HomeHome InsuranceStarting Monday more homeowners can apply for grants to fortify roofs

Starting Monday more homeowners can apply for grants to fortify roofs

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) – More Louisiana homeowners will have an opportunity to apply for state grants to harden their roofs starting on Nov. 6.

The Louisiana Department of Insurance held two rounds of accepting applications in October, but it was limited to people who have property insurance through Louisiana Citizens, the state’s insurer of last resort. On Monday, the application process opens to all homeowners.

Joe Sobol owns Big Easy Construction in New Orleans, and his company is listed on the Insurance Department’s website as an approved contractor for fortified roof work.

“It’s designed to keep the damage to the minimum,” said Sobol. “And most of the damage occurs when the water if you lose some shingles and the water penetrates that roof deck that’s where the damage comes, installation, sheetrock, floors, furniture.”

He explained in detail how a roof is fortified.

“There’s three basic parts to a fortified roof. The first part, and I’m going to talk about reroofing not new construction, so after you clean all of the shingles off, you get it down to the roof deck and what you need to do is make sure that the roof deck is intact, no rot, no warps and it’s got to be sealed, so that’s either taping all the seams or putting down what we call ice and water shield which is, it’s basically a peel and stick membrane to make a sealed surface,” Sobol said.

He added, “Then on top of that might be another layer of what we call felt paper and then we put a wind-rated shingle on in a very specific pattern and per manufacturer’s instruction, make sure it’s got the six nails which most of them need. All need flashing everywhere and that includes the whirly birds, anything around chimneys and that’s basically it.”

The Department of Insurance says it had approximately 1,500 active grant applications as of Thursday (Nov. 2).

Those approved for grants will need to hire their own evaluator.

“So, an evaluator, a fortified evaluator comes out, looks at their house to make sure that it is eligible for fortified roof and if it is eligible they might note a few areas of concerns and they take a bunch of pictures, load it up to the Louisiana Department of Insurance’s website and they’re told to go get three bids, that’s where I come in,” said Sobol.

He says he has installed fortified roofs outside of the state program.

“I’ve done dozens before that for just people that were preparing for to take advantage of not only the lower insurance rates,” said Sobol.

As the application process was kicking off last month, Dan Mills of the Homebuilders Association of Greater New Orleans said the $10,000 state grant likely would not cover the entire cost of a fortified roof.

“The subsidy for this grant won’t be enough to cover most home roof replacements today, so you can expect that, that fortified roof grant may cover about half on say a 2,500 square foot home, single story,” said Mills.

Sobol was also asked about costs.

“It’s about one-third more, so what do you want to say, a 1,500 square foot house, just a regular house, so a regular roof I would do maybe $ 7,000, so a fortified roof would be about $9,200, $9,400,” he said.

And Sobol says under the program, the installation work will be checked along the way.

“We work hand and glove with the fortified evaluator, so he went through the classes just like I did and I’ve got to send him nailing patterns in the roof deck of the shingles, the special starter shingles, the whole nine yards, every step of the way and then he’ll come out, two or three times usually and he will certify my work for the homeowner and for the state,” said Sobol.

He plans to apply for a grant as well.

“I’m with USAA; they’re a 35% discount if I have a fortified roof,” said Sobol.

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