Tree Damage and Roofs

Damaging winter storms take a toll on your roof?

MRA offers essential advice for homeowners seeking roof repairs, replacements. Consider these questions to make a wise decision, eliminate hassles and headaches of a re-roofing job

Imagine waking up to the nightmare scenario of a tree crashing onto (or through) your roof.

During the latest severe winter weather conditions, that was the frightening reality for many northwest homeowners. A combination of heavy ice and strong winds toppled large trees and tore off massive limbs, resulting in major roof damage-and sometimes even worse-for hundreds of homeowners. Throughout the country, other regions are continuing to battle sub-zero freezing temperatures, heavy snow and ice.

As homeowners face having to repair and clean up extensive winter storm damage, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA), the nation's leading industry trade organization, offers practical advice for repairing or replacing your roof.

According to MRA, the first step is to decide what roofing material will work best for your home, given your regional climate conditions, performance needs and style preferences (see fact sheet below for more information). Take advantage of free guides and resources to help compare and learn more about different types of roofing materials and quality installation practices. And before hiring any renovation company, installer or contractor, be sure to check with your insurance company and vet them properly.

“The best quality roofing material is only as good as the installation, so don't be afraid to ask tough questions of your installer,” said Renee Ramey, MRA executive director. “Credible pros will welcome the opportunity to answer questions and should be happy to provide as much information as you need to help you feel confident about your decision.”

Questions to ask before hiring a roofing contractor

Determining material preference first is important because some installers may only be experienced or prefer dealing with a certain type of material, pushing you to choose something that might not be in your best interest long-term. Once you've decided on material, approach at least three installers to compare bids, experience, project details and claims. Be thorough and ask these questions before hiring or approving bids:

  •   How long have you and your company been in business?
  •   Are you and your crew licensed, bonded and insured?
  •   What is your experience working with my preferred roofing materials?
  •   Can you provide three project examples and references from recent jobs you've completed?
  •   What steps will you take to protect my property, home and landscaping during the process?
  •   What is the brand/manufacturer of the materials you'll be using? How long have they been in business and how long have you been working with them? What is their track record?
  •   What kind of product and installation warranties are offered, are they transferable and how long is the product guaranteed to last?
  •   What verifiable safety, performance and environmental standards, testing and regulations does the manufacturer adhere to?
  •   What type of performance ratings does the product have for conditions such as severe weather and fire protection?
  •   What customer service support do you and the manufacturer offer should an issue, problem or question arise?
  •   Does the manufacturer have favorable reviews from other customers and credible, third-party business rating organizations? Are they members of industry-leading trade organizations, such as the MRA?

Beware of any contractor who demands cash or full payment upfront, has no physical address or identification, steers you to a specific lender, tries to act as the intermediary by asking to file insurance claims on your behalf, or wants your personal financial information prior to starting the process. Verify their web and physical address, look up online reviews and ask for references, get cost estimates, schedules and other agreements in writing (in advance) and ensure they have the right permits. Also, if applicable, don't forget to check with your HOA to refresh yourself on any design or project rules or requirements before the job starts and communicate clearly with the contractor so that they are aware.

Top 6 considerations for how to choose the right roof for your home

Re-roofing is a big investment, and it is not a project any homeowner wants to undertake more often than necessary. To help ensure long-term performance and reliability, MRA suggests homeowners consider these factors before replacing their roof:

  1. Based on my region, what are the best options for protecting my home?
    To get the best roof, plan for the worst. Hurricanes, tornadoes, wildfires, snow, hail, ice, driving rain and winds: consider the challenges in your region and make sure your roof is designed to withstand them. Be sure to consider needed accessories such as snow guards, heavy duty gutters and water and fire-proof underlayment that can provide extra security and performance.

  2. What are the ongoing maintenance needs and requirements?
    No matter what the material, all roofs typically look great when they are brand new. But certain materials such as asphalt, shake and clay can be particularly prone to maintenance issues such as moss, algae and fungus especially in wet and humid climates. Left unchecked, these issues are at best unsightly and at worst, shorten the lifespan and cause serious damage to a roof. Regular, professional treatments can be expensive and environmentally harmful. Ask about low maintenance options such as metal roofing that often require just plain water and gentle soap to keep looking great.

  3. Beyond warranties, what credible, third party ratings can verify performance?
    Warranties are very important, including both material and labor. Beyond that, make sure a roof is rated by independent, credible sources for fire and hail resistance, as well as energy efficiency. For example, roofs that carry a Class A fire rating add up to great peace of mind when it comes to wildfire protection. Be sure to ask your installer about energy efficient materials, proper insulation and underlayment designed to meet or exceed regional building codes for ongoing savings and protection.

  4. What are my choices for a strong, yet structurally sound, roof?
    There are lots of strong roofing options out there, including slate and clay, but these heavyweights may require additional reinforcement (and expense) of a roof's underlying structure. Snow and ice loads can add significantly to that weight. Metal offers superior strength, yet is much lighter per square foot, so additional structural reinforcements typically aren't necessary and metal roofs come in a wide variety of styles, patterns, colors, and textures.

  5. Who is the manufacturer and what is their reputation?
    For roofs designed to last and deliver carefree performance and protection, quality matters. The cheapest bid is often not the best deal. Learn more about the material being proposed, where it is sourced and whether the manufacturer has a solid reputation and will stand behind their products. Be sure they use high quality techniques and materials. For example, high tech paint and coatings can make a huge difference in the durability, performance, and ongoing maintenance of a roof.

  6. What are the most sustainable roofing choices?
    Consider the lifecycle of a roof, from tear off to manufacturing to longevity. Some materials, like metal roofing, can be installed right over an older asphalt roof to avoid tear off and landfill waste. They also can be 100% recycled at the end of their long life and last up to 50+ years, three times longer than other roofing types. In addition, quality metal roofs with high performance coatings offer among the best energy efficiency of any roofing material.

For more information and a comprehensive Buyer's Guide available as a free download, check out