After hurricane Harvey, roofing cost in the impacted areas has seen a major increase. Still, homeowners in Houston and surrounding regions are scrambling to find a contractor to repair or their damaged roofs. Storm chasers have flooded in, offering to “do your roof in one day” and even “pay your deductible”, as demand for roofing work spiked 4 times from its normal levels.
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Since there aren’t enough local contractors available due to high demand, homeowners are faced with higher roofing prices combined with questionable labor quality and often lack of any substantial warranty. Here is what you need to know to not get ripped off, and get a properly installed roof.
How are roofing prices in Houston affected by hurricane Harvey?
Before Harvey, the average new roof cost in Texas was $2.93 per square foot or $4,719 for a 1600 sq. ft. house, with tear-off of 1 layer of old shingles. This was about 11% lower than the national average. After Harvey, both material and installation prices went up and are now on par with the rest of the country, which is about $3.28 per square foot.
Since the demand is up by an estimated 374% or more, roofing material prices spiked (across the US, but especially in TX). As of Sep 20, 2017, the benchmark architectural shingles are up 10-15% from July 2017.
However, as most work will be paid for by insurance companies, they set the rates using Xactimate software, so with adjustment for increase in materials, the real prices should not go up more than 5-10 percent.
Essentially, since insurance companies control how much contractors charge, they won’t let the prices skyrocket, which in this case, is a good thing for homeowners. However, with already huge losses that insurance companies have as a result of Harvey, they will make every move in the book to pay out as little as possible. Therefore we HIGHLY recommend that homeowners use Public Adjusters when negotiating a claim.
We estimate that current rates to install asphalt shingles should be about $3.10-3.30 per square foot. Keep in mind that these numbers are for 1 floor ranch type house, with a walkable roof, removal and replacement. More cut-up homes may add between $0.45 to $0.79 to the total square foot cost.
Roof repair in Houston has also become a challenge due to the same reasons: lack of roofers and higher prices. Current roof repair cost averages $460-1,000 depending on the amount of damage done.
Houston homeowners should be cautious – avoid storm chasers
While it is important to have a roof over your head, that roof should also be properly installed, so it can last as long as possible, regardless of who is paying the bill – you or your insurance company. In times like these, there are hordes of unscrupulous roofers flooding the area, looking to make a quick buck (or many thousands).
These storm chasers have one mode of operation – get as much work done, as fast as possible. Under such conditions, you can hardly expect to have quality work, which will result in premature failure of your roof.
The reality is – once a storm-chasing roofer installs the product, they are gone! You will never see them again, and if (most likely when) there are problems, they won’t come back to fix the leaks, and you have no repercussions.
The best option is to “wait out the storm” and work with a local roofing company that will be around, in case any problems arise.
What to do if your roof is damaged?
Be patient – wait it out, and when ready, hire a LOCAL roofer. You can start now by also hiring a Public Insurance Adjuster to help negotiate your claim.
Note: If you NEED to have your roof covered, pay a contractor to put a tarp over your house. This will cost you a few hundred bucks, which you most likely can get back from your insurance.
1) If your roof has damage, but is not leaking (badly) we highly recommend waiting for a month or two, until demand goes down and all the out-of-town storm chasers leave. That is when you can get a local company to do the work.
2) Hire a Public Insurance Adjuster (PA) to work with the insurance company on your behalf, to get you the most you deserve. On average, homeowners who use PAs get 20% more money from their insurance carrier than those without representation, even after a PA gets their typical 10% commission.
3) Once your claim is negotiated, get several quotes from local roofers to do the work. Choose the company you are most comfortable with, and the price that makes sense for you.
4) When getting quotes, consider not just shingles, but also a more permanent AND hurricane proof roofing material.
Hurricane-proof roof materials
The best roofing material to install if you live in a hurricane prone area is metal. While shingles are the cheapest option, you should consider investing into a metal roof because it will not get damaged when another storm hits. With over 20 different styles, and excellent wind resistance of up-to 130 mph, long life and great energy efficiency, we think metal roofing should be the prime choice for any new or retrofit job.
However, metal is not the cheapest material around. A steel roof in Texas costs about double that of asphalt or $9850 for a 1610 sq. ft. job ($6.12 per square foot).
However, there are definitely more budget friendly metal roofing options. For example, corrugated R-Panel (5-Rib) and 5V-crimp metal panels cost only 20-30% more than architectural shingles ($3.5 – $3.8 per sq. ft.) This is a VERY reasonable for a roof that lasts 30-50 years. This budget material still provides all the benefits that a classic metal shingles or standing seam roof has to offer (albeit these two are not very pretty due to exposed fasteners). You can purchase corrugated metal panels at a local Home Depot or Lowes.
Another option is to have a clay or concrete tile roof installed. However, your house may not be suitable for tile, which weights about 8-9 lbs per square foot, and requires a specially designed house frame, to withstand all that weight. You need to consult a structural engineer to see if roof tiles will work for you, but in most cases they will be just too heavy for your home.
Tile roofs also cost more than metal – about $9.17 per square foot in TX and $10.27 per foot nation-wide.
Typical demand for roofers in Houston, TX
Houston is the 5th largest metro area in the US, according to 2010 census, with nearly 6,000,000 people living in the city and suburbs. There are an estimated 4,000-6,000 roofing contractors in the metro area, each doing about 2 roofs per week. This means that between 32,000 to 48,000 roofs get replaced every month!
According to our data from Sep 1 to Sep 20, 2017 the number of homeowners searching for roofers in Houston went up 374% from its normal levels. This means there are at least 200,000 roofs that need immediate replacement or repair, which equates to 322,000,000 of square feet of roofing that has to be installed in a short period of time.
Just imagine all the logistics that go into doing this much work:
- Suppliers need to deliver 4-5 times more materials than average
- Distributors need to process, sell and deliver materials to the job site
- Roofers must tear off old shingles and install new roofs.
Sometimes a crew does 2 roofs a day, while sleeping in local motels and often in their cars, as there aren’t enough rooms to go around. These guys get paid well, but they are also very tired from constant work. Often delivery trucks do a driveway drop of materials, so roofers must carry 80 lb. shingle bundles, up the ladder on their shoulders. And this will be going on for several more weeks, without weekends, in the 90-100 degrees heat.
All this, while there is a major clean-up and restoration going on all over the city.
Average Roof Replacement Cost:
I've been a roofer for 15 years, and specialize in Metal Roofing and Flat Roofing.
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