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03/08/2019

NTRCA member Outback Roofing's act of kindness was recently featured on CBS News in Dallas/Fort Worth.
 
Back in 2012, 87-year-old Louise, an elderly widow, was scammed by a roofing company after her roof sustained severe damage from a storm. She paid $2,500 up front to someone promising to fix her roof for very little cost, and then she never saw them again.  Several months later, she told a friend from Meals on Wheels about what had happened and they connected her with Christoper Crutcher of Outback Roofing. He and his team fixed her roof at no cost, then hired an attorney to investigate the company that took Louise's money in hopes of getting the money back.

Well done, Christoper!  This is a shining example of the quality and professionalism of members of the NTRCA.

To read or watch the full story, click here

In Texas, unlike other states, ANYONE from anywhere with no insurance or credentials can be a roofer...and it's much easier for scam artists to take advantage of elderly people like Louise. A BIG thank you to NTRCA member Outback Roofing LLC and Meals On Wheels, Inc. of Tarrant County for coming to the rescue.

CONSUMERS - before you ever sign a contract or hand over a check, please go to www.ntrca.com to check out NTRCA's list of tips and questions to ask of any roofing contractor you may be considering.

03/08/2019

In Texas, there is no such thing as state licensing for roofers, and insurance is not required. Anyone can call themselves a roofing company, and when storms hit in North Texas, out-of-town storm chasers and scam artists descend upon neighborhoods in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.  

How can you protect yourself and ensure that you’re hiring a legitimate, experienced roofer who will be around after the storm season? 

First, ask if the roofing contractor is a member of the NTRCA (North Texas Roofing Contractors Association). Our members must meet stringent criteria.

NTRCA membership requirements include:

  • The company must have a local address in North Texas and must provide us with a utility bill with the company name and address (which is no less than 3 months old) to prove it. 
  • The company must represent and warrant that it holds and maintains general liability insurance for the purpose of roofing activity and will continue to do so during the company's membership with the NTRCA (consumers: please ask for a copy of the roofer's insurance certificate to ensure that a policy has not lapsed or been canceled)
  • The company must be (and remain) in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If listed, it must have a B rating or above.
  • The company must agree that it will not knowingly present a false or fraudulent invoice for the payment of a loss in connection to an insurance claim.

AND

Click here to find a residential NTRCA member.

Click here to find a light commercial or a commercial NTRCA member.

 

03/08/2019

With no licensing, registration or liability insurance required of roofing contractors by the state of Texas, the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association (NTRCA) is committed to informing and educating consumers and continues to spread the word via the media, advertising in the hardest hit areas, social media and reaching out to officials in municipalities. NTRCA requires its members to hold liability insurance, be a North Texas-based entity, abide by the NTRCA code of ethics and meet other criteria.

We are happy to see that more and more cities are putting requirements in place that level the playing field for legitimate, local roofers and help deter fly-by-night roofers. A recent Fort Worth Star-Telegram article highlights several cities and includes an interview with the NTRCA executive director Karen Vermaire Fox - http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/teresa-mcusic/article20025186.html.

In Arlington, Texas, the city now asks for more information before granting a residential work permit, including whether the contractor can provide general-liability insurance and what type of business entity it is. The NTRCA applauds this new change. More information about Arlington permits can be found at: https://ap.arlingtontx.gov/web/permit/.http://www.ntrca.com/advice


Read more here: http://www.star-telegram.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/teresa-mcusic/article20025186.html#storylink=cpy

McKinney, Texas - requires a solicitation permit and also requires a permit for roofing work - http://files.ctctcdn.com/37030628001/506ec72d-91f1-4350-adec-85535a182300.pdf

Stephenville, Texas - recently affected by heavy storms, hail and tornados - the Stephenville Police Department reminds residents and any contractors drumming up work in the area that it requires a solicitation permit.

Learn more about protecting yourself from storm chasers and fly-by-night roofers at www.ntrca.com/advice.


Read 
03/08/2019

In Texas, ANYONE from anywhere with no credentials or liability insurance can be a roofer. Nail technicians and hair stylists must be licensed in the state of Texas…but no such process or requirements exist for roofers (despite the best efforts of NTRCA and other associations who have pushed and lobbied for years for this kind of legislation to pass in Texas).

Texas makes it easy and LUCRATIVE for out-of-town companies, scam artists and workers from other professions to work on roofs after storms hit. Hail storms cause significant – and costly – damage in Texas each year. In 2011, for example, Texas had more severe hail events than any state in the country, causing $1.7 billion in insured losses statewide (according to the Texas Department of Insurance).

It’s “buyer beware” in Texas, and most consumers don’t realize it.

NTRCA highly recommends that, in addition to doing ample research and asking suggested questions, North Texas consumers choose a locally-based roofing contractor for any roofing work they need done.

Not all out-of-town or out-of-state roofers are unskilled or unscrupulous. But without offices here in North Texas….where will they be when your warranty needs serviced, you have a question or your roof springs a leak in the next storm?

Using a local, established, experienced and reputable roofing contractor not only means better workmanship on your roof (which protects your family and your entire home and its possessions), but it also means that when and if you need your roofer again…you’ll be able to find them!

How can you ensure that a roofer is local?

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  1. Visit the company’s website to find their address.
  2. Research the company’s address on google, bing or other similar search engine.
  3. Research the company via the local Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  4. Research the company with the Texas State Comptroller’s office.
  5. Ask for local credit, supplier and customer references. If the company cannot provide LOCAL references yet has a local PO Box or other address, their office could simply be temporary.
  6. Visit www.ntrca.com to research their membership status in NTRCA.

At NTRCA, our members are in the business of putting on quality roofs and conducting business in an ethical manner. They do not chase storms, but are committed to doing business and living in North Texas. To be a member, we require that roofing contractors warrant and represent that they carry liability insurance (note: always ask to see a copy of a roofing contractor's insurance certificate and call the insurance provider to ensure it is still in effect), maintain an office in North Texas, abide by our code of ethics, are in good standing with the BBB, and are recommended by an existing contractor and an existing associate member.

Regardless of who you hire, NTRCA highly recommends that you do your homework by asking questions and doing research on any company you may be considering. Don't let someone rush your decision. For more advice and information, go to www.ntrca.com. You can also find NTRCA on facebooktwitter and google+.

 

03/08/2019

Your roof is the most important component protecting your home, its possessions and everyone inside. When your roof leaks or has other issues that will soon lead to leaks, you want to get it repaired or replaced correctly, quickly and at a fair price.  

Most homeowners have little experience working with a roofing contractor, making them susceptible to roofing scams. Fraudulent roofing contractors prey on vulnerable homeowners and have become increasingly bold – and frequent – in North Texas.

The scam we hear about most often in the Dallas/Fort Worth area is a company collecting a deposit for roofing work…and then disappearing. A roofing company asking for money upfront is a big red flag. Some legitimate roofers ask for money upfront, especially if they need to order a high-end or specialty products, so how can you tell the difference between a scammer and a legitimate roofing company?

Do some research BEFORE handing over a check, no matter how nice the salesperson seems to be.

6 research steps we recommend:

  1. Google the contractor – their name and their company name
  2. Check them out with the BBB
  3. If they claim to be a member of the NTRCA or any other association, go to NTRCA.com or other appropriate website and check to see if they really are a member
  4. Ask for and call references
  5. Ask for their insurance certificate and call their insurance company to verify
  6. When comparing bids, compare apples to apples

Legitimate roofing companies WILL:

  1. Encourage you to call their credit, customer and supplier references
  2. Willingly show you their insurance certificate
  3. Be in the business of roofing with a real, local presence
  4. Be certified by the manufacturer of the roofing product they’re using

Legitimate roofing companies will NOT:

  1. Pressure you to sign a contract or hand over a check to them quickly
  2. Hesitate to give you a copy of their insurance certificate or references
  3. Be in town just for the opportunities created by storms
  4. Use stolen shingles or low quality products

Get more consumer protection tips, a handy list of questions to ask and watch a short video with advice to homeowners at www.NTRCA.com/advice.

03/08/2019

A roofing contractor who is a member of the NTRCA really does stand apart from other roofers in North Texas! To become a member of the NTRCA, contractor members must meet the following criteria:

  • The company must have a local address in North Texas (defined as the area south of Oklahoma, east of Abilene, west of Louisiana, and north of Waco) and must provide proof (with a utility bill that is no less than 3 months old or a lease agreement that is current).
  • The company must be a registered business with the state of the Texas or with a county in North Texas.
  • The company must be in good standing with the Better Business Bureau (BBB). If listed with the BBB, the company must have a B rating or above.
  • The company must represent and warrant that they hold and will maintain General Liability Insurance (consumers: please ask to see a roofer's certificate of insurance and call their insurance company to verify)
  • If the State of Texas enacts a licensing requirement, the company must acknowledge that they understand that membership in NTRCA requires that the company comply with licensing requirements in accordance with state guidelines.
  • The company must agree to abide by the NTRCA Code of Ethics.
  • The company must provide recommendations for membership from 2 current members: 1) a current NTRCA associate member and 2) a current NTRCA contractor member.                                                                                                                                                              

To attain the status of ACCREDITED NTRCA contractor member, companies meet the following ADDITIONAL requirements:

  • The company must have been in the roofing business for at least 2 years.
  • The business operations manager or his designee at the company must have attended 2 NTRCA mentoring sessions and 2 NTRCA Lunch and Learns or 2 mentoring sessions and one NTRCA-approved training session. The company must have been an active member of the NTRCA (and in good standing) for at least 12 months prior.
  • The company, if listed on the BBB, must maintain an A rating.

 

03/08/2019

Unlike most other states, the state of Texas has no guidelines or requirements for those who want to be a roofing contractor. No insurance is required, and there is no state licensing, certification or registration. This means that anyone can call themselves a roofer, and it's "buyer beware" -- homeowners must protect themselves by doing their homework before they hire a roofing contractor.

At NTRCA, our members are in the business of putting on quality roofs and conducting business in an ethical manner. They do not chase storms, but are committed to doing business and living in North Texas.

To be a member of the NTRCA, we require that roofing contractors maintain an office in North Texas, agree to abide by our code of ethics, are in good standing with the BBB, are recommended by 2 existing members(another contractor and an associate member) plus meet other requirements.

Regardless of who you hire, NTRCA highly recommends that you do your homework by asking questions and doing research on any company you may be considering. Don't let someone rush your decision.

CLICK HERE for consumer protection tips and information from NTRCA (or click here for the same in Spanish). Resources include a list of questions and tips, videos and a list of the top 5 roofing scams to watch for.

To learn more about NTRCA or find a list of NTRCA members and learn more about each, go to www.ntrca.com.

 

03/08/2019

There are good, legitimate, local roofing companies…and then there are roofing scam artists who give roofers a bad name. The same holds true for direct marketing companies. And unfortunately, the recent tornadoes in Rowlett and Garland have brought out both types of companies who give their industries a bad name.

We have been warning North Texas homeowners for years about the top 5 roofing red flags to watch out forOne of those involves direct marketing companies who are focused on gaining sales lead they sell to other companies.

3) Sales Lead Generation Companies

A newer type of scam reported to NTRCA is one where lead generation companies, disguised as “roofing damage experts” call areas that have received storm damage. They call and use a script that carefully avoids identifying themselves by a company name and tell homeowners “we’ll be in your area next week.” When the homeowner agrees to an appointment with the no-name company, that company turns around and sells the lead to a roofing company, which could be a legitimate roofing contractor…or not. NTRCA recommends that if consumers get a call like this that they simply ask, “What company are you representing?” and “What is your address?” If they hesitate or side-step the question, NTRCA recommends that the homeowner simply hang up.

Since we wrote about this, we’ve seen a new tactic called “Caller ID Spoofing,” where companies that are NOT local are cold calling homeowners, making it look like the call is coming from a 972-412-xxxx exchange, a popular prefix in Rowlett.

Dallas Morning News writer Dave Lieber brought this to light in a recent article and reported: “Someone was calling Rowlett residents last week and saying they were going to be in the recipient’s neighborhood looking at damaged roofs. They asked if the call recipient would be home.” When Lieber tried to call the 10 numbers one homeowner gave him, most didn’t answer or weren’t working. One had a voicemail greeting stating that if they received a call from the number, it wasn’t them and that their number had been spoofed.

It’s most likely that whoever is calling Rowlett residents with a vague sales pitch to get appointments to look at roofs may or may not be a roofing company.

“The ‘lead generation company’ may be a company in Canada or Mexico or some offshore location,” says Don Williams, who has been in the direct marketing industry for 30 years and is the president of Alliance, a professional call center services company located in Hurst, Texas. “Or it could be a one-person operation who generates their own leads and sells their ‘discards’ to their competitors.”

Caller ID Spoofing is not illegal, but calling a number on the Do Not Call (DNC) registry is.

“Out of 17,399 definite or probable homeowners within the City of Rowlett, 15,452 (88%) are DNC or unlisted, with most being DNC,” said Williams. “That means that only 1,947 phones are legally callable.”

Some tips for homeowners who may receive these kinds of calls:

  • If you get an unsolicited call and you are on the DNC, violations can be reported to (www.donotcall.gov)
  • If you get a call from a roofing company or someone claiming that they’ll be in your area looking at roofs and you are not on the DNC list, ask them: “What company are you representing?” and “What is your address?” If they hesitate or side-step the question, we recommend that you simply hang up.
  • Always do your research before hiring a roofing contractor. Unlike plumbers, electricians or even hair stylists, the state of Texas does not have any kind of licensing or registration for roofers or general contractors in Texas.
  • Use this List of Questions from NTRCA as a guide to help you select a roofer (click here for the list of questions in Spanish).
  • Don’t let a contractor rush you into signing a contract.
  • Do not hand over your insurance check to anyone. And do not pay a deposit until materials are delivered.
  • Read about the Top 5 Roofing scams to look out for in North Texas.
  • Despite all our warnings about the bad guys out there, there are plenty of good, local roofing contractors too. Choose a contractor who is a member of a trade association such as NTRCA. Our members MUST be local and meet other important requirements plus agree to abide by our code of ethics in order to become and stay a member.
  • Finally, keep in mind that legitimate companies use local Caller ID (aka spoofing) too. The difference is that the legitimate company answers that number when you call back (required by law). The legitimate use of numbers provides advertisers (who may be located in the area, in a neighboring city or another state) a method to track response, sales, ROI, etc.  

Get more advice or search for an NTRCA member at www.ntrca.com.

03/08/2019

If you are one of the many Texas property owners hit by hail in the recent spring storms in Plano, Wylie, Fort Worth, Denton, Frisco, Little Elm, Rockwall (and many surrounding cities), and you have holes in your roof and/or skylights, the road ahead can seem daunting.

The first step is to get your home dried-in as much as possible by getting tarps on your roof. In neighborhoods hit by storms, you will suddenly see a convergence of pickup trucks with ladders, roofing flyers on doorsteps and people knocking on doors to sell you roofing services. In areas hit hard like Wylie, the stores were out of roof tarps and large plastic wrap for windows and automobiles in no time.

What should you do? Who should you trust? How do you get your house dry ASAP before the next round of rain comes?

If you have used a local roofing company you know and trust, give them a call. Let them know if water is coming in your home or not. When storms of this magnitude hit, reputable, local roofing companies get very busy and have to operate in a sort of triage mode, attending to those with water coming in their homes first.

If you don't have a relationship with a local roofing company, visit www.ntrca.com and go to our Find a Roofer page. You can do a search by city. Also, check out our advice on hiring a roofing company at www.ntrca.com/advice and www.ntrca.com/consejos (in Spanish). NTRCA warns all homeowners about scam artists and storm chasers, who prey on people when they're most vulnerable, and offers advice on how to avoid them.

If your home needs tarped ASAP, we warn homeowners to please beware of something called "contingency contracts." They are a common practice among shady roofing companies, tying homeowners to the roofing contractor in the event that the homeowner’s insurance company pays for a roof replacement.

The company may knock on the door and promise “free” emergency repairs if a homeowner will sign an agreement or may insist that the homeowner sign an agreement before the contractor inspects the roof. In the fine print, details about the “contract” are written. Don't sign anything with fine print like that! Let that company move on and find another one to tarp your roof!

Click here to learn more about roofing red flags and scams to watch out for.

 

 
03/08/2019

The most common roofing products installed on homes across the U.S. today are asphalt shingles. They’re widely available, with many style and color options, and they are less costly than tile, metal and slate roofing materials. Eight major U.S. and Canadian building-product manufacturers market asphalt shingles, including NTRCA members Atlas Roofing, CertainTeed, GAF, IKO, Malarkey Roofing Products, Owens Corning and Tamko.

What are the basics that homeowners should know about shingles, and what should they consider when selecting shingles for their home’s roof?

The Benefits of Roofing Shingles

Aside from affordability and widespread availability, today’s roofing shingles offer many benefits over other types of roofing materials, including:
·    They’re available in a variety of colors and styles, created by a variety of manufacturers
·    They’re easy to repair and maintain                                           
·    They’re fire-resistant (most are categorized as Class A, the most fire-resistant)  
·    Several impact-resistant Class IV rating options are available (and often qualify for insurance discounts)
·    They carry 20, 25, 30 or lifetime warranties

What Shingles Are Made of and How Today’s Shingles Have Improved vs. Older Products

Most asphalt shingles you’ll see on homes today are made of fiberglass, constructed with a woven fiberglass base mat, covered with a waterproof asphalt coating and topped with ceramic granules that shield the product from harmful UV rays. They’re lighter than many products, most have Class A fire ratings, and they generally carry a longer warranty than shingles made in the past.

Older, traditional shingles of the past used an organic mat-base, made from a recycled layer of felt paper, asphalt-saturated for waterproofing, and coated with adhesive asphalt into which the ceramic granules were embedded. These older shingles were heavier, thicker and more expensive, with Class C fire ratings.  

“Fiberglass technology and the continued improvement in this base provide better weather ability, strength and tear resistance,” says Rick McLaughlin, General Manager at Wholesale Roofing Supply.

The sealants used today are also far superior to those in the past, says McLaughlin, allowing manufacturers to extend wind warranties almost twice as long as compared to the older products.

Selecting a Shingle Style and Color
Asphalt shingles come a wide variety of colors and are manufactured as either three-tab shingles or architectural shingles.

Three-tab shingles have cutouts – tabs – made along their long lower edge, making each shingle look like three separate pieces when installed. Architectural asphalt shingles (the most popular option today) are made by laminating two pieces together to give the look of a wood shingle.  The upper portion has cut outs, and the lower portion is solid.

When selecting a shingle style and color, homeowners should take several things into consideration, including: the style of the home, the color of the home, style/color preferences, price and warranty.

Other Options – Reflective Coatings, Algae and Impact Resistance
A significant improvement in fiberglass asphalt shingles in recent years, says McLaughlin, is the use of cool granules that give the product a reflective value, which reduces the amount of heat absorbed by the roof, saving homeowners money on their energy bills. This technology is especially helpful during the hot Texas summers.

Algae is another issue which shows up in the North Texas market many times on the north side of some roofs, especially where there is a lot of shade and/or humidity. It often reveals itself with black streaks that can change the color and appearance of the roof.

“Some manufacturers have added more copper granules in their mix of granules to extend the roof’s resistance to algae,” says McLaughlin. “These copper granules allow the manufacturer to further extend warranties against algae growth.”  

Finally, another option available is impact-resistant shingles. They’re more costly, but insurance discounts are often available, and they offer increased protection against storm damage.

Warranties
Another consideration when selecting a shingle product is the manufacturers’ warranty. Warranties primarily cover defects—shingle cupping or curling, for example, plus granule loss and thermal splitting.

Read any warranty before making a purchase decision to understand what is and isn’t covered, for how long and what may potentially void the warranty.  

“An experienced roofing contractor will have a relationship through his or her distributor with the product of choice he sells. He will be able to give you guidance related to the manufacturer, how the warranty works and offer options to further enhance the warranty,” said McLaughlin

03/08/2019

Attic ventilation is something most homeowners don’t think about, but knowing the basics can save you money on your energy bills (especially during the hot Texas summers), keep your roofing shingle warranty intact and/or prevent premature deterioration of rafters, insulation, shingles and other materials and equipment in your attic space.

Our communications/public relations director (and homeowner), Kelly Haffner, recently sat down with NTRCA associate member Robert Charanza with Attic Breeze to ask him several questions from a homeowner’s perspective.

Q: What is Attic Ventilation?

A: Attic ventilation is the replenishment of fresh air through the attic space using a passive or mechanical venting system consisting of a balance of intake and exhaust vents.”

Q: Why is Attic Ventilation Important?

A: Proper attic ventilation allows heat and moisture to escape. 

Without proper venting, the increased heat and moisture will lead to premature deterioration of anything in the attic space. This could include building materials (such as asphalt roof shingles, insulation, rafters and sheathing), mechanical equipment (like air handlers, duct systems and hot water heaters in the area) and anything placed or stored in the attic.

The attic space is also susceptible to mold and mildew growth, spongy, warped and saggy decking and possible dry rot if it is not properly ventilated. During winter months, frost may form on the underside of decking and, in some climates, ice damming can form along eave edges of the roofline.

Another concern with improper attic ventilation is that the heat build-up can increase the temperature in the living spaces below, decreasing your home’s comfort level and increasing your air conditioning bills. Your living space can also suffer from poor air quality.

And finally, all roofing product manufactures require proper ventilation of attic spaces within their respective warranties. If material failure occurs, this is one of the first items inspected, and can lead to warranty claim denial.

Q: But … Shouldn’t an Attic Be Air-Tight?

A: The only time an attic can be “air-tight” is when it is part of the air-conditioned space of the home. Some homes built today have the envelope of the home foam insulated. This means all exterior walls and roof rafters have spray foam insulation installed to create a total sealed insulated system. Some call this an “Igloo” system because it performs similarly to a Styrofoam cooler. With a system of this kind, you still must ventilate the inside air of the home, so an air exchange system is implemented within the HVAC equipment.

Q: What are the Basics of GOOD Attic Ventilation?

A: Good attic ventilation consists of a balanced system of intake and exhaust vents. Most intake vents are installed on the underside of soffits, such as rectangular screened vents or continuous perforated soffits. Some older homes were built with gable vents that have been turned into intake vents or others retrofitted with vents along the eave edge of rooflines or vents installed a few feet above the eave edge to allow air into the attic. These intake vents are balanced with exhaust vents that may be placed along the roof ridges or vents placed approximately 3 feet below the roof ridge lines. Some exhaust vents may be mechanical, using solar or electrical power to run a fan, or turbine vents that use wind to increase the airflow and exchange rate.

Q: What are Some Basic Signs a Homeowner Can Observe from the Ground and/or Inside the Attic to Spot Good or Bad Attic Ventilation?

A: A homeowner can visually inspect their home for proper ventilation. They should have intake vents surrounding the lower eave edge of the rooflines and a similar amount of exhaust near peak ridge lines of their roof. The homeowner can look inside the attic to see if daylight is visible along the eave edge. If not, it may be a sign that the eave intake vents have been covered by insulation and this will need to be removed to prevent blockage of airflow.

They can also look for the most common attic ventilation mistakes, including: 1) the mixing of different types of ventilation on the same roof which, in most cases, can lead to an unbalanced ventilation system where airflow is disrupted and heat build-up can occur and 2) improper placement of the solar panel on solar powered exhaust vents. These panels need to face in a southerly direction to work at maximum efficiency. The performance is greatly diminished when the panel is facing any other direction.

If you’re looking for a “rule of thumb” for proper ventilation, it’s the “1/300 ratio” -- for every 1 square foot of attic space, you should have 300 Net Free Airflow (NFA) divided evenly between intake and exhaust

Q: Can You Tell Me More About How Attic Ventilation Affects a Homeowner’s Heating and Cooling Bills?

A: Proper ventilation reduces the heating and cooling cost of a home. Improper ventilation can allow heat build-up to pass into homes increasing the cycling and stress upon the AC systems. Mechanical ventilation systems are better than passive venting systems because they increase the air exchange rate within attic spaces, greatly reducing the “heat load.” They can reduce attic temperatures more than 50 degrees versus a passive venting system. The lower the attic temperature, the slower the heat can penetrate the living space taking the stress off the AC System and leading it to cycle less. This saves money on cooling cost.

Q: What Products are Available to Help a Home’s Attic Ventilation?

A: Products that are available to help home’s attic ventilation are static vents, ridge vents, wind turbines, electric powered vents and solar powered vents. It’s best to work with a knowledgeable contractor to determine the best system for your home and its surrounding environmental factors.

Q: What Do Most Codes Require in the North Texas Area When It Comes to Attic Venting?

A: Most municipalities and code entities use the International Residence Code (IRC) as their guideline. The IRC uses the “1/300 Ratio” rule for ventilation as the minimum standard. Some municipalities and code entities may create an even more stringent code, so homeowners should be advised to work with contractors who stay abreast of any changes or special requirements in their service areas.

Q: Is There Any Kind of Tax Credit Available for Attic Ventilation?

A: There is a 30% Federal Tax Credit available on the total install cost of solar powered ventilation products. In many cases, contractors can offset the difference in cost versus a passive venting system allowing homeowners to upgrade to a ventilation system that will keep attics drastically cooler than a passive system during the hottest times of the year, using the free source of the sun.

Robert Charanza has worked in the roofing and attic ventilation industry for close to 25 years and is currently a National Accounts Manager for Attic Breeze, a Texas-based manufacturer of solar-powered ventilation and tubular skylight products for residential and commercial markets.

03/08/2019

A guest article contributed by NTRCA member Malarkey Roofing Products.

5 signs you need a new roof north texas roofing contractors association ntrcaA solid roof is crucial to the health of your home. Not only will it keep your family safe, but it’s your home’s first line of defense against other serious and costly issues.

Unfortunately, most people don’t think about their roof until something goes awry, like a leak or broken roof shingles. Don’t wait until water comes pouring through your roof!

Here are 5 things to look for that might indicate it is time to repair or replace your roof.

  1. Curling Shingles and Shingle Grits

Inspection can offer insight into the condition of your roof. We recommend looking for curling shingles first.

Shingles can curl in two main ways:

  • Cupping occurs when the roof shingles turn upwards.
  • Clawing happens when the edges stay flat and the middle starts to come up.

Both types of curling are signs of weathering and indicate potential problems or leaks. We encourage you to keep an eye on your rooftop to make sure it’s in tip top shape, especially following a heavy rain or windstorm.

Roof shingles should lie flat against the roof. Cracked shingles are typically a result of wind damage. If you find patches that are cracked, damaged, or buckling, then it may be time to make some repairs.

While you can make repairs and replacement, it’s important to note that architectural roofing shingles will vary in color. It’s just about impossible to get a new shingle to match the color of an old one because the granule colors will change over the years due to weathering. You can keep patching until a bigger issue presents itself, but your roof will look a bit patchy and you may want to consider replacing the entire roof.

While you are inspecting your roof, you may want to look into your gutters or downspouts for shingle grit. Shingle granules in your gutters are a sign that your roof is losing a lot of granules and it may be at the end of its useful life.

  1. Age of Roof Shingles

Check your home improvement records to see how long ago the roof was replaced or re-shingled. Depending on the weather conditions, your roof should last around 20 to 25 years. Knowing when a roof was installed can offer insight into how much life it has left.

  1.  Signs of Water Damage

The first place we recommend looking for water damage is in your attic. Grab a flashlight and climb up under the eaves. Look for beams of light coming through the top of the house or stains and streaks, which are indications of water damage and could signal a leaky roof.

Signs of water damage can also show up on the ceiling and along the walls within your home. Water damage can add up to thousands of dollars in damage. If you do have signs of water damage, it’s important to enlist the help of a roofing professional immediately to prevent further damage.

  1. Roof Shingles Covered with Moss or Algae

When your roof shingles begin to be covered with moss or algae, it can look unsightly. Many homeowners choose to replace their roof because they don’t like the aesthetic. Fortunately, there are many new shingles that are algae resistant.

You may be tempted to power wash your roof or scrape away the green mildew, however, you should resist the temptation. You could damage your architectural roofing shingles and chip off all the granules, which could in turn make your shingles useless. If the algae situation is controllable and you really want to remove them, consider a wash that’s one part bleach and one part water. Zinc strips can also be installed at roof peaks and will eventually eliminate the problem.

  1. Sagging Roof

A droopy or sagging roof is one that definitely needs replacing before further damages occur to your home. Check the surface for signs of moisture or rotting boards in the sagging spots. A sagging roof is a good indication of a structural issue. There could be a problem with the attic or foundation. It’s important to take care of sagging roof problems as soon as possible before they sprout into larger issues.

What If I Need to Replace My Roof?

There are many factors to consider when replacing your home’s roof, including materials, size of the roof, shape and pitch of the roof and cost. Architectural roofing shingles are a bit more expensive than regular asphalt shingles because of their high quality materials and stunning three-dimensional appearance.

Your roof is what keeps you warm and dry. When it’s time to get a new one installed, seek the help of a roofing professional to get the best value out of your investment.

03/08/2019

If you are one of the many North Texas property owners hit by hail in the recent spring storms, and you have holes in your roof and/or skylights, the road ahead can seem daunting.

The first step is to get your home dried-in as much as possible by getting tarps on your roof. In neighborhoods hit by storms, you will suddenly see a convergence of pickup trucks with ladders, roofing flyers on doorsteps and people knocking on doors to sell you roofing services. In areas hit hard like Wylie, the stores were out of roof tarps and large plastic wrap for windows and automobiles in no time.

What should you do? Who should you trust? How do you get your house dry ASAP before the next round of rain comes?

If you have used a local roofing company you know and trust, give them a call. Let them know if water is coming in your home or not. When storms of this magnitude hit, reputable, local roofing companies get very busy and have to operate in a sort of triage mode, attending to those with water coming in their homes first.

If you don't have a relationship with a local roofing company, visit www.ntrca.com and go to our Find a Roofer page. You can do a search by city. Also, check out our advice on hiring a roofing company at www.ntrca.com/advice and www.ntrca.com/consejos (in Spanish). NTRCA warns all homeowners about scam artists and storm chasers, who prey on people when they're most vulnerable, and offers advice on how to avoid them.

If your home needs tarped ASAP, we warn homeowners to please beware of the difference between signing a contract that authorizes a contractor to put a tarp on ... and sigining a contract for future repairs or a new roof. Read carefully before you sign a contract with contingencies.

The company may knock on the door and promise “free” emergency repairs if a homeowner will sign an agreement or may insist that the homeowner sign an agreement before the contractor inspects the roof. In the fine print, details about the “contract” are written. Don't sign anything without knowing exactly what you're signing, and do your research before you let anyone work on your home!

Click here to learn more about roofing red flags and scams to watch out for.

03/08/2019

In the aftermath of North Texas storms, neighborhoods are typically flooded with roofing salespeople and flyers, trying to drum up business in one of the few states left in the country without some sort of state licensing requirement for roofers. It can be difficult for homeowners to weed out the good roofing contractors from the bad. To help, NTRCA has compiled a list of the top 5 shady roofing practices reported to the organization by members and homeowners.

  1. Contingency Contracts

Contingency contracts are a common practice for many roofing companies. If the homeowner is aware of the contingency and understands and agrees to it, that’s one thing. But when a roofing company hides the language in fine print AND rushes a homeowner to sign a contract without discussing the contingency with a homeowner, it’s a shady business practice. Most typically what’s been reported to us is a roofing company promising “free” emergency repairs, a roof inspection and/or roof tarping if a homeowner will quickly sign an agreement. In the fine print are details that tie the homeowner to that roofing contractor in the event that the homeowner’s insurance company pays for a roof replacement. TIP: always read everything (even the fine print) before signing anything.

  1. Contractors Asking for Money Upfront

If a contractor asks for money upfront, that could be the sign of a potential red flag. The elderly, in particular, are often targeted by scammers who get payment (partial or in full) upfront and then never return or complete the work. This is the most common scam reported to the NTRCA. In some cases, a partial payment upfront is not cause for alarm, such as 1) when a partial payment is required for materials, after they have been delivered to the project location and 2) if a special, high-end product is required, such as a specialty type of slate material. TIP: do significant research on any roofing contractor before paying them anything; never hand over your insurance check to a roofing company or any other contractor; and do not make a final payment before a job is complete.

  1. Sales Lead Generation Companies

Another tactic reported to NTRCA is one where lead generation companies, disguised as “roofing damage experts” call areas that have received storm damage. They call and use a script that carefully avoids identifying themselves by a company name and tell homeowners “we’ll be in your area next week.” When the homeowner agrees to an appointment with the no-name company, that company turns around and sells the lead to a roofing company, which could be a legitimate roofing contractor … or not. TIP: If you get a call like this ask, “What company are you representing?” and “What is your address?” If they hesitate or side-step the question, simply hang up.

  1. Roofing Companies Acting As Insurance Adjusters

Another red flag is when roofing contractors act as insurance adjusters and claim they can help homeowners negotiate or “work” their claim. This practice is illegal – a single company/person cannot act as both a homeowner’s roofer AND their insurance adjuster. TIP: talk with your insurance adjuster about the claim and your roofing contractor about the scope of work to be performed. 

  1. Storm Chasers – Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

In Texas, anyone can hang up a “shingle” and call themselves a roofing company. And when storms hit in North Texas, we see an influx of out-of-town roofers (a.k.a. storm chasers), who “work the storm” and then leave town not long after the storms do, unable and unwilling to service any kind of warranty they promised. Similarly, we also see “in-town” storm chasers, who may be from the area, but have no roofing expertise, yet suddenly jump into the roofing business simply because there is significant opportunity to make money. TIP: pick a company that is local, experienced and a member in good standing with a professional roofing organization.

There are plenty of good, reputable, local roofing contractors based in North Texas. How do you spot them? Read this for some clues to keep mind to help you spot and select the GOOD, professional roofing contractors.

03/08/2019

By Gregg Walther

Independent Insurance Group, Inc & Board Member of the NTRCA

When a homeowner is hiring a roofing contractor, it’s important for them to understand liability insurance and what it means should something happen on their property while their roof is being repaired or re-roofed.

The Roofer’s Insurance

First, it’s important to know that the state of Texas does not have ANY requirements related to licensing, registration or insurance for roofing contractors. This means that a roofer is NOT required to carry ANY liability insurance by the state of Texas and can do business without it. So homeowners should not assume that a roofing contractor has liability insurance and should ask their roofer if 1) they carry it and 2) if so, to provide them with proof.

A legitimate roofing company with insurance won’t hesitate to show you a copy of their certificate of insurance. With this in hand, homeowners should call the insurance agency listed on the certificate to verify the insurance, what it covers (make sure it covers roofing work) and ensure that it’s still in effect. Insurance experts recommend that the certificate show liability insurance with a limit of at least $1,000,000 per occurrence.

Despite the fact that the state of Texas does not require roofing contractors to carry any kind of insurance, the best roofers do. The North Texas Roofing Contractors Association (NTRCA) requires each roofing contractor member to show proof of liability insurance and agree to maintain that insurance as a requirement to become a member.  If you are working with a contractor that belongs to our association, the association recommends that you follow the same recommended steps above.

It's also recommend that you enter into a written contract with your roofer, which they should supply to you, so there is no question regarding the scope of the work they are to provide, the total cost of the work, and the terms of payment. Keep a final, executed copy of your contract. You should also obtain a business card from the salesman and ask whom should you contact if you have questions regarding work while it is being performed.

Do Not Contribute to a Claim

If a claim arises while a contractor is installing your roof, their insurance for coverage should respond as long as you did not contribute to the claim.

You might ask, “How could I contribute to a claim?”  There are several ways this can happen but the most common involve:

a.Letting them use your tools (for example, lending them a ladder)

or

b.Trying to assist them while they are working, such as holding a ladder while one of them climbs it.

Insurance experts strongly recommend that you do not loan tools or assist in any way.

The Homeowner’s Insurance

There are many different insurance companies and policies, and there are unique details related to each policy that we cannot explain in an article, but we can tell you what to look for and what to ask your insurance agent if you need clarification.  Our comments below are generalizations and do not replace the language of your insurance policy, which ultimately determines if a claim is covered or not.

Our remarks are based on the Insurance Services Office (ISO) form: HO 00 03 10 00.  This is one of the most common forms in use.  This identifying information is located on the bottom of each page of the 22 page form, in case you want to check your policy to see if it is the same.

Page 16, Section II – Liability Coverages provides liability insurance for “bodily Injury” or “property damage” (words in quotations in an insurance policy are defined terms and can be found starting on page 1 of this form.)

This is the section you would turn to for coverage if you have a claim made against you by someone that does not meet the definition of an “insured” under your policy.  It provides liability coverage up to the limits you purchased and includes legal defense if you are sued for claims covered under the insurance policy.

Under this policy, “Insured”, as it applies to claims at your residence, refers to “You”, which is the name as it appears on your policy’s declaration page, and your spouse if they are also a resident of the same household.  The definition also includes residents of your household who are your relatives, or other persons under the age of 21 that are in an insured’s care.

As long as the people working on your house do not fall into any of these “Insured” categories, your policy should respond to any claim made against you for the actions of anyone while working on your house.

If you are unable to verify this when you review your own policy, then we suggest calling your insurance agent and asking them the following questions:

1.I am having my roof repaired.  If an accident happens on the property and I am sued, what are my limits, and am I covered for claims that may arise from contractors making repairs on my property?

2.Are there any endorsements on my policy that I need to know about that might restrict my coverage?

It’s always best to ask questions ahead of time, especially when making a big decision like who to use when you need roof repairs or need to replace your roof. 

Gregg Walther is an agent with Independent Insurance Group, Inc. He has 15 years of industry experience and specializes in insurance for commercial contractors in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. 

 

03/08/2019

Every year – especially during storm season in the greater Dallas/ Fort Worth, Texas area – we see more and more companies who are NOT a member of the NTRCA claiming to be a member by putting our logo on their website, marketing brochures and/or yard signs. Why? Because it truly means something to be an NTRCA member: there are zero regulations by the state of Texas for roofing contractors, yet our members must meet strict criteria and adhere to our code of ethics in order to become and remain a member.

We’ve also seen companies claiming to be an accredited member of the BBB and/or an elite level with a major roofing manufacturing when, in fact, they were not.

If a roofing company claims to have a certification or industry membership, conduct a little research to check out their claims before you hire them. If they’re lying about these things, what else are they being dishonest about? You really don’t want to entrust someone like that to repair or reroof your home (no matter what their price is).

Here are some specific tips on how to check out if your roofing contractor’s certification or NTRCA membership claims are true:
1)    If a roofer claims they are a member of the NTRCA, go to www.ntrca.com and click on Find a Roofer. We update our website daily, so if a contractor is not listed on our website as a member, then they are not a member.
2)    If a roofer claims to have a certification, status or affiliation with a roofing product company (such as CertainTeed, GAF, Johns Manville, Malarkey, Owens Corning, etc.), contact the company directly to check out if their claims are true.
3)    For more consumer awareness information and advice before selecting a roofing contractor, go to www.ntrca.com/advice or www.ntrca.com/consejos.

03/08/2019

Home insurance policies in Texas are changing and where there used to be 3 different home insurance policies allowed to be written in Texas, there are now close to 300 options allowed. If you’re a homeowner, it’s important that you keep up with these changes, review your existing policy to understand exactly what your insurance covers and thoroughly review any revised or new policies.

The Insurance Business

Make no mistake that the insurance industry is a business. And while an insurance company cares about your roof (it protects your home from the elements and expensive interior damages), they must manage the money they take in … and the money they pay out. In doing so, many insurers are becoming more restrictive with homeowners’ roof coverage, especially in significant hail storm damaged areas of the country like Texas.

It’s up to you, the homeowner, to understand your policy and ensure that your insurance carrier covers everything required by your particular policy.

Deductibles

Your home insurance policy includes a deductible, an amount you agreed to pay before the insurance company will pay anything on a claim. Decades ago, these deductibles were as low as $250 or $500, but today they’re anywhere from a set amount of $1000 to $5000 or 1% to 5% of the insured value of your home. Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium, and the deductible is applied to each claim.

After hail storms in North Texas, you’ll see some roofing contractors offering to "waive," "eat” or “cover" a home insurance deductible or install a new roof “at no cost to you.” Please be aware that covering a deductible is insurance fraud if a contractor and/or homeowner falsify an invoice, a proposal, a loss summary or any other pertinent documents relating to the payment of an insured loss in order to circumvent the payment of a deductible.

Replacement Value … or Not?

Some insurance companies have dialed back the roof coverage portion of their home insurance policies, especially on older roofs. Rather than offer full “replacement cost value” (RCV), many policies now offer “actual cash value” (ACV) or “roof payment schedules” (RPS - a sliding unrecoverable depreciation scale).

What’s the difference? RCV is what most homeowners are accustomed to (and prefer); with it, insurers pay all costs to make your roof whole again without factoring in depreciation, once you’ve met your deductible and incurred the cost of having the work performed. In contrast, with ACV (or an RPS schedule included in a RCV policy) your insurer pays to repair or replace your roof, less your deductible AND less depreciation for the age and type of your roof.

Make sure you understand whether your policy covers the full replacement value of your roof … or actual cash value, especially if you have an older roof.

Cosmetic Damage

Another trend is for insurance policies to exclude “cosmetic damage,” which is physical damage such as marring, denting or pitting that affects the appearance but not the intended function of your roof (which is to prevent the penetration of water into your home). This limitation can be a significant problem for homeowners, especially those with metal roofs.

It’s also a concern for those with shingle roofs who have metal accessories, such as drip edges, vents and pipe jacks. While your carrier may pay for the removal and replacement of your roof shingles and underlayment, the metal accessories that are excluded could cost you hundreds of additional dollars.

What happens to the market value of a roof (or parts of a roof) that looks awful but has been deemed to have only cosmetic damage? How do you handle the strict rules your homeowner association (HOA) may have about a property’s appearance? And while a dent or crack may not lead to immediate leaks, what happens to that roof over time? Know what your policy covers and whether it excludes cosmetic damage.

Filing a Claim

Unlike car insurance, your specific policy’s rate will not increase because you made a claim. A region’s rates may increase because it experienced a large, expensive storm, but Texas law prevents insurance companies from increasing your specific policy because of a claim (or two or three) that you filed.

Remember that if you have damage you don’t get taken care of, a later claim could be denied because you failed to maintain your home. Also remember that your insurance deductible applies to each claim; in other words, it isn’t an annual deductible like your health insurance policy.

Tips to Protect Yourself and Your Roof

  1. Don’t make any assumptions when it comes to your existing, revised or new homeowner’s insurance policy. Read your policy, ask questions and know what your deductible is, whether your roof has RCV or ACV coverage, if your policy excludes cosmetic damage and other details.
  2. Carefully compare policies. Here’s a helpful online comparison tool you can use: http://www.opic.texas.gov/residential-property/compare-policy-coverages/homeowners
  3. Once you have narrowed down the policies you’re considering, you can use this helpful worksheet to compare apples to apples: https://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/documents/howorksheet.pdf
  4. Maintain your home’s roof and document any repairs, maintenance, damage or inspections.
  5. Only work with local, reputable roofing contractors. The state of Texas does not have any licensing requirements or a state licensing mechanism for roofing contractors or general contractors, so it’s critical that you thoroughly research any contractor before hiring them. You can get a list of questions to ask and more consumer awareness resources to help at www.ntrca.com/advice and www.ntrca.com/consejos.