storm damaging roof

Roof Replacement: Tips for Filing an Insurance Claim

Dealing with insurance companies is a frustrating experience. This is a universal truth. Insurance companies don’t like handing out claims and they’ll do whatever they can to deny them. But if you follow this guide, you’ll have a much easier claims process and should have a much smoother transition in getting your life back to normal.

An optional—and definitely optimal—first step is to call a roofing contractor. At NexGen, we’re A+ rated from the BBB and we’ll guide you through the insurance claim process, including essential steps like mitigating damages.

Step One: File Your Claim Immediately!

Before you can file a claim, you’ll need to gather all the necessary paperwork. This is important: make sure you have all the necessary documents when you file a claim. Don’t give them an excuse to deny your claim. Insurance companies have a vested interest in denying or limiting your claim. Don’t let them.

After you gather those documents: Do not wait! The insurance company will tell you that you have up to 1 year to file a claim. While legally true, it’s also a deceptive business practice that allows them to more easily contest your claim.

Step Two: Take Photos of the Damage

Before you do anything else, document the damage caused by the storm with photographs. This is direct visual evidence. By documenting the damage caused by the storm, you’re building an open and shut case against any attempts to deny your claim. Otherwise the insurance company may try to claim that the damage wasn’t caused by the storm, but instead caused by the homeowner for not properly mitigating the damages.

Another tip for homeowners building up a case for an insurance claim is using online resources. For example, while major storms like hurricanes are the biggest cause of roof damage, a hail storm can still cause massive damage to your roof. Sometimes the damage isn’t even visible, like denting and bruising the underlayment and weakening the foundation of the roof itself.

Another major problem with hail damage is that sometimes, although damaged, the roof won’t start leaking right away. If this is the case, you can use a free website like, stormersite.com, which has “hail report” printouts for the past decade, showing particular hail storms at your address (with a date), and providing direct evidence to the insurance company of a hail storm.

Step Three: Mitigate the Damage

You need to mitigate the damage. While the insurance company may have to replace your roof, the onus is on you to “stop the bleeding” and prevent further damage. You can call a roofing contractor to do this for you and the insurance company will reimburse you.

By following these three important steps you’ll save yourself a lot of trouble.

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Roof Maintenance: What, Why, and How

When it comes to properly maintaining a roof, very few homeowners understand what to do, how to do it, or even why they should. It’s not as clear-cut as re-staining a deck, or getting an oil change for your car. But proper roof maintenance is vital to maintain your home’s beauty and, in some cases, it’s essential for its longevity.

Roofing contractors are partly responsible for this. Very rarely will a roofing company explain how to properly maintain the roof they just installed. So let NexGen break this troubling trend and explain two of the most essential forms of roof maintenance.

Remove Those Ugly Algae Stains!

Algae Stains on Roof

When most homeowners decide to give their home a facelift, they’ll consider options like a new coat of paint, vinyl siding, or some landscaping work. But one of the easiest, least expensive, and cost-effective projects is to remove the algae stains from their roofs.

Algae stains—the black streaks and discoloration that appear on older roofs—are a major eyesore for homeowners. Take a look at your roof and the roofs around your neighborhood. You’ll notice all the black stains on all of the older roofs. The primary cause of discoloration is algae stains, which are an especially prominent problem along the Eastern seaboard.

While many premium shingles are designed to prevent that from happening (for example, NexGen uses Certainteed® Landmark® shingles, which come with a 10-year StreakFighter® algae-resistant warranty), a quality roof lasts much longer than that. This will cause a perfectly good roof to look really old and dingy.

While algae aren’t harmful to the roof itself—they’re a major eyesore. To fix this, you can clean your roof with either Chlorine Bleach (simply spray your roof with bleach and wash it away after 15 minutes), or you can use a non-bleach cleaner solution (like, “Wet & Forget”).

Prevent Leaks by Removing Ice Dams!

During the winter it’s essential for homeowners to be on the lookout for ice dams. While icicles may look pretty and picturesque forming along your roof’s edge—they can cause major problems for your roof.

Icicles, by creating an icy buildup, will prevent water from flowing off your roof. When the snow melts and flows down your roof, the water becomes trapped, “dammed” behind them, pools up, and leaks through the shingles (which are designed to protect against water flowing down them—not as a repellent against stagnate water).

Gutter guards can exacerbate the problem. While effective at keeping leaves and other debris from out of your gutters, they’re also prime causes of ice dams. Ice will form on the guards themselves and makes the potential for ice damns much worse.

By following these simple tips for roof maintenance, you can keep your home looking beautiful and also protect yourself from expensive roof repairs.

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Roofing Contractors: What to Look for in a Roofing Company

Before hiring a roofing contractor, you should ask yourself these three important questions. While everyone will know the first one, the others are also extremely important and often neglected. These tips aren’t just relevant for hiring roofing contractors either, so after reading this you’ll make a much wiser decision when hiring any contractor.

1. Are they licensed and insured? This is an obvious question you should always ask about any contractor. However, this is an even more important question for roofers than for other contractors, as a faulty roof can lead to massive problems to your home.

If they mess up and your roof leaks, it’s not just your roof that will need replacing. But all the problems caused by water damage throughout your home—mold, mildew, and replacing drywall and interior walls. The cost can be astronomical and guess who’s stuck with the bill?

You can find our credentials here.

2. What types of materials will they be using? A low quote doesn’t mean a good deal. Not every roofing contractor is going to quote for the same materials. For example, are they using 15-pound felt tarpaper or a synthetic underlayment? Using tarpaper may make for a lower quote, but the quality of the roof is significantly reduced.

You should also consider shingles. Architectural shingles should always be preferred. Three-tab shingles are a cheap way out, but should be avoided. They’re not very durable or long-lasting. While they’re cheaper initially, they’ll cost you more money in the long-run.

Rather than just selecting the lowest quote (which is usually a poor decision), you should consider exactly what types of materials they’re using and make your decision based on value and need. Not just the lowest price.

We list the products we use on our roofing page.

3. Are they manufacturer certified? Both CertainTeed® and GAF® provide certification programs for roofers. Not only do these programs guarantee that the contractor installs the products according to manufacturer guidelines, but these programs also offer benefits for roofing contractors.

For example, as CertainTeed® SELECT ShingleMasters™, NexGen is able to provide a 4-Star Warranty, which includes materials, labor, tear-off, and disposal. We take it even further by guaranteeing workmanship—for life!

There’s no excuse for not being certified.

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Metal Roofs: What are the Benefits?

As their electric bills continue to raise higher and higher, many homeowners are turning toward energy efficient remodeling. Besides installing energy efficient windows, or vinyl siding, another excellent option is a metal roof.

Metal roofs reflect the sun’s rays, decreasing the need for your air conditioner to run, and can even help make your home more temperate without air conditioning at all. Not only do metal roofs decrease your electric bill, but they’re also a green alternative—they’ll help decrease greenhouse emissions and lower your carbon footprint.

But there are other advantages to a metal roof as well.

Reduced cost if you can afford the investment. While metal roofs are initially more expensive than asphalt roofs, they’re much more durable and have a much longer shelf-life than asphalt-shingle roofs. You can reasonably expect your metal roof to last 50-60 years.

Metal roofs come in many aesthetic variations. Vertical panels are the most common style, but metal roofing panels can also resemble wooden shakes, asphalt shingles, and even Spanish tile. They’re also available in a multitude of colors—with lighter colors being the most energy efficient (of course).

Overall, metal roofs are an excellent investment for any homeowner. They’re extremely durable, energy efficient, and can resemble the aesthetic qualities of any other roofing material. The only potential problem with a metal roof is their increased initial cost.

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Keep Mulch a Foot below Home Siding

As spring approaches and gardeners break out their trowels and pruners, many homeowners will start their annual mulching campaigns. The benefits of mulching are innumerable: It helps the soil retain moisture, keeps the soil cool, and provides the soil with essential nutrients. Proper mulching, like a proper gutter system, will also help prevent soil erosion.

Unfortunately, the benefits of mulching are also desirable by termites. These subterranean insects love cool, damp places, where the mulch serves not only as a canopy for their nests, but also as a food source.

Fortunately, following these two simple steps will help mitigate the potential risk of termites while also helping you monitor for termites in the future.

Two Important Steps to Prevent Termite Damage

Step 1: Remove old mulch. This can lead to buildups and it’s bad for the soil. Applying new mulch (or “fluffing” old mulch and combining with new) is more effective at stopping weed growth and it adds fresh nutrients to the soil.

Step 2: Leave mulch 12-16 inches below your home siding. You do not want to create a stairway to termite heaven. Exposing your home’s concrete foundation not only creates a significant gap for the termites to traverse, but it also allows you to notice any “mud tubes” created by termites.

Synthetic Mulch is Not the Answer

Don’t think you’re safe from termites by using synthetic mulch either. Termites love cool, damp places. They may not feed on the mulch, but they’ll still feed on your exterior walls while nesting in the soil beneath the mulch.

Overall, mulch is a great tool for maintaining healthy soil and shouldn’t be avoided because of the termite threat. When you take the necessary precautions, you’re limiting the chance of termite damage while still reaping all the benefits of mulching.