online.)
  • Install storm shutters, plywood, or OSB over the windows
  • Cover your window glass with hurricane film. Hurricane film is an affordable transparent plastic that you can leave in place year-round.
  • Keep your windows closed during a Storm
  • Do Not put duct tape over your windows

Get Your Roof Inspected for FREE

Request a FREE roof inspection, and protect your family and your home investment this hurricane season.

4. Secure Outdoor Items

Because Florida is in an area that experiences high winds, outdoor items around your property that are not properly anchored can become airborne and cause damage.

  • If high winds are expected in your area, move as many outdoor items inside your home or garage before the high winds arrive.
  • Do not store propane tanks in your home or garage
  • Adequately secure any remaining outdoor items that cannot be safely moved to other protected areas.
  • Disassemble, and store any large lightweight objects such as trampolines, carports, shade canopies, umbrellas etc.

5. Strengthen Your Exterior Structure

During a windstorm, forces can be carried from the roof down to the exterior walls…

…and then to the foundation.

If proper controls are not in place, homes can be damaged when the wind and wind-driven rain gets forced through, and under building’s exterior walls.

Strengthen exteriors by employing a contractor to:

  • Install hurricane straps to reinforce roof-to-wall and wall-to-foundation connections
  • Retrofit soffits to help ensure they remain in place in high winds
  • Properly brace roof trusses

If after visually inspecting your roof, you suspect roof damage is the case…

…DON’T WAIT!

The sooner it is taken care of, the less the damage will spread, and the fewer expenses the homeowner will encounter.

A.J Wells Roofing & Construction offers FREE inspections and FREE estimates!

Better to be safe than sorry, and it’s always better to prepare sooner than later. 

From hundred-year-old homes downtown to sheds, single-family homes, and mansions far and wide… There is nothing that we haven’t seen! Here when you need us!

11 Ways on How to Protect Your Property from Wind, Flood, and Storm Surge

The City of Jacksonville is always looking for ways to protect our community.

One of the biggest ways is through a Local Mitigation Strategy (LMS). 

Mitigation (according to FEMA) is defined as…

“The effort to reduce loss of life and property by lessening the impact of disaster and other hazards.

For mitigation to be effective, you need to take action now—before the next disaster.

The National Institute of Building Sciences (NIBS) determined in a 2018 Interim Report that every $1 invested in protecting your home can save up to $6 in damage expenses.

Wind, flood, and storm surge are the 3 biggest hazards that are common to Florida. Below are some mitigation projects that you might need to address before the storm. 

How to Protect Your Home From Wind Damage

  • 1. Consider installing storm shutters for all large windows and glass doors
  • 2. Consider a new roof with hurricane-rated shingles, or standing seam rated metal
  • 3. Make sure roof is fastened to the structure with hurricane straps or clips
  • 4. Install head and foot bolts on double entry doorways
  • 5. Use a security deadbolt with one-inch minimum bolt on all exterior doors
  • 6. Consider hurricane-resistant doors, or reinforce existing doors with brace kits (available at most hardware stores)

Want 8 More Ways on How to Protect Your Home before a Hurricane?

Download this FREE guide on how to prepare yourself and your family before a hurricane strikes

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How to Protect Your Home From Flood & Storm Surge

  • 7. Keep gutters and drains free of debris
  • 8. Stockpile emergency protective materials such as sandbags
  • 9. Elevate water heater, electric panel, and heating/cooling systems if susceptible to flooding
  • 10. Dry Floodproofing, which means making a building watertight through the use of waterproof membranes, backflow valves, and other measures
  • 11. Wet Floodproofing, which means modifying uninhabited portions of your home to allow floodwaters to enter and exit

Plan ahead and don’t be caught unaware.

Know the hazards, make a disaster plan with your family, and assemble an emergency supply kit. Take time now to learn more about designated shelters and identify your best sources for up-to-date emergency information.

8 Tips for Preventing Leaks and Damages to Your Roof

When was the last time you examined your roof?

If you are like most homeowners… unless there’s clear damage, or you see a leak… most aren’t actually aware of the condition of their roof.

If you want to experience the full lifespan of your roof and materials…stay on top of the following 8 maintenance tips!

1.   Avoid Walking on Your Roof

Avoid walking on your roof as much as possible, and use a ladder to clean gutters and leaves.

2. Leave Roof Vents Open

“Roof Turbine Vents”by noraxx is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Allow ventilation even in the winter. In the summer months, good ventilation prevents buildup of damaging heat and moisture.

3. Trim your Trees

Tall trees pose a problem if there’s a windy day or a large storm. To be safe, trim your trees so they don’t rub up against the roof and leave debris behind. The average cost to trim trees and shrubs is $638, with most homeowners spending between $422 and $707. 

4. Clean your Gutters… Often

This is almost a given…

…but you would be surprised how many homeowners don’t do this.

Leaves, twigs, and litter can collect in and around the gutters…

… as well as in valleys, gutters, and downspouts.

Over time, as the debris obtains and holds moisture…your roof can be put at risk of serious underlying damage. 

5. Check for Interior Damage

Check the upper floors of your house…including the attic.

There might be signs of damage including…

  • Water saturated decking and structure components
  • Stained or moldy wood
  • Off colored ceiling spots and moistened Drywall
 

6. Loose Material

Some common areas where seepage can occur are chimneys, vents, counter flashing, Solar panels, satellites, and skylights.

Check to see that there are no cracks or breaks in any of sealant, lead pipe boots, rubber zipper boots, or other components in and around all areas of concern.

7. Moss and Mildew Buildup

Visible dark steaks are a good indicator that algae may be adhering to your roof.

If you see these…wash them off with water and bleach, followed by a low-pressure rinse from your garden hose. High pressure is not recommended, as it will remove the granules from your shingles…resulting in a shorter lifespan of your roof. 

It is much easier to remove mold and mildew in small amounts than after it becomes excessive and built up. 

If you notice moss, mold, fungi, or even plants residing on your roof…it could be a sign of trapped moisture. Enough water collecting in one area, also known as “pooling”…could put the roofs structure in danger of caving in, or a collapse. DO NOT use course material, or stiff brushes to attempt removal of any of the above findings. This can also damage the shingle, or shorten your lifespan. 

If you are unable to view or maintenance your roof or attic, call a local roofer to examine the areas in question. It is important to make sure there are not more underlying issues before more damage is done. 

8. Ponding or Pooling

More commonly found on flat or low sloped roofs, water can accumulate in any unlevel areas.

Ponding might be a sign of serious trouble… and repeated Pooling could lead to more heavily saturated decking, and its underlying components.

It’s important after heavy rains to examine your roof!

Any standing water can be removed with a soft push broom or a leaf blower. When standing water is visible, it is highly recommended to photograph the areas of concern. Call a roofing company ASAP, and schedule for an inspection. If the company is able to come out, and it has not rained when they are available… You will have the photos to show them the areas that you are concerned about.

Conclusion

Roof maintenance doesn’t have to be as frequent as other homeowner responsibilities and tasks, however…

…it is something that’s important for extending the life and quality of your roof.

If after visually inspecting your roof, you suspect roof damage is the case… DON’T WAIT!

The sooner it is taken care of, the less the damage will spread, and the fewer expenses the homeowner will encounter.

A.J Wells Roofing & Construction offers FREE inspections and FREE estimates!

Better be safe than sorry, and better sooner than later. 

From hundred-year-old homes downtown to sheds, single family homes, and mansions far and wide… There is nothing that we haven’t seen! Here when you need us!

How Florida’s New Assignment of Benefits Law will Protect You from Roofing Fraud

Starting on July 1st, 2019 the new Assignment of Benefits law will take effect, and more than likely it will affect you. 

If you don’t know what an Assignment of Benefits is…

…or how it can benefit you… it’s ok, your not alone. 

Read on to see what I mean. 

Play Video

 

What is an Assignment of Benefits?

According to the Florida Division of Consumer Services… 

…an AOB is an agreement that once you sign, transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of the policy to a third party service provider.

This includes:

  • filing a claim
  • making repair decisions
  • collecting insurance payments

… all without the involvement of  you the homeowner.

The practice of AOBs has been a mainstay in the state of Florida for more than 100 years. The AOB was initially used for claims related to life and health insurance…

…but because of the frequency occurring with storm damage, it is now more popular with homeowner policies as well.

This process works for you the homeowner when navigating the claims process… as well as the contractors and restoration companies when it isn’t misused.

On the other hand…

…many service providers have taken advantage of policyholders, which resulted in:

  • property liens
  • lawsuits
  • and insurance fraud

…none of which placed any financial responsibility on the service providers.

Let me explain.

 

How an AOB Works

So how does an Assignment of Benefits work anyway?

Well, let me give you an example…

Suppose your home in Northeast Florida gets hit with a typical afternoon thunderstorm. Maybe worst case, a thunderstorm turns into a severe tropical storm. You never know what is going to happen in Florida with our weather! When this severe storm passes over your home, the high winds and rain can suddenly cause damages to your roof! Before you know it, water is pouring into your home through your ceiling! The next action is that you panic and call your Insurance company. Now you are faced with which direction you need to take with the new claim you have on your property.

After you call your insurance company, 

You have two choices…

  1. Begin the process of getting repair quotes, and start the process of haggling with the insurance company. Plan on spending a lot of your time meeting with contractors, checking reviews, availability, credentials, and so on.           or…
  2. Contact a reputable restoration company and sign an AOB.

As long as you choose a reputable company… you will come out having all of the repairs completed, without being involved in the process at all. Most of the time, your only responsibility should be your Deductible; resulting in having your home fully repaired back to pre-loss condition.

But, if misused, it could become a nightmare in many ways… including being held responsible for insurance fraud.

 

Should I Sign an AOB?

It depends…

Are you wanting to replace or repair your roof…

…but your insurance company isn’t giving you enough money to cover it? 

If so… you have the option of signing an AOB.

In this situation, your AOB contractor of choice can utilize their network of insurance professionals, to negotiate with your insurance company, for the full amount owed under your insurance policy.

By choosing a reliable, trustworthy Roofing contractor, or General contractor who deals with these exact details on a routine basis… they can help you get your roofing needs taken care of by your insurance company.

As an added protection to Florida property owners, the new AOB laws require that an AOB contract contains a provision allowing for the assignor to rescind the assignment agreement without a penalty or fee by submitting a written notice of rescission signed by the assignor to the assignee within 14 days after the execution of the agreement, at least 30 days after the date work on the property is scheduled to commence if the assignee has not substantially performed, or at least 30 days after the execution of the agreement if the agreement does not contain a commencement date and the assignee has not begun substantial work on the property. ​

 

Why Insurance Companies Don’t Want You to Sign an AOB

If you find out that insurance companies are short paying you, its because they want to save money.

So, rather than accepting a number that the insurance company gives you… Signing an AOB with a reputable contractor can virtually guarantee that the insurance carrier pays for all the work incurred despite the low-ball values they have placed on the loss/damages.

Remember the insurance companies are not going to look out for your best interest! They are a for-profit business and the less they pay on the claim the better of their bottom line is.

 

Tips When Using an AOB

Before signing an AOB, review your insurance policy to ensure you have clarity on your responsibilities following a loss. 

Use these tips when opting for an AOB:

  • Do not let the insurance company bully you! 
  • Personally contact your insurance company when damage occurs, as soon as possible, then contact a licensed contractor.
  • Maintain control – Refuse to sign any documentation that resembles power of attorney legalese as this may relinquish control
  • Do not let them pursue you to go with their “preferred contractor”

 

Red Flags to Watch out For

An AOB can often work in your favor, saving you a lot of money for repairs and alleviating hassles and headaches. But, there are red flags you should make you wary of signing an AOB. Here are a few items to consider when choosing a contractor:

1. Unprofessional

Do not sign documentation they have if…

  • They are not willing to explain the contract in its entirety.
  • They are dancing around your questions.
  • They are promising you money back to go with them. This is fraud!!
  • They are requesting money up-front to start the job?

Why would you give anyone a deposit or up-front money for services not rendered yet? If they require money up front they probably do not have the financial resources to even start or finish your job/project! You should immediately take them off your list of contractors that you are interviewing! 

This could result in alteration of contracts after you sign.

 

2. Out of state or non-local companies

Many of the fraudulent issues have occurred when Florida residents work with non-local companies. 

These contractors will prey on homeowners following a storm… promising fast repairs and many times submitting claims with inflated pricing. 

 

3. Feeling pressured or rushed to sign

If you’re not given ample time to review documents…

Make sure all your questions are fully answered.

… or if there’s paperwork besides the AOB, this is a sign to run the other way.

You should always feel at ease and of a clear conscience before signing a AOB! 

(Yes I am a contractor who strongly believes this!)

 

4. Never pay upfront

Quality contractors are accustomed to being paid in full upon completion of a job well done. 

Anyone who demands direct payment from you before any work is not a party you should conduct business with. 

When searching for contractors, do your research.

Check reviews, ask friends, and neighbors, etc. 

New or non-local companies having little or no positive feedback should raise a red flag for you. 

 

How the Law Protects You

After many fraudulent claims, Florida’s new bill includes the following provisions that are intended to provide protection for consumers like you…

  • “Assignment agreements” have now been defined. and requirements have been established for the execution, validity, and effect of these agreements
  • Service providers are now required to give the consumer and insurer prior written notice of 10 business days or more, before filing suit on a claim
  • The state’s one-way attorney fee has been revised, incorporating an attorney fee structure to help determine the fee amount awarded by an assignee against an insurer
  • Insurers are now allowed to make a policy available that prohibits assignment under certain conditions
  • Insurers are now required to report specified data on claims that were paid under assignment agreements in the prior year, with the deadline being January 30, 2022 and each year after
  • Certain pre-lawsuit duties will transfer under the insurance contract to the assignee, shifting the burden to the assignee and making them prove that any failure to carry out these duties hasn’t limited the ability of the insurer to carry out the contract
  • Certain fees are now prohibited along with the altering of policy provisions relating to managed repairs for an assignment agreement
A vast majority of the time, a homeowner should only be exposed to a deductible when they have suffered damage to their insured property.
The homeowner is responsible for making the first contact with their insurance company. It is not necessary to sign an AOB to get an insurance claim processed or to get a residence repaired.

Are you in need of roof repair or roof replacement?

A.J. Wells Roofing and Construction provides FREE roof inspections and estimates. Contact us today to schedule an appointment

or call: 904-553-0069

Why Not to Hire a Public Adjuster When It Comes to Your Claim

Filing a homeowner’s insurance claim can be both stressful and confusing, especially when there is heavy damage that needs to be repaired as quickly as possible. This process determines how your home is repaired, and who will cover which portion of the costs to restore your house to its original, undamaged condition. Homeowners rightly want to protect themselves during what can be a frustrating process.

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The Assignment of Benefits (AOB): To Sign or Not to Sign


Roof replacement_sheathingWhat is the contractor asking me to sign?

Reputable contractors and roofing companies will ask you to sign an Assignments of Benefits contract (AOB). The AOB transfers the insurance claims rights or benefits of your insurance policy to the service provider. Signing the AOB allows the service provider to be in direct contact with the insurance company about the claim filed. You may be asking, “Why do they need a contract?” Continue reading