FORT WORTH, Texas — It’s severe weather season in Texas, and all it takes is some heavy hail to turn rain into a serious leak. Right now, roofers are having a tough time finding supplies.
“I think it’s going to be a real struggle,” said Kirk Scott, who owns Scott Exteriors, a roofing company serving the metroplex.
He says COVID-19 issues forced manufacturers to slow down or close. Lumberjacks were considered nonessential and couldn’t work and prices have skyrocketed for supplies which will get passed on to customers in some cases.
“Although we haven’t had a storm, construction just won’t stop, and you couple that with supply chain issues and there’s a real problem going on,” Scott said. “Lumber is extremely hard to get, and shingles are in short supply.”
Add on plant closures during the recent statewide winter storm, and now, instead of one call for supplies, it can take up to 10. He says it’s possible to find shingles, but customers may not get the colors or brands they want unless they’re willing to wait.
“Lead times that we used to have of three to four weeks, they’re out to 12-18 weeks now,” Scott said.
If a storm comes or a project pops ups, be patient.
Steven Badger is an insurance attorney and senior partner with Zelle LLP. He says customers need to look out for fraud.
“For the past decade, my practice has been almost exclusively dealing with weather-related disaster claims in Texas,” Badger said. “After every storm in North Texas, people get ripped off.”
He says to make sure to vet the contractors you use to see if they’re from the area and check if they’re part of a group like the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association.
“We see lots of contractors come in from out of state,” Badger said. “We call them ‘two Chucks in a truck,' and they come in to take advantage of all the work here.”
He also says don’t pay before work is done and watch out for red flags like waiving deductibles.
“That's a big sign of trouble because that is illegal in Texas,” Badger said.
There’s no clear forecast of when shortages will end or what the storm season will be like, but if bad hail comes, don’t rush to hire and stay careful and patient.
“Will we make it through, sure? It’s just going to be a tough time,” Scott said.