Though it took only seconds for Monday’s storms to ravage hundreds of homes and businesses across central Oklahoma, property owners should take their time in hiring roofers and other contractors to repair the damage, say experts in the homebuilding industry. Consumers should be wary of potentially shady storm chasers who invariably will pour into the area, said Mike Curtis, owner of Crossroads Roofing Supply. "If they’re not from here, you run the risk of putting a roof on, something going wrong and their not being able to come back to fix it,” Curtis said.
Watch low bidsMoreover, low bids, he said, could come from thieves who stole their materials from others’ driveways and roofs. Such robberies have occurred within the past several weeks in the metro area, Curtis said. "Say a reputable company offers to roof your house for $15,000, and a company you’ve never heard of says they’ll do it for $10,000. Just asking where they got their stuff could stop you from contracting thieves,” he said. Eric Ingram, co-owner of Aegis Roofing, advises homeowners against signing anything they don’t understand or paying upfront for work. "A contractor may say, ‘Sign this so we can take a look at your roof,’ and the document could say they’re the sole contractor to do work on your roof,” Ingram said. Reputable contractors, he said, should have an ample credit line to cover materials and labor. Mark Dale, president of the Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association, recommends homeowners and contractors outline the scope and cost of the job, and when it will be done. "Even if it’s a one-page crude document, get it in writing,” Dale said. Tuesday, Curtis’ and Ingram’s staff and crews were working feverishly on temporarily covering holes in people’s roofs, until insurance adjusters could make on-site visits and claims be filed. By 10 p.m. Monday, Crossroads had sold all its 150 tarps and numerous boxes of nails that hold plastic sheeting. Curtis said his 20 employees reported at 6 a.m. Tuesday to start delivering materials that go under shingles to area homes. Immediately after the storm, Aegis began fielding calls from 50 to 60 affected homeowners in Edmond, Mustang, Moore and Choctaw, Ingram said. "We did a sort of triage initially to find out who was in worse shape,” he said. "And then we began covering holes to temporarily keep the rain out.” Some homes are unsalvageable, he said, but have contents that need to be protected.
Avoiding shady contractors
• Use local companies that are bonded and insured.
• Get written estimates.
• Check references.
• Be wary of upfront cash requests. SOURCES: Central Oklahoma Homebuilders Association, Aegis Roofing, Crossroads Roofing Supply.