Note: This guest post is by Steven Thomas. As President and Owner of Roof Leak Detection Company, Inc., Steven Thomas has evaluated over 20,000 roofing systems on commercial, industrial, and residential properties, and has been qualified in court as an expert in regards to roof testing and evaluations. His company is an approved Testing Laboratory and has held this certification since 1994.

Recently, I have seen a trend following severe weather events, whether the damage is from hail, wind, or extreme amounts of rain (as will occur in Texas and Louisiana this week), where contractors are applying shrink wrap to roofs, apparently to stop water from entering the building.

When you have a leaky roof, it’s costly to repair. The shrink wrap can certainly provide temporary relief from the immediate problem of water enter the structure. However, every novel idea has its problems as well!

Before you allow anyone to shrink wrap your roof, I have a few suggestions:

  1. Make certain that you take plenty of photographs of any damage that may exist. These photographs are essential to justify the installation of the shrink wrap. If you expect your insurance carrier to pay for the cost of the shrink wrap covering, then it’s fair to show them why it was needed.
  2. If a contractor in Texas guarantees that the insurance company will pay for the shrink wrap, they could be violating Texas insurance laws. Furthermore, ask to look at the photographs of damage. If the contractor doesn’t provide you with any photographs clearly illustrating the suspected damage, then more likely than not they are shrink wrapping your roof for no good reason. You could be out thousands of dollars for something you didn’t need.
  3. With a historic rain event, such as the one in Texas and Louisiana this week, water can find numerous ways to enter a structure. Many times, it is not from a failed roofing system but rather a mechanical component on the roof such as an AC unit, grease trap, or vent pipe. These components could be the reason water entered the building. I have been performing roof moisture surveys (leak detection) for 28 years, and many of the leaks I find are not from the roofing system at all, but rather some mechanical component on the roof. It is always recommended to have someone evaluate your roof who has nothing to gain by what they find!
  4. Make certain the contractor you select to install the shrink wrap is someone who has a long record of working in your area. After a storm event, you will inevitably have a plethora of storm chasers in your area offering their services. Many of these companies prey upon the desperation of the consumer in need. As ridiculous as this may sound, Texas has no licensing requirements for roofing contractors, so you can’t simply file a complaint against their license.As we have witnessed through news coverage, catastrophic events can bring out the best in people. Unfortunately, it can also bring out the worst from unscrupulous people. The age-old adage, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is,” still rings true today.