In the last three days, I've gotten three phone calls from people who are just itching to send people I don't know — and don't want to know — up on my roof. "But Mr. Jowers," said the woman on the line yesterday, "you probably have hail damage, and we can send some inspectors. ... "
Sweet Baby Jesus, save me from itinerant roof inspectors, especially the ones who show up a day or two after a hailstorm. I put in my roof inspecting time over a 20-year period, during which I examined about 5,000 roofs — tall roofs, short roofs, good roofs, bad roofs, roofs covered with pigeons, pigeon crap and broken limbs. I even examined a roof with a love note engraved into the chimney. It was a very sad note, and that's all I've got to say about that.
You eager people trying to deploy "roof inspectors" all over town, listen to me: I am not the knucklehead you're looking for. Don't call me, and I won't call you. If you send people with ladders to my house, and they start trying to get on my roof, I will throw rocks at those people, then snatch down their ladders and lay those ladders down in my front yard until they next big hailstorm comes along.
Good citizens, know this: The "roof inspectors" who come to your house are not your friends. They are not there to inform or enrich you. Chances are, they are (gasp) charlatans. They are there to convince you that your hail-battered roof needs a whole lot of fixing. Days and days of fixing. Maybe a whole month of fixing. And while they're there, they will drink water out of your garden hose and drop cigarette butts — along with the cellophane wrappers — in your yard. (I charge 10 bucks per dropped cigarette butt. Y'all should, too.)
Believe me when I tell you: It is very easy for a desperate "roof inspector" to climb up on a roof, smack the shingles with a hammer a few times, then tell naive homeowners that there are holes all over their roofs.
Which brings me to this: If a telephone solicitor tries to talk you into hiring their "inspectors," hang up the phone and call your insurance company.
If your roof did get clobbered by the hailstorm, you might want to pick up a pair of binoculars and take a look at your roof, from the ground. If your house has dormers, you can stick your head out the dormer windows and look for hail damage. Just so you'll know, I recommend that folks not climb ladders or walk around on roofs. I've seen people fall off ladders and roofs. It's not pretty. You intrepid roof climbers, keep in mind that you have only one skeleton. Don't drop it off a roof with all of your guts in it and all of your skin on it.
Some years back, I thought I had killed my faithful co-inspector Rick. Rick's about 8 feet tall if you measure him from shoe leather to upstretched fingertips. I was on the roof of a low-slung '60s ranch house, hanging onto the chimney and waiting for Rick to deploy his ladder. Just then, I saw Rick's ladder slip from under him, watched his hand disappear from the eave, and then I heard a mighty crash. As it turned out, Rick was hanging by the gutter, with his feet about three inches off the ground. He landed cleanly, and survived.
Now, for you sturdy folks who want to do your own roof inspection, let me recommend that you go into your attic, walk slowly and carefully on your attic floor, and look up at the bottom of your roof decking. If you see wet spots on the decking, you might just have some holes in your shingles. Mind the boards around your chimneys. A lot of Nashville roofers just cobble together the metal flashing that should keep water out of the attic. Note: Never believe a roofer or wanna-roofer who tells you the flashing is hidden behind the brick. I couldn't count the number of roofers who tried to pull the old "flashing's behind the brick" trick.
As for me, I've suffered through three hailstorms: the 2011 microburst, which clobbered daughter Jess' car, and the two hailstorms that followed, dinging up the dings that we'd just paid to fix two weeks earlier.
I'm hoping for clear skies now.
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