Note: This guest post is by Steven Thomas. As CEO and owner of Roof Leak Detection Company, Inc., Steven Thomas has evaluated over 20,000 roof systems on commercial, industrial and residential properties and has qualified in court as an expert in roof testing and evaluations. His company is an approved test laboratory and has had this certification since 1994.
Recently, I have seen a trend after severe weather events, whether the damage is due to hail, wind or extreme amounts of rain (which will occur in Texas and Louisiana this week), where contractors apply shrink film to the roof, apparently to stop water from entering the building.
When you have a leaking roof, it is expensive to repair. The shrink film can certainly provide temporary relief from the immediate problem of water entering the structure. But every new idea also has its problems!
Before allowing someone to shrink your roof, I have some suggestions:
- Make sure you take lots of photographs of any damage that may occur. These photographs are important to justify the installation of the shrink film. If you expect your insurance company to pay the cost of the shrinkage cover, it's fair to show them why it was needed.
- If a Texas contractor guarantees that the insurance company pays for the shrink film, they can break Texas insurance laws. Also ask to look at the photographs of injuries. If the contractor does not provide you with any photographs that clearly illustrate the suspected damage, they are more likely to shrink your roof for no good reason. You can be out thousands of dollars for something you did not need.
- With a historic rain event, such as the one in Texas and Louisiana this week, water can find many ways to enter a structure. Many times it is not from a failed roof system but rather from a mechanical component on the roof such as an AC unit, grease trap or ventilation pipe. These components may be the reason why water entered the building. I have been conducting roof moisture surveys (leak detection) for 28 years, and many of the leaks I think are not from the roof system at all but rather some mechanical component on the roof. It is always recommended that someone evaluates your roof who has nothing to gain from what they find!
- Make sure the contractor you choose to install the shrink film is someone who has a long experience of working in your area. After a storm event, you will inevitably have a plethora of storm hunters in your area offering their services. Many of these companies are exchanging the desperation of consumers in need. As ridiculous as this sounds, Texas has no licensing requirements for roofing contractors, so you can not just file a complaint against their license. As we have seen through news coverage, catastrophic events can bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, it can also bring out the worst in unscrupulous people. The older saying, "if it seems too good to be true, it probably is," still rings true today.