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How to Get Insurance to Pay for Your Roof Replacement

roof replacement insurance

The roof is your home’s first line of defense. Damage in the roof can quickly lead to damage elsewhere in the structure of the home, calling for more costly repairs in the future. Fortunately, most insurance companies appreciate the importance of an intact roof system. But roof replacement insurance is a complicated topic, and it isn’t always easy to tell whether your home insurance will cover the cost. So how do you get insurance to cover the cost of a roof replacement?



Roof Replacements and Insurance

Insurance companies have different rules when it comes to replacing or repairing damaged roofs. However, there are some general rules that apply to most policies. You will always need to check your homeowners insurance policy to confirm whether these are true in your case.

  • Most insurance companies cover severe damage that was outside of the homeowner’s control. This includes damage from fire, extreme weather like a tornado or hurricane, or vandalism.
  • Damage caused by a lack of roof maintenance is considered the responsibility of the homeowner and is not covered.
  • Coverage for damage from normal weather like wind, snow, and hail often depends on your roof’s age.
  • A typical homeowners insurance policy will only cover roof replacement if the roof has been damaged by an act of nature. Replacing a roof that has exceeded its intended lifespan is considered the homeowner’s maintenance responsibility and is not eligible for coverage.

Depreciated Value

Many policies base their reimbursement rates on a roof’s depreciated value. This takes the age and wear of your roof into account, meaning the value of your roof decreases over time. Other policies cover the full roof repair cost—whether that means repairing or replacing your roof fully or partially.

Deductibles

Your insurance policy may have a deductible, which can be a consideration when you file a claim. This means that even if your insurance covers the cost of a roof replacement, you could still end up paying a certain amount out of pocket.

A common deductible is 2% of the home’s value for inland homes or 5% of the home’s value for coastal homes. If the repairs to your roof will cost less than your deductible, you do not need to file a claim since you won’t be reimbursed.

Getting Your Roof Replacement Covered by Insurance

roof replacement insurance

Capitol Improvements recommends these five steps when you're filing a roof replacement claim.

1. Understand Your Policy

The first and best step in getting a roof replacement covered by insurance is making sure you understand your policy. The particular details of your homeowners insurance policy could surprise you, so it’s important to go over the fine print.

When you understand your insurance policy and what it covers, you can be better prepared to file a claim with all of the information they require.

Look for specific information in your policy about deductibles and depreciated value. Also look for information about their timeframe for filing claims and how they assign adjusters.

If you have questions or concerns about what your insurance policy covers, contact the insurance provider to clarify. You can do so after damage to your roof has already happened, but it’s even better to get those questions answered before you’re preparing to file a claim.

2. Take Pictures and Detailed Notes

When you file a claim for your roof replacement, you will need to provide certain information about the damage. This can include written information as well as photo documentation.

As soon as you notice roof damage, take down the date and time it occurred. Often, this will be after a storm or weather event, so it’s important to write down the exact date for the insurance adjuster’s reference.

If you can safely get a view of the roof damage, take a few clear pictures of the damaged area, as well as the surrounding area. If pooling water or debris (like a fallen tree limb) caused the damage, take pictures of the roof before removing the debris or soaking up the water. This will help your insurance company clearly identify and verify the cause of the damage.

It’s also important to pay attention to and document any potential damage below the roof. For example, if you have a leak that’s reached the attic or even through to the ceiling, take pictures of the leak and document when it began. Insurance companies appreciate the importance of a secure roof in avoiding more extensive damage.

This documentation can also include photos and written evidence you get from a roofing contractor.

3. Call Your Insurance Company

As soon as possible after any damage occurs, you’ll need to call your insurance provider. (If your roof or home has been damaged by vandalism or an illegal act of any kind, call the police to report the incident first.)

Contacting your provider will begin the claims process, and you’ll be assigned a claim number. Make sure to keep track of this number. In the case of roof replacements or extensive repairs, insurance companies will usually assign an adjuster to your case.

The adjuster is responsible for assessing the damage to your roof and estimating the cost of repair or replacement. While your insurer will likely assign an adjuster, it can also be a good idea to hire your own contractor to provide you with an independent estimate.

4. Call an Experienced Roofing Contractor

The next step is contacting a roofing contractor with expertise in insurance claims and policies. Like the insurance company’s own claims adjuster, a private contractor will come to your home to examine the damage and determine the cost of the roof replacement. 

If the private contractor’s estimate is higher than that of your claims adjuster, you will need to pay out of pocket. The insurance company will only replace the roof "as-is".  Roofs today are built differently than 20 years ago so you will generally have to cover the overages to get a Lifetime Warranty. 

Another reason to call a contractor you trust if you’ve experience roof damage is to make repairs. If the damage in your roof is causing damage elsewhere in the home, the contractor can make a temporary repair. This will help reduce damage while you wait for your insurance company to approve the claim.

Working with a locally-known and well-certified contractor when it comes time to have the roof replaced will also increase your chances of getting the cost of a roof replacement covered.

At Capitol Improvements, we’re experts in assessing roof damage and helping you file your claim, as well as in replacing your roof in a timely manner. If you’re ready to begin the estimation process and you live in the D.C. area, call us at 301-769-6909.

5. Hold Onto Receipts

Throughout the claim and roof replacement process, make sure to hold onto the receipts for everything. This includes anything you spend money on related to the roof damage, such as the following:

  • Temporary repairs or tarping done by a contractor.
  • Lodging bills if the damage made your home unlivable for any period of time.
  • Work invoices by your roof replacement contractor.
  • Receipts for anything else you paid for as a result of your roof’s damage.

You'll need to give these receipts to your insurance company to ensure you get a full reimbursement for the money you paid out of pocket.

Take Precautions to Get Roof Replacement Insurance

cost of a roof replacement

The steps above will help you prepare and file a claim if you want to get your roof replacement covered by insurance. However, one of the best things you can do to make sure your roof replacement is covered is take precautions ahead of time.

Taking precautions to protect your roof will not only show your insurance company that any damage was outside of your control, but it will also extend the lifespan of your roof. That means you won’t need to worry about replacing it as often.

Check for damage.

Whenever your roof goes through a storm or other weather event, it’s important to check and make sure the roof is still intact and undamaged. Look for any signs of damage to the shingles and other roofing materials, as well as debris and pooling water. You can also investigate your attic or crawlspace to make sure no moisture is coming through.

Have your roof inspected regularly.

While you can check for obvious signs of damage yourself, it’s still a good idea to have a professional roofing contractor give their stamp of approval on a regular basis. This can help show that you’ve been practicing good roof maintenance, improving your chances of having a roof replacement covered by insurance.

Take care of your trees.

Nearby trees can pose a big risk for your roof, and a fallen tree limb may or may not be covered by your insurance policy. This depends on whether the tree fell as a result of a storm, or whether it fell due to negligence.

If your claims adjuster finds that the tree was dead or unhealthy, and it did not fall solely as a result of severe weather, you could be stuck paying for your roof replacement yourself.

The best way to avoid this is to take care of the trees on your property and around your house so that they can withstand even severe storms. If a tree near your home is dead or dying, have it removed as soon as possible so that it doesn’t pose a liability to your home.

Fix small problems now.

The best way to avoid your insurance company denying your claim is to practice good roof maintenance. That means keeping an eye on your roof and taking care of problems as soon as they arise, no matter how small they are.

Piling leaves and debris, for example, can quickly lead to a leak, which can quickly lead to more extensive damage. If you notice debris on your roof or in your gutter system, make sure to fix the problem quickly.

Similarly, if a leak or other problem does occur, call your roofing contractor as soon as possible to fix the problem while it’s still fairly small. You may choose to file an insurance claim for the roof repair cost, but it’s only necessary to do so if the cost of repairs exceeds your deductible amount.

Take pictures after maintenance.

When you file an insurance claim for a roof replacement, you can provide pictures to show the severity level of the damage. It’s an even better idea to provide pictures of your roof before the damage occurred, alongside those pictures of the damage. That way, your insurance company can confirm that your roof was in good shape before the incident.

You should take pictures of the condition of your roof—or have your roofing contractor do so—on a regular basis. Make sure to take pictures after you or your contractor perform any maintenance.

How to Cover the Cost of a Roof Replacement

how to cover the cost of a roof replacement

Your roof replacement may not be completely covered by your insurance policy. Fortunately, there are still ways to make the cost for roof replacement more bearable.

If you’re replacing your roof because it has reached its intended age limit, you’ll most likely need to pay for the roof replacement yourself. Additionally, if your roof needs more minor repairs that don’t surpass your deductible, your insurance won’t pitch in to cover the cost.

Capitol Improvements offers special financing that can reduce the stress of replacing your roof when it comes time. To receive a free quote or learn more about how we can help you with roof replacement insurance, call us at 301-769-6909.

10 Tips for Managing Roof Leaks Until You Can Get Professional Help

managing roof leaks

The first thing to do when your roof leaks is to call a professional roofer to install a new leak-proof roof. Unfortunately, you may not always be able to get help to your home right away. So, what can you do to stop a roof leak and minimize damage on your own? Capitol Improvements recommends following these 10 easy-to-follow steps until your roofer is able to inspect and install a new roof.



Managing Roof Leaks

A leaking roof is nothing to take lightly. Even seemingly minor roof leaks can result in serious water damage down the line. If you notice your roof leaking, take action right away to minimize the damage as much as you can. More importantly, make sure you work with a professional roofing contractor to fully inspect, identify and install a new leak-proof roof.

As a homeowner, you might put off replacing that leaky roof for fear of a costly repair bill. With flexible financing options, Capitol Improvements ensures that you can replace your roof quickly and affordably before the leaks create more extensive--and more expensive--damage.

If you notice your roof leaking, don't ignore it! Call your roofing contractor right away, and follow the 10 steps below to manage roof leaks until help arrives.

1. Minimize Interior Damage

After you’ve called a roofer to schedule a professional repair (or if it's the weekend or after closing time), the first step in managing a leaking roof is minimizing the damage to the interior of your home.

This means rearranging the furniture, removing valuable or cherished items from the area, and covering floors and walls with waterproof materials such as a spare tarp or plastic garbage bags.

Soak up any standing water from the floor before covering the area with your waterproof covering to avoid trapping moisture against the surface. If water from the leaking roof is dripping down an interior wall, you can apply a plastic barrier to the wall, as well.

If you notice the ceiling dipping or bulging as though it is full of water, properly protect the surrounding area and poke a small hole in the ceiling to release the leak. This will help prevent further damage to the surrounding drywall.

Next, place a large bucket or other container beneath the leak to catch falling water. Make sure to surround the container with protective plastic, and don't leave the area unattended for too long. Even a large bucket can fill up faster than you might expect.

2. Investigate the Attic or Crawlspace

If you have access to an attic or crawlspace, grab a flashlight and climb up. You can track the leak within your attic or crawlspace based on where it appears in the ceiling below. However, keep in mind that the way water travels from a leaking roof can be deceptive.

Water from a leaking roof doesn't travel in a straight line. Instead, a roof leak typically causes water to travel from the damaged roof downwards towards the nearest joint. From there, the leak will find an escape route, where it creates the leak you see in your ceiling. This escape route is usually a weak spot in the ceiling's drywall or the opening for a fixture, such as a vent or ceiling lamp.

This makes finding the cause of a leak in the roof itself difficult, even if you find where the water appears to be entering the attic or crawlspace. But this step can still help you better pinpoint where the water is entering the home. It also gives you the opportunity to create another barrier to stop the water from reaching the ceiling.

To create the barrier, first lay a piece of plywood across the joists within your attic or crawlspace, and place a large bucket on top to catch dripping water. Don’t place the bucket directly on the drywall between joists, as it may break through the drywall when it fills with water. Remember to go up regularly to empty the water!

3. Redirect Leaking Water with a Bottle Funnel

fix a leaking roof fix roof leaking

If you’d rather not deal with emptying a bucket or other container every couple of hours, a bottle funnel can redirect water outside the house, instead. The bottle funnel solution can be used inside the home, where the leak is entering through the ceiling, but is best applied within the attic to most effectively deter water damage.

To create a roof leak funnel, grab an empty plastic jug or large bottle. Cut the bottle in half so that you have a wide opening on one end and the bottleneck on the other.

Next, grab a hose. It will need to be long enough to reach from the location of the roof leak to the nearest window or exit.

Using duct tape or other strong adhesive, attach one end of the hose to the bottleneck end of your funnel. Using the same strong adhesive, position the wide end of the funnel over the leak and attach it securely in place.

Now, you can place the other end of the hose outside via a window or door, and the water should flow through the funnel safely out of the house.

4. Examine from a Distance

After you’ve temporarily minimized the damage to your home’s interior, including the attic or crawlspace, it’s time to take a look at the roof from outside of your home.

Again, tracing the source of a leak from the point in the ceiling where water comes through can be difficult. Examining the roof itself can help you connect the dots. You may be able to spot potential problems from close up, or you may need to step back and look at the whole roof.

To do this, you can use binoculars to "zoom in" on your roof from across the street or across the lawn. This is easier and more effective for sloped roofs, since it can be difficult to see the top of your flat roof from the ground.

Signs of a damage may be obvious using this method—a tree limb that’s fallen on the roof, or a missing shingle—or you may need to go in for a closer look to examine the cause of the leak.

5. Look for These Causes of a Roof Leak

If you feel comfortable and confident doing so, the next step is going onto your roof to inspect the area and find the cause of the roof leak.

If you have an especially high-up or steeply-sloped roof, it’s best to manage a leaking roof from ground level and wait until professional help arrives. However, if your roof is relatively low to the ground, and you have the necessary equipment to follow roof safety precautions (see step 10), you may choose to investigate the situation yourself.

Once you’re on top of the roof, look for these potential causes of a leak:

  • Aged or brittle roofing materials.

Roofing materials naturally deteriorate as they age, gradually becoming less and less effective at protecting the home from water damage.

Look for patches of roof that look especially brittle or damaged by age (lifting edges, crumbling materials, melted tar).

  • Damaged flashing.

Metal roof flashing is used at roof joints and transitions where water flows heavily or where absorption may occur. Flashing is an important part of protecting your home from roof leaks, and aged or damaged flashing is a common cause of leaking roofs.

Look for flashing where your roof joins a dormer, where the chimney travels through the roof, and around the edges of features like skylights and vents.

Examine flashing for sections that have slid out of place due to missing nails, or portions that have lifted because of dried and cracked caulking.

  • Missing or lifted shingles.

If you have a shingled roof, it may be susceptible to damage from strong winds and heavy rain or snow. Severe windy weather can lift a weak shingle and even tear it off completely.

If a shingle is lifted or missing, your roof is susceptible to water absorption in that spot.

While examining your roof, look at your shingles to make sure they’re each laying flat and flush, and that none of them are missing.

  • Pooling water on flat roofs.

If you have a flat roof, your roof is made of waterproof membranes, and it is positioned at a slight angle (usually about a 1% slope) to help shed water.

However, waterproofing materials can age or become damaged, causing water to shed less effectively.

If you have a flat roof, pooling or standing water can be a major cause of a leaking roof.

  • Debris on the roof.

Another way windy and inclement weather can cause roof leaks is by creating a buildup of litter on the roof. Leaves, pine needles and twigs can create a layer of debris that traps water against the roof surface and eventually causes it to seep through. Look for piles of debris on your roof that could be causing a leak.

Additionally, look for larger debris—like fallen tree limbs—that could have punctured or weakened roofing materials upon impact.

  • Blocked gutters.

Your roof’s gutters are critical in keeping water from pooling and soaking through roofing materials. They keep rain and melted snow flowing the right direction—downwards off the roof.

If your gutters are blocked by leaves or other debris, water won’t be able to escape and may cause a roof leak.

6. Clear Away Leaves and Small Debris

If you notice any leaves or other small debris piling up on your roof or blocking gutters, gently sweep the debris off the roof, or reach into the gutter to dislodge the blockage.

Make sure to tend your roof and gutters carefully, as aggressive sweeping or shaking of gutters can cause even more extensive damage.

7. Remove Fallen Tree Limbs

Next, if you notice large fallen tree limbs, carefully remove the large debris while paying attention to the potential damage underneath. You will need to cover any holes or areas of damage caused by the fallen limb.

You may not always be able to remove large tree limbs or debris on your own, and that's OK. Some roof debris will need to be broken down into smaller pieces, which is best left to the experts.

If a tree limb cannot be removed safely--for example, if you can't lift the limb without becoming destabilized, or if moving the limb could cause more damage to the roof--simply cover the area as best you can (see step 9) to prevent further water from entering through the roof.

8. Sweep Away and Soak Up Standing Water

If you find an area or multiple areas of pooling or standing water on your flat roof (or low-sloped roof), carefully sweep water downwards off the roof. Remember to use a soft broom and not sweep too aggressively, especially if you have a flat roof that can be easily damaged by scratching and gouging.

Be mindful not to step or put pressure on the area where water has been pooled, as it may be weakened.

To further reduce potential water damage, you can use a mop or towels to soak up any remaining pooled water.

9. Use a Tarp or Plastic Sheet to Cover the Area

Whether you find a damaged shingle, pooling water on the roof, or a fallen tree limb, you’ll need to repair the area temporarily until help can arrive. The simplest and most effective way to do this on your own is with a tarp (or a sheet of polyethylene sheeting) and several two-by-four wooden boards.

First, sandwich each side of the plastic sheet between two boards. Nail the two boards together on each side so that the plastic sheet is help firmly in place. You should now be able to pull the sheet tight and set down the boards so that it lays flat.

  • If you have a flat roof, simply spread the tarp out evenly across the damaged area with plenty of room on each side. Set down the boards to hold the covering in place.
  • If you have a sloped roof, you can place one set of boards (one side of the tarp) over a peak in the roof to anchor the covering in place.

When placing a tarp over your roof to temporarily cover a leak, make sure to do so gently and without putting too much pressure in any one spot on your roof. Do not nail or staple the tarp directly to the roof materials, as this can create further leaks.

Make sure the boards are heavy enough on all sides to hold the sheet in place and prevent wind from lifting the sheet from underneath. Boards that are not firmly in place can be hazardous to both your roof and to your neighbors.

After placing the tarp, you will need to periodically check on the solution—especially if you have a flat roof—to make sure water isn’t pooling within the tarp.

10. Follow These Rooftop Safety Tips

roof leaks rooftop safety

Before going up on your roof to look for the cause of a leak or to temporarily fix a leaking roof, make sure to review and follow these rooftop safety tips.

If you don’t have the tools necessary, do what you can to manage the leak from inside the house and ground level until professional help arrives.

  • Don’t take risks.

If you’re fearful of heights or have a particular steep and/or high-up roof, or a roof made of slate or tile, it’s best to manage roof leaks as best you can from inside the house and attic without going up on the roof.

Fixing a roof leak isn’t worth the potential damage—to yourself and to your roof—you could cause if you’re not well prepared.

  • Wait for better weather.

When you notice your roof leaking, chances are high that it’s raining or has been raining heavily.

While it can be tempting to go up to the roof immediately to check things out, you should always wait until the weather clears up and is no longer rainy, windy, or showing signs of lightning.

  • Follow the buddy system.

We recommend never going up on your roof alone. If there’s an accident of any kind, you need someone there to help. A partner can also be helpful when you need materials passed up to you from below.

  • Use your ladder correctly.

Make sure your ladder is in good condition, and set it on a firm and level surface. Your ladder should extend at least three rungs above the edge of your roof so that it can be easily accessed on the way down.

Have someone hold the bottom of your ladder while you ascend and descend to help keep the ladder stable. You can also apply tie-down straps from the gutter spikes to the ladder to reduce movement.

Avoid carrying anything up or down the ladder.

  • Wear the right gear.

Any time you go on the roof, you need to wear solid shoes or boots with rubber soles and superior traction to help reduce slipping. In some states, a safety harness is required to work on roofs that are more than 10 feet high. If the sun is out, make sure to also wear a long-sleeved shirt and sunscreen to protect you from damaging rays.

What Happens if You Ignore a Roof Leak?

Knowing how to temporarily repair roof leaks and manage water damage until help arrives is important. But even more crucial is getting the damaged roof fixed by a professional as soon as possible. Here is what can happen if you choose to ignore a roof leak—even a relatively minor one—instead.

  • More expensive repairs.

Ignoring a leak won’t make it go away. On the contrary: ignoring a roof leak will inevitably mean more expensive repair bills later on, once the damage has become more severe.

  • Mold.

Adding onto those repair bills, ignoring a roof leak can lead to a costly and unpleasant mold remediation process. Mold is not only a hazard to your home, but if ignored, mold exposure can also lead to allergic reactions and illness in both people and pets.

  • Decreased roof lifespan.

Roof replacements are a taxing process, and not one that anyone wants to experience too often. While all roofs will have to be replaced at some point, a consistently leaking roof will have to be replaced sooner.

Professional Leak Management with Flexible Financing

fixing roof leaks with professional roof repair

The best way to manage leaks is with the help of professional roofers. While you can mitigate the damage from a roof leak in the short term, the only way to truly repair a leak is with professional materials and application.

Capitol Improvements is an award-winning roofing provider with more than 30 years of experience in roof repair. Best of all, we offer flexible financing to help you fix that roof leak right now, rather than later.

Our Comprehensive Guide to Flat Roofs: Materials, Application, Design and More

flat roof guide

Flat roof systems require special attention that pitched roofs do not. If you own a home with a flat roof, it’s important to understand flat roof materials and construction, maintenance requirements, and everything else involved in taking care of your roof.


  1. Flat Roof Materials & Construction (top)
  2. Maintenance
  3. Flat Roof Myths and Facts
  4. Flat Roof Financing and Warranty with Capitol Improvements

Flat Roof Materials & Construction

flat roof materials

Homeowners can choose from several different types of flat roof materials, each of which has its own application and construction process, as well as its own pros and cons. The three main types of flat roofs are:

  • Modified Bitumen Systems or MBS, including:
    • Torch-down systems
    • Self-adhering systems
  • Thermoplastic polyolefin or TPO
  • Ethylene propylene diene monomer or EPDM

1. Modified Bitumen Systems (MBS)

Modified Bitumen Systems (MBS)

Modified bitumen roofs are one of the most popular types of flat roof systems in commercial/industrial applications, and they're used residentially, as well. Modified bitumen systems (MBS) have become a popular alternative to built-up roofs (BUR) because MBS is lighter and more durable.

Modified bitumen is a type of bitumen (tar or asphalt) combined with a modifying compound, thus improving its performance. The two most common compounds used to modify roofing bitumen are: atactic polypropylene (APP) and SBS (styrene-butadiene-styrene).

The two common methods for applying modified bitumen flat roof systems are:

  • Torch-Down Application (Torch Application)

Torch-down roof application is the process of adhering levels of modified bitumen (APP type) through the application of high heat.

  • Self-Adhering or Mop Application

SBS modified bitumen can be applied “cold” or without the use of high heat because of the addition of the styrene-butadiene-styrene compound. This process consists of applying self-adhering sheets or mopping the bitumen onto the roof platform.

Lifespan

10-12 years when properly applied in appropriate settings.

Benefits

  • It comes in a variety of different types/applications to suit each home and homeowner.
  • It is less complicated and requires less labor time to install than built-up flat roofs.
  • Less complicated installation also means there is a smaller possibility of errors during installation.
  • It is relatively low-cost.
  • Modified bitumen is more flexible than built-up roofs, making it more elastic and durable against freezing temperatures.
  • It can be recycled at the end of its lifespan.

Drawbacks

  • Torch application requires an open flame to apply, which requires special safety considerations.
  • Extra attention must be paid to overlapping joints and pieces to avoid leaks.

 

2. Thermoplastic Polyolefin (TPO)

TPO roofing is a type of synthetic “rubber roof”, consisting of a single-ply layer or membrane of thermoplastic polyolefin material. TPO is a popular material used in residential flat roofing applications because it is light-weight, highly reflective, and weather-resistant.

It comes in a standard white color, which helps prevent the absorption of heat. TPO roofing is also a popular choice for homes and buildings which have low-pitched (as opposed to flat) roofs because it can improve curb appeal with a unique appearance and is highly energy-efficient.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of TPO roofing is 20 years with proper installation and maintenance.

Benefits

  • It has superior water resistance and leak protection.
  • It is resistant to heat and UV rays.
  • It is relatively cost-effective.
  • TPO is relatively low-maintenance and easy to repair.
  • TPO roofing is 100% recyclable.
  • It offers reduced energy costs, especially in cooling costs.
  • Relatively resistant to tearing and scratching.
  • TPO is very lightweight, so roof decks and joints do not need reinforcement.

Drawbacks

  • TPO will age faster in regions with hotter temperatures.
  • It’s important to make sure your TPO roofing product is high-quality and installed by a qualified professional, since many poor-quality TPO roofing products exist in the market.

 

3. Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

Ethylene Propylene Diene Monomer (EPDM)

 

EPDM, or ethylene propylene diene monomer, is another type of synthetic rubber roofing material. Like TPO, EPDM is commonly used as a single-ply membrane. However, EPDM differs from TPO in several ways.

EPDM is an older roofing technology than TPO, so it is considered more time-tested and trusted. However, EPDM does not offer the same heat-resistance and energy-saving technology as TPO roofing.

Over the years, EPDM roofing has evolved and is now available in peel-and-stick membranes, making for quick application.

Lifespan

The average lifespan of an EPDM rubber roof is 25 years when properly applied in appropriate settings

Benefits

  • EPDM rubber roofing is waterproof (leaks are rare) and highly durable -- EPDM roofing doesn’t scratch easily.
  • Repairs are relatively simple.
  • EPDM is lightweight, so the roof deck typically doesn’t require reinforcement.
  • EPDM roofing has a longer lifespan on average than either TPO or MBS.

Drawbacks

  • Exterior pipes, HVAC systems, chimneys, etc. can cause leaks unless properly flashed.
  • It can be damaged by branches and storm damage.
  • It is more prone to damage from foot traffic during and after installation.
  • EPDM does not reflect heat like TPO.

 

Maintenance

flat roof maintenance

One of the biggest reasons homeowners avoid flat roofs is because they require more maintenance than pitched roofs. However, if you know how to properly maintain a flat roof, you can mitigate this issue and enjoy the benefits of your flat roof without worry.

The following are the most important considerations when it comes to maintaining your flat roof.

1. Traffic Damage

This is number one our list because, to perform any type of maintenance or check on your flat roof, you’ll need to climb up and step foot on the roof. Your weight shouldn’t be enough to cause damage if the roof is properly installed. However, scuffing, scratching, or digging into roofing materials with sharp tools can damage a flat roof’s moisture-protectant layers.

2. Drains and Scuppers

Keeping the roof’s drains and scuppers clear is the second-most important step in maintaining your flat roof. Clogged drains make it impossible for water to drain off of the roof, forcing water to pool up on the roof instead.

3. Leaves and Debris

Gently sweeping the roof to prevent leaves and debris from building up can go a long way in maintaining your flat roof. Especially in the autumn months when leaves begin to fall, you’ll want to make sure you remove them from your roof before they turn to mulch.

4. Low Branches

Check the trees surrounding your house for low-hanging branches that touch--or come close to touching--your roof. These can easily begin to scrape and damage the roof before you have time to notice.

5. Caulking and Flashing

When you check your roof for damage, always check the caulking and flashing. These two parts are easy to replace, but if not maintained, can damage your entire roof system.

6. Professional Help

While some minor damage can be fixed DIY with patch kits from your local home center, larger or deeper cracks and splits require professional tools, experience, and equipment. If you’re not confident that you can seal any damage in a way that is completely watertight, call in a professional contractor for help.

 

Flat Roof Myths and Facts
flat roof myths and facts

 

Flat roofs improve energy savings.

Fact:

TPO flat roofs work to repel UV rays and prevent heat absorption, which means you can spend less money on cooling your home during the hot summer months.

 

Maintenance and repairs are easier on flat roofs.

Myth:

While it may be easier to climb up and walk around on a flat roof, they also require special equipment and knowledge to maintain and repair. Flat roofs also require much more regular maintenance than pitched roofs.

 

Flat roofs add usable space to your home.

Fact:

If you’ve ever been in the upstairs or attic space of a home with a steep-pitched roof, you know just how much space those roofs can take up. Valuable square feet can be saved by choosing a flat roof, which leaves all of the space underneath fully usable.

A flat roof also adds extra usable space to the exterior of a home, whether that means attaching the HVAC unit to the roof or installing a garden or rain buffering system atop your home.

 

Flat roofs are less expensive to install or replace.

Myth:

Because they require special training and expertise to install correctly, flat roofs are typically more expensive to install or replace than pitched roofs.

 

Flat roofs are perfectly flat, so they can’t shed water.

Myth:

Building codes usually require even “flat” roofs to have a minimum pitch of at least 1%, or ⅛” per 1’. Some building codes even require a slope of at least 2%. This minimum slope is enough to accommodate water runoff and to help prevent water damage. Flat roofs also utilize waterproof membranes to deter moisture.

 

Flat roofs don’t last as long as pitched roofs.

Fact:

Because they are more prone to moisture, debris, and heat damage over time, flat roofs must be replaced more frequently than pitched roofs. However, modern materials like TPO and EPDM have extended the lifespan a great deal in recent decades, and flat roof technology continues to improve.

Flat roofs are a bad idea in hot regions.

Myth:

While they may not last as long in areas of extreme heat, flat roofs made of materials like TPO can work well in even the hottest regions. We recommend TPO because it is white in color and works to reflect heat away from the home. Issues like cracking and blistering usually occur from improper application of roofing materials like modified bitumen and synthetic rubber.

You can replace a flat roof yourself.

Myth:

DIY sites may claim that installing new flat roof materials like TPO and EPDM is simple enough to do yourself, but doing so can result in leaks, damage, and a roof replacement that lasts no more than a few years. Correctly replacing a flat roof requires the proper equipment, as well as professional training and experience.

 

Flat Roof Financing and Warranty with Capitol Improvements
Flat Roof Financing and Warranty with Capitol Improvements

With Capitol Improvements, you can trust your new flat roof to last for years or decades to come.

 

Capitol Improvements Flat Roof Warranty

Material Warranty Period
Modified bitumen 12 years
TPO 20 years
EPDM 25 years

 

Capitol Improvements also offers easy financing for projects like flat roof replacement, with options for great and not-so-great credit.

If you live the DC area, contact us at Capitol Improvements to learn about how you can finance or get started on your flat roof project.

Roof Financing (made easy): Here’s how you can pay for a new roof

easy roof financing

When you need a new roof, you don’t always have the luxury of paying in cash. Leaks and other damage may make roof replacement an immediate necessity, or you might not want to wait to improve your home. If you’re considering installing a new roof, roof financing can help you get there.


  1. Intro to Roof Financing (top)
  2. Roof Financing with Capitol Improvements
  3. Step-by-Step Guide to Roof Financing
    • Know What to Look For in a Lender or Creditor
    • Seek Estimates
    • Create a Budget
    • Compare Financing Options
  4. Financing Options
  5. Financing a Roof with Bad Credit
  6. Is Roof Financing Right for You?

 

Roof Financing with Capitol Improvements

Timberline HD Roof

Capitol Improvements knows that roof financing is often easier said than done. That’s why we work with Enerbank to help you simplify the process of applying for and receiving financing. If you live in Washington D.C., Maryland, or Virginia, we can make roof financing easy with payments from $99/month and a 15-minute phone application process. 

We work with Enerbank USA, a trusted and proven lender that provides home improvement loans. This allows us to provide our customers with flexible payment plans and an easy lending process.

 

Benefits of Financing with Capitol Improvements:

    • Payments from $99/month
    • 15-minute phone or online application process
    • Unsecured (signature) loans – no collateral
    • No prepayment penalties
    • 60-120 month loan terms
    • Low interest financing (based on creditworthiness)

To learn more about all of our financing options, contact us to get your fast and free quote. Otherwise, read on to find out everything you need to know about your other roof financing options.

 

Step-by-Step Guide to Roof Financing

  1. Know What to Look For in a Lender or Creditor

When you’re looking at options for financing a new roof, it’s important to know what to look for in a creditor or lender.

The following checklist will help you in the process of comparing creditors and lenders to finance you roof:

 

    • Low Interest Rates

Determine the interest rate on the loan or credit card for someone with your credit score. The lower, the better. Also check whether the interest rate is fixed or variable—fixed is generally preferable, as variable can mean it increases at any time.

 

    • Fast Funding

Determine how long the approval process will take and how long after that you can expect to receive the loan.

 

    • Low or No Fees

Are there any origination fees, and if so, how much will they cost? Many loans come without origination fees.

 

    • Long Term and Monthly Payments

How long is the loan repayment term, and how much are the monthly minimum payments?  Remember: a longer term means lower minimum monthly payments, but more interest paid overall.

 

    • Lower Minimum or Higher Maximum

Determine the minimum and maximum amount you can borrow with the lender or creditor.


If you need a large lump sum for one major project—like roof installation—a loan with a higher maximum is preferable.

If you’re planning to pay partially in cash and only need to borrow a relatively small amount, you’ll have to make sure the amount you want to borrow is at or above the lender’s minimum.

If you plan on continuing home improvement work, the option to use revolving credit (where you can use the credit over and over again, as long as you keep paying it off), may be a good choice.

    • Collateral or No Collateral

Some loans come with the requirement that you put up collateral against the loan—usually your home or other major belonging. If you’re not prepared to put your home at risk to receive the loan, you’ll want to steer clear of this type of loan.

    • No Prepayment Penalty

Check for the words “prepayment penalty” or "penalties". If the lender charges a penalty for paying off the loan early, that loan is most likely not your best choice.

    • Easy Payment Process

How easy does the lender or creditor make it to make payments? Is there an online portal or autopayments ?

 

2. Seek Estimates

When you’re financing a big project like roof installation, it’s important to borrow only as much as you need. That’s why the next step is seeking estimates for the cost of your roof installation.

If you already know which roofing company you want to work  with, and you trust their estimate for the work, you may not need to compare several different options.

However, if you haven’t worked with a company before, it is wise to compare several estimates from different companies to find the most competitive rate for the highest-quality work. Estimates should always include the cost of materials, as well as labor.

 

3. Create a Budget

Once you know how much the roof work will cost, it’s important to create a budget to hone in on how much you need to borrow.

Even a simple budget can help you determine how much wiggle room you have to pay cash up front and how much you can afford to pay monthly on a loan or credit card.

 

 

4. Compare Financing Options


The fourth step in financing your new roof is comparing different types of financing. You already know what to look for when it comes to a lender or creditor and their service terms, but you also have the following sources of financing to consider:

 

Company Financing

roof financing with a company

Home improvement companies often offer their own options to simply the task of financing a new roof.

Capitol Improvements works with Enerbank, which lets homeowners more easily apply for and take out home improvement loans.

Some home improvement companies also offer the option to take out a dedicated credit card for working with their business. Like with a personal loan, you will apply for the credit card via a creditor who partners with the home improvement company of your choice.

Benefits

    • Streamlines the process of completing your roofing work.
    • Usually a signature loan or dedicated credit card, which means there’s no collateral.
    • All of the same benefits of either a credit card or signature loan.
    • Fast application and approval process.
    • May include special terms or offers from the company you’re working with.

Drawbacks

  • For less-qualified applicants, may be difficult to get approved or may end up with high interest rates.
  • May be limited to work with that specific company if it’s a dedicated credit card.  

 

Home Improvement Loan

A home improvement loan is a secured or unsecured personal loan you take on for the purpose of home improvement.

Unsecured Loans: One type of personal loan is a signature loan, which is unsecured. That means that you won’t have to use your home or anything else as collateral to receive the loan. This is the type of loan that many home improvement companies and roofing companies may help you get through their own partner lender, but you can also seek a personal loan independently.

Secured Loans: Secured personal loans--those with collateral to back them up--are also available for home improvement. A secured loan can offer a lower APR but comes with the risk of losing your home if you default on your loan.

 

Wells Fargo
  • Typical APR between 6.99 and 33.99%
  • Typical loan term of 1 to 5 years
  • Loan amounts from $3,000 to $100,000
SoFi
  • Typical APR between 5% and 15%
  • Typical loan term of 3 to 7 years
  • Loan amounts from $5,000 to $100,000
LightStream
  • APRs starting at 4.99%
  • Loan terms up to 7 years
  • Loan amounts starting at $5,000

 

Benefits

  • If you choose a signature loan (unsecured loan) no collateral means the lender can’t take your home if you fail to repay your debt.
  • Fixed interest and a steady monthly payment.
  • Low interest rates for applicants with good credit scores.
  • Borrow up to $100,000 for well-qualified applicants.
  • You can receive funds in as little as a day with some lenders.
  • Usually apply within about 15 minutes over the phone or online.
  • No closing fees like those associated with home equity loans.

 

Drawbacks

    • High interest rates for applicants with bad credit.
    • Applicants may be more limited in the amount they can borrow if they are taking on multiple projects at once.

  • Less-qualified applicants may not be approved for a loan.
  • You may pay an origination fee if you have bad credit.

 

Credit Card

roof financing with credit card

Depending on your credit limit, you can also fund part or all of your roof installation with a personal credit card. This includes existing cards you may have, as well as new cards you take out specifically for the project.

If you’re planning to use a credit card for part or all of your roofing installation, make sure to check your contractor’s credit card limits. Companies usually have to pay fees on credit card transactions, so they may have a limit on the amount they let you put on a card.

Using a credit card to pay for a new roof is best for highly-qualified applicants who are prepared to pay off their debt within a fairly quick period of time (12 to 20 months).

 

US Bank visa Platinum Card
  • 0% for 20 billing cycles on Purchases and Balance Transfers.
  • Then ongoing APR of 11.49-23.49%.
  • $0 annual fee.
Chase Freedom
  • 0% for 14 months on Purchases and Balance Transfers.
  • Then ongoing of 16.49-25.24%.
  • $0 annual fee.
Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
  • 0% for 15 billing cycles.
  • Then ongoing of 11.49-23.49%.
  • 0% annual fee.
Citi Simplicity Card
  • 0% on Purchases and Balance Transfers for 18 months.
  • Then ongoing of 15.49-25.49%.
  • 0% annual fee.  

 

Benefits

  • Many cards offer 0% APR for a year or more, allowing you to pay zero interest if you pay off your debt in that time.
  • Fast application and approval process.
  • No annual fees.

Drawbacks

  • Higher interest rates after the 0% APR period.
  • Must pay off debt faster to avoid high interest rates (20 months as opposed to 60-120 months with a loan).
  • You may not get approved for the total amount that you actually need.
  • High fees if not paid off in time.

 

Home Equity Loan

A home equity loan—not to be confused with a home equity line of credit—is another financing option available to well-qualified applicants. A home equity loan is a lot like a personal loan, but it is secured with the equity in your home. The equity is the current market value of your home minus what you owe on the home. For example, if your home is worth $300,000, and you still have $100,000 left on your mortgage, your equity on the home is $200,000.

Your home equity loan will be calculated by most lenders at 80% of your equity on the home. If your equity is $200,000, the amount you can borrow would be 80% of that, which would be $160,000.

Benefits

  • Homeowners with a high amount of equity on their homes are able to borrow larger amounts.
  • Typically offers a lower APR than a standard personal loan.
  • Fixed APR means you’ll make the same payment every month for the life of the loan.

Drawbacks

  • You put your home at risk if you fall behind on payments.
  • Closing costs and fees can add up quickly on this type of loan.
  • Longer application and disbursement process.
  • Not an option for those with very low equity or no equity on their homes.

 

Home Equity Line of Credit

saving for a new roof

Home equity lines of credit are often confused with home equity loans, but they are not one and the same. Unlike a home equity loan, a home equity line of credit works like a credit card in that you can use the funds repeatedly, as long as you stay under your limit.

 

Benefits

  • Many HELOCs offer a “draw period” of up to 10 years, which is where you only pay interest while drawing funds from the line.
  • Generally lower fees than home equity loans.

Drawbacks

  • Variable APR means your interest rate could rise substantially.
  • An extended draw period means you’ll face higher payments later on.
  • Not available to those with low or no equity on their home.
  • Possible balloon payments at the end of loan term.
  • Origination fees.

Cash-Out Refinance

finance roof with a home equity line

If the cost of your new roof is substantial, cash-out refinance may be one of your best options. A cash-out refinance is where the homeowner takes a new mortgage that’s greater than their existing mortgage, plus settlement costs. In this way, you as the homeowner fold the cost of your new roof in with your mortgage.

Benefits

    • Better interest rate than other loan options.
    • Interest you pay on the loan is tax-deductible.
    • Higher maximum borrowing limit for qualified homeowners.
    • Some homeowners may qualify for cash-out refinance backed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). This is known as an FHA loan.

Drawbacks

  • Bank may charge for property appraisal, document fees, and attorney fees.
  • Increased mortgage amount and mortgage payment term, which can put you at risk of foreclosure if you don’t pay.

 

Financing a Roof with Bad Credit

Roof financing with bad credit

If you have good or even average credit, financing your roof can be fairly straightforward. For homeowners with fair or poor credit, however, the options may be more limited.

If you have bad credit and need to finance a roof installation, you may not qualify for certain loan options, but you can still qualify for loans with higher interest rates.

 

Loan and credit options for low credit scores:  

 

Avant
  • Highly reputable source of low-credit loans.
  • 9.99%-35.99% APR
  • 2-5 year term
  • 4.75% origination fee
  • Funding in one day if approved
One Main Financial
  • Loans with no minimum credit score*
  • 9.99%-35.99% APR
  • 2-5 year term
  • Varying origination fees

*Must earn at least $20,000 per year to qualify.

Digital Federal Credit Union -
  • Visa Platinum Secured Credit Card for low credit
  • 13% variable APR
  • $0 annual fee

 

Capitol Improvements works with Enerbank to make roof financing possible for nearly everyone. If you have fair or poor credit, Enerbank can suggest loan terms and an interest rate that may still make financing worthwhile.  

Is Roof Financing Right for You?

If you can’t pay for a new roof in cash, roof financing may be your best or only option. Roof financing with the right lender is a great choice if you need work done quickly or you want to add value to your home. Armed with all of the information you need to choose a lender and a source of financing, you have everything you need to get started with roof financing.

If you live in the Washington D.C., Virginia, or Maryland area, Capitol Improvements can make financing your new roof fast and easy with payments from $99/month and a 15-minute phone application process. Call today or request a quote to get started today!