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It is time to schedule a report on grading your deck, roof, trees by your home or business – Would it receive an A, meaning it should give you years of trouble-free service, or would it receive a D, meaning it’s a disaster waiting to happen? Injuries from roof, ceilings and deck disasters number in the thousands every year. We are posting some tips on our website to help you grade your home or business structures. The information in the article represents nationally recognized best practices.
What grade would your deck, roof, and potential tree damage receive around your business and home? This is the time to get out the notebook and access the damage, especially after the last couple really hard winters in Michigan.
Prevent the threat of a business or home disaster – Assess each potential trouble spot – Would it receive an A, meaning it should give you years of trouble-free service, or would it receive a D, meaning it’s a disaster waiting to happen?
Injuries from roof, ceilings and deck disasters number in the thousands every year. Here are some tips to help you grade your home or business.
The information in this article represents nationally recognized best practices.
Most catastrophic deck collapses occur because the deck pulls away from the house. The two most common reasons that decks pull away are wood rot where the deck attaches to the house and improperly installed fasteners used to attach the deck to the house. These two reasons often act together so make sure to check the wood is still solid and that the fasteners are not rusted and decayed.
If your roof is damaged from the winter storms, hail storm, hurricane, tornado, by falling branches or debris, or other incident, your homeowners insurance policy may cover the cost of repair or replacement. Here are some tips on filing an insurance claim that can help to speed the process and get your roof restored quickly.
Look for a direct roof drip
If you spot a drip coming through your ceiling check for roof damage directly above the leak. If you don’t spot physical water but still think something is amiss look for signs of a roof leak which include a black marks or water staining in the ceiling. You’re more likely going to find the leak with a roof that has a small slope or is flat then a highly vaulted roof.
Check the attic for damage
If you have an attic grab a flashlight and crawl up there to check for black marks, mold or most commonly water stains. Each of these are common evidence of an apparent leak. The source of the leak will likely be near.
Conduct a visual roof inspection
Look for damaged or missing shingles near the suspected leak area. Any exposed roofing tacks will also be a sign of trouble. If shingles easily come off the roof, or if they break or crumble when they are touched then you’ve likely found the spot of the leak. If this happens all over the roof it may be time for roof replacement.
Check roof penetration sites
Look at the areas near roof penetrations, such as vents, chimney or pipes. These areas are more commonly subject to damage because they stick up from the roof and will catch debris in wind. If these areas get damaged they may unfortunately, require expensive repairs.
If you’re able to identify the location of the roof leak call a licensed roofing company to have the problem repaired. If you are can’t find the cause of a roof leak but still believe there is an issue, don’t delay in calling the roofer to have a second set of professional eyes double check the situation. A professional roofing contractor can help by providing a detailed damage report and a detailed repair estimate
Check for stress cracks. There’s no exact method for determining how serious a wall crack is without hiring an expert to examine the wall, but you might be able to analyze the crack and surrounding area to determine whether it’s likely a surface blemish or a larger problem. Houses usually settle during the first few months and even years after construction, so minor wall cracks are likely. However, gaping cracks, separation and horizontal crack lines might be signs that the issues are more severe.
To determine how serious a crack might be, it’s best to examine the shape of it. If the crack is vertical to the drywall and starts near the apex where the wall and ceiling meet, it might be a sign that it was created when the foundation settled after construction. Vertical cracks run the same direction as drywall, generally making them less serious. If the crack is horizontal or runs at a jagged 45-degree angle, it might mean there’s a more serious problem such as severe foundation shifting or water damage. Surface-blemish cracks can often be repaired with drywall putty, sanding tools and a fresh coat of paint. More severe cracks usually require professional help to determine the exact cause and might include some reconstruction to prevent further damage.
Falling trees and limbs cause millions of dollars in damage each year. Whether a tree on your property falls during Hurricane Sandy or another natural disaster, the question usually is – does home insurance cover the damage? The answer is, ‘it depends.’ Insurance Administration says; ““Each homeowner should look at their homeowner’s policy or talk with a representative from their insurance company to find out what the policy specifically covers, ” Homeowners should also be sure to know what the policy deductible is, and any dollar limits on the amount of damage the policy will cover.”
Some trees are more prone to storm damage than others. A shallow-rooted tree growing in a soft soil can easily topple onto a building in strong winds. A tree’s roots also can become weakened after heavy rains, elevating the risk. Have an arborist check trees to assess their resistance to storm damage.
These potential problems are easy to spot:
- Cracks in the trunk or major limbs
- Hollow and decayed trees
- Trees that look one-sided or lean significantly Branches hanging over the building near the roof Limbs in contact with power lines
- Mushrooms growing from the bark, indicating a decayed or weakened stem
- V-shaped forks rather than U-shaped ones. V-shaped are more likely to split
- Crossing branches that rub or interfere with one another
Good pruning can prevent many problems.
Prompt removal of diseased, damaged, or dead plant parts help limit the spread of harmful insects and disease, as well as reduce the possibility of future storm damage. Experts offer these pruning tips:
- Check local tree regulations prior to pruning or tree removal.
- Avoid pruning branches flush to the trunk. Doing so removes not only the limb but also some of the trunk wood, exposing the plant to decay or insect damage.
- Begin pruning by making a cut partway through the bottom of any limb to be trimmed, a few inches from the trunk. Then, cut through the limb just above the first cut. This ensures when the limb falls, it will not tear off a long strip of bark on the way down.
- Finish by cutting off the few inches sticking out from the trunk. Be sure to leave the “branch collar,” the swollen area of trunk tissue that forms around the base of a branch. This protects the main trunk from damage.
It’s also important to care for storm-damaged trees. Take the following steps:
- In general, it is best to reset only smaller trees, since larger trees will be weakened and may fall again.
- Weakened sections of trees and shrubbery can easily be blown around during high winds; causing extensive damage to structures, knocking down utility lines and blocking roads and drains.
- Cut weak branches that could easily be thrown against a structure during high winds. Also, reduce the chances of branches becoming weak by trimming branches more than 5 ft. long. Remove Spanish moss growing on limbs.
- Remove branches hanging over a structure.
- Contact the local utility company to trim away any limbs close to utility lines that could potentially pull down lines or even entire poles. It is important to never touch a wire while trimming.
- Decide what to do with tree stumps.
- If you are going to leave them or have someone grind them, cut the stump off flush with the ground.
- If you plan to remove them, leave 4 ft. of stump standing.
- Removal will be cheaper and easier if stumps can be pulled out instead of dugout.
Generally, a fallen tree must damage your home or property before the insurance company will pay for cleanup and removal. However, some policies provide limited coverage for cleanup and removal of trees if, for example, they fall and block your driveway. This is why it is so important to ensure that your trees are maintained properly – if you need assistance, call Rapid Recovery Service!