If your home is located in the path of a recent hail storm, it’s essential that you have your roof inspected by a certified professional

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Recent hail storms throughout Northeast Ohio have left thousands of homes with a damaged roof that needs replacing. Here’s how Mike Farist’s Roofsmith Restoration is helping area homeowners—from inspections and insurance claims to a brand new, high-quality roof. Plus, learn how to protect yourself from out-of-state scammers. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Mitch Allen

In late March and early April, several bands of thunderstorms tore through Northeast Ohio sending golf ball-sized hail slamming into vehicles and rooftops. The horizontal swaths affected tens of thousands of homes in just about every community between Akron and Cleveland’s southern suburbs.

If your home was in the path of one of these storms, it’s essential that you have your roof inspected, even if there is no visible signs of damage from the ground. A proper inspection means you have to get on the roof and you have to know what you’re looking for. In other words, you need a qualified inspector.

This spring, golf ball-sized hail has fallen throughout Northeast Ohio. These spike-shaped hailstones fell in the West Akron area.

Unfortunately, where there is opportunity, there are also scam artists. As soon as our storms showed up on national weather radars, out-of-state companies throughout the Midwest began sending in their aggressive door-to-door salespeople.

Don’t fall for it.

“We’ve been in the business for a decade, and it happens every time, says Mike Farist, the founder of Roofsmith Restoration, a locally owned contractor with one of the highest customer referral rates in the nation. “These out-of-state companies are very aggressive in their efforts to take advantage of people. Just this week we’ve heard stories of them climbing on homeowner’s roofs without permission and hard-selling them, sometimes refusing to leave.”

Mike says the best way to detect a scam is the amount of pressure the salesperson places on you to sign a contract.

“If you’re feeling rushed into making a decision, that should be an alarm bell,” he cautions. “You have six months to a year to file a claim, so take your time. Do your homework. Don’t feel rushed. And if anybody tells you that you have hail damage, don’t just take their word for it. Make them show you photos and explain what they’ve found.”

The bands of hail storms battering Northeast Ohio this spring included these swaths that came through on March 28. Many other areas have reported damage as well.

Mike says that just because your home is in the path of a hail storm doesn’t mean you need a new roof. “We’re finding that about thirty-percent of homes located in a swath do not need a new roof,” he says. “It depends on the age of your roof, the quality of the materials that were used, and the wind direction.”

Working With Insurance Companies
If you do have damage, the team at Roofsmith Restoration are experts when it comes to getting your new roof covered by your insurance company. Every day, they are on the phone advocating on behalf of homeowners with insurance adjusters or going to the post office to mail shingles in for testing with an industry laboratory.

“There’s a good chance they are going to deny you,” Mike says. “Or they’re going to offer you $300 to replace a few shingles that don’t match the rest of your roof. It’s unconscionable. That won’t even cover your deductible.”

Mike and his team have a combined 30 years of experience in the roofing industry. Their in-depth knowledge of how wind, rain, hail and sunlight impacts shingles has established their reputation among local and national insurance carriers.

Roofing During a Pandemic
Because a proper roof system is essential to protecting your home, roofing contractors are exempt from Governor DeWine’s stay-at-home order. Roofsmith has fully adopted Center for Disease Control (CDC) protocols—and more: any documents that need to be signed are signed online using DocuSign; all communications are via Zoom, Skype, email, text or phone call; Roofsmith employees will not enter your home or collect a payment in person.

“We’ve developed a no-contact system from our initial communication all the way through clean-up,” Mike assures.

Northeast Ohio’s Best Roofer
According to the independent research firm GuildQuality, which has surveyed virtually every Roofsmith customer over the past eight years, Mike’s company has a 94% referral rate—the best in the country. But let’s put that in perspective. In an industry where Roofing Magazine says 62% of homeowners would NOT recommend their roofer, 94% of Mike’s customers would.

Mike Farist, who founded Northeast Ohio’s Roofsmith Restoration in 2009, employs experienced project managers and uses top-ranked materials. Those are just two of the reasons he’s been named “Northeast Ohio’s Best Roofer.”

In addition, Roofsmith is a regular Angie’s List Super Service Award winner, including in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019, maintains an A+ BBB rating, and has twice been named Northeast Ohio’s Best Roofer. Plus, the company is an Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Preferred Contractor, which means they can offer their customers an enviable lifetime warranty.

Five Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor

1. Who is the person I will be working with?
While many companies use contracted salespeople to meet with you, Roofsmith Restoration employs full-time project managers who will be in communication with you throughout the entirety of the project—from the initial inspection through the final clean-up.

2. What kind of company will I actually be working with?
When hiring any roofing contractor, be sure to check out their online reputation, including their ratings with the BBB, Angie’s List, and Guild Quality. Also look for reviews on Google, Yelp, and other review sites.

3. Who are the people who will actually be working on my home?
The employees at Roofsmith Restoration hold the highest certifications possible from the nation’s top manufacturers. And this year, Owens Corning awarded Roofsmith its “Overall MVP Award.” Plus, the company’s crews have a 97% approval rating—the highest in the industry.

4. What kind of materials will be used?
Roofsmith uses high-quality Owens Corning, CertainTeed, and GAF materials—and more, including synthetic underlayment (not flimsy tar paper), and hot-dipped, ring-shank nails that hold better than smooth-shank nails and will never rust.

5. What happens if something goes wrong?
Roofsmith offers a 5-year workmanship warranty and a 50-year warranty from GAF and CertainTeed, and a lifetime warranty from Owens Corning, which, by the way, is an 82-year-old company headquartered right down the road in Toledo, Ohio.

Roofsmith Restoration serves all of Northeast Ohio. For a free estimate or to schedule your roof inspection, visit Roof-Smith.com and complete an easy online estimate form or call 330-822-4245.