LAKEWOOD, Colo. — It’s been one year since a historic hailstorm slammed parts of Colorado and roofing companies say they are still swamped with work.
The storm, which hit the Lakewood and Golden areas in particular, caused an estimated $2.3 billion in damage, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. Initial estimates had put the damage amount at $1.4 billion.
In the year since the storm, approximately 100,600 homeowners’ claims and about 167,000 auto insurance claims have been filed.
“It was a big one; from all indications this was the largest or costliest hailstorm in Colorado history,” said Denny Chadwick, who is the Vice President of Production of AVI Roofing.
Chadwick’s company has performed work on more than 1,000 homes from that storm alone. He says that work will continue for at least another year or two because of the sheer number of claims.
Chadwick says the areas that were hit play a big role in why roofing companies are so busy.
“A lot of these homes are older homes. So, you have very established neighborhoods that have older types of materials used on their property. So those are going to go out faster than the newer homes,” Chadwick said.
Along with repairing and replacing roofs that were damaged in the storm, Chadwick says his company is also busy fixing shoddy work that was done by out-of-state contractors.
“They give us local boys a bad reputation because often times they take money upfront from a homeowner and then they disappear. They don’t get the work done and you can’t find them, you can’t figure out what happened and you’re left holding the bag and you’re trying to get a property back to normal but you’re left with hardly any of the money left,” Chadwick said.
After each bad storm, Chadwick says so-called storm chasers come in and offer to repair homes for cheap. However, some of them are scams where the companies will take the money and run.
Others will perform shoddy work that won’t pass state inspections.
“Roofing companies come out, they don’t know our local codes, they don’t know what’s required and they don’t know that you need ice and water or the nailing pattern and they just don’t do their homework to make sure they’re going to give you a good product and they do a bad job that doesn’t pass the state inspection,” Chadwick said.
Chadwick says with hail storm season upon Colorado, he believes these types of storm-chasing companies will be back. He offered some advice for homeowners:
- Check to see what the company’s rating is with the Better Business Bureau
- Check to see if the company has a license in the Denver metro area
- Check to see if the roofing company pulled a permit with the city. If the permit is in another company’s name, that’s usually a red flag.
- Be wary of companies that go door-knocking and try to get you to sign with them right away
- Never sign with a company immediately. It’s best to get bids from multiple companies before making up your mind
- Never pay the company up front. You can pay them once they bring the roofing materials to your home but never more than half of the project’s cost. The rest should be paid after the job has been done and the roof has been inspected.
- Ask for local references and call them to ask about the work
Chadwick believes there are probably many more homes that suffered damage from the hail storm but the owners haven’t had them checked yet.
“Many times, you can’t actually see the damage. The way a roofing shingle works is it has to break the matting within the shingle to actually cause it to have damage. If it breaks the mat, that’s when you actually have to have it replaced,” Chadwick said. “It’s actually the inside of the shingles and the underlying that’s actually protecting your property.”
Chadwick says he would encourage everyone that saw that hailstorm to have their roofs inspected for free.
“Most companies should do a free inspection for you and then, if you have damage, we can walk you through claim. We can contact the insurance company with you and help you file a claim. If you’ve been scammed, call us and we will do whatever we can to make it right for you,” Chadwick said.
Homeowners usually have about a year after they file a claim to have the work done. However, because so many roofing companies have a backlog, the insurance companies will often be flexible.
Chadwick says it’s important to get your roof fixed before the summer rains come.
“You don’t want to have a lingering problem that could cause mold. If you get a leak started in the house and the shingles are bad, then you could start having mold and that creates even more of an issue on the inside of the home,” he said.
Tuesday is the one-year anniversary of the historic hail storm. The storm was three times more expensive than the most damaging wildfires, which destroyed 346 homes in Waldo Canyon in 2012.