Protecting your roof ahead of tropical storms

HOUSTON Believe it or not, there are still roofs around town with blue tarps. We've got some tips on how to keep that from happening to you after the next storm hits.

Roof scams are in the top 10 scams nearly every year, according to the Houston Better Business Bureau, but if you take a few steps you can keep problems from happening.

Marilyn Neely is not worried at all about the next storm that makes its way to Houston.

She said, "I just recently had a new roof put on yesterday."

Neely says contractors found previous storm damage when replacing the roof. She is now a firm believer in getting an inspection before a storm hits.

"I did not do that last time and I suffered the consequences from it," Neely said. "So people need to prepare."

That's the same advice contractors give.

Milt Court with Acumen Contracting said, "Most contractors will do a free inspection. They will come out, go through the home with you and tell you what your concerns are."

Court says at the very least homeowners should take a look at their roofs for missing shingles and loose gutters. Both are signs that a storm could cause major damage. Don't forget to look at your insurance policy.

"Make sure that since Ike that your deductibles have not been raised," Court advised.

If you do find yourself needing a roofing company after a storm, the Houston Better Business Bureau says be careful, because out-of-town contractors will descend on the area.

"Storm chasers will gravitate to areas where there is damage of any sort," said Leah Napoliello with the Houston BBB. "So we are on the lookout for that with these tropical storms and potential hurricanes that are coming to Houston."

Napoliello says the agency is now asking to see copies of the contracts of accredited roofers to make sure the documents include the three-day right of rescission that allows consumers to cancel a contract without penalty. Napoliello says if you need a roofer do not be pressured into signing contracts, and get copies of all paperwork.

"That's the main thing, the contract as well as watching out for any company that requires you to pay an upfront fee," she said.

The right to rescind a contract during a three-day window is required by the Texas Home Solicitation act. Do not sign a contract without it and do not fall to high pressure sales pitches that ask you to sign up right now.

To protect your roof now, take a look at the trees around your home. If they are rubbing against the roof they could cause a problem, but you probably want to hire someone to take care of that for you, so do that now.

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