The hail storms that battered Central Texas on March 28 may be a distant memory to some, but they are a lingering problem for homeowners whose roofs were damaged by the hail.
The storms damaged more than 50,000 homes throughout Killeen, Harker Heights, Temple, Belton and other communities, according to A Classic Roofing in Killeen. However, some local experts caution people against rushing to get their roofs repaired.
“Just because your house was hit by hail does not mean you have a leak,” said Bill Webster, owner of A Classic Roofing.
Many homeowners are taking action now, as evidenced by the number of roof company signs dotting neighborhood lawns, as well as workers already on roofs doing repair work.
Webster claims his business volume has “probably tripled or quadrupled” in the past three weeks. Since March 28, Killeen has issued 286 reroofing project permits for an estimated $1.81 million in repairs. Harker Heights issued 153 permits for reroofing projects worth $1.15 million in repairs. Copperas Cove granted 40 reroofing permits for $210,000 in repairs. And Belton accepted 233 permits for roof repairs, but couldn’t provide an estimated cost until the end of the month.
Rick Keagle, who lives in the Country Trails subdivision in Harker Heights, is taking his time getting his roof repaired.
“The local roofers are swamped getting estimates to clients,” he said. “This roof situation, it’s not going to be fixed until May or June and maybe not until next year.”
Keagle works for his wife’s real estate company, which advised clients to have their roofs inspected.
“If you haven’t had your roof looked at yet, call your insurance company and ask your adjuster to come out. It doesn’t cost you anything,” he said.
Lisa West, also a Harker Heights resident who lives in Briarwood, said both her car and roof were severely damaged in the March hail storm. She initially didn’t think anything was wrong with the roof but saw her neighbors getting estimates and decided to do the same. She soon learned her roof sustained about $9,000 in damage.
Webster advises people to wait until hail season is over — generally toward the end of May — to have their roofs replaced, but they should contact their insurance agents for estimates.
The damage caused by the golf-ball sized hail has been extensive for many homeowners because of the composition of the shingles, Webster said.
“The colored granules that you see on the roof … those are not really there just to be pretty,” he said. “[Hail damage is] reducing the life cycle of that shingle.”
Most shingles are composed of fiberglass and asphalt and the granules are used to protect the roof from UV degradation.
Hail can dislodge the granules or push the granules inside the shingle, exposing the underlying asphalt component.
Doug Tracey, an insurance agent with Allstate, agreed with Webster’s advice to homeowners.
“I try to be the voice of common sense,” he said. “Don’t be in a hurry to get your roof replaced. Let storm season pass and be cautious in selecting contractors.”
However, ignoring the damage is a mistake. He suggested homeowners file the claim immediately, since most insurance companies have brought in teams of adjusters from all over the country.
“People don’t see damage, so they see no urgency in filing a claim,” he said. “If you have damage and are paid, educate yourself on your repair options and vendors, then proceed accordingly. Not doing the repairs will result in not getting all you’re entitled to from the insurance company.”
The recent hail storms have been “a good educational process” for many people, Tracey said. He advises his clients to be careful when choosing a roofing company to do their repairs.
“What customers need to be shopping for when it comes to their roofs is confidence in the roofer instead of in the price,” he said.
Webster echoed this advice in a slightly different way, warning homeowners of “unscrupulous roofing people” who have flocked to the local area since the storm hit.
“I’ve been telling all my clients, ‘the sky is not falling,’” he said. “What price do you put on honesty?”
When asked how she chose a roofing company, West said she went with one that is local, has been in the area for more than 20 years and is reputable.