Goodmen Roofing employees Gerald Labont, left, and Aaron Jonasson work to put a temporary patch on a roof in Eastview Estates Thursday afternoon. (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)

Red Deer roofing companies are overwhelmed by storm damage calls

Greater leak potential means a high-priority repair

From giant trees crashing through people’s homes, to shingles littering yards, Red Deer roofers have seen it all this week.

“I don’t think there’s any way to fully describe what’s going on,” said John Switzer, owner of Switzer Construction Ltd. on Thursday.

Like many other local construction and roofing companies, his office has handled hundreds of customer calls in the last two days related to Tuesday’s windstorm. “You can’t keep up if you’re a mid-sized company like ours — but we’re answering every call,” said Switzer.

So many storm-related concerns are coming in that construction crews are being switched from doing non-emergency jobs to assessing damaged roofs and covering up the exposed roofs, where leaks can occur.

While hail is a common this time of year, the havoc caused by Tuesday’s windstorm is more sweeping and destructive because it’s opened up many homes and businesses to the elements, said Switzer. “There’s a leak potential,” so quick, temporary repairs are needed to prevent more extensive rain damage.

Jan Ledoux, of RemStar Roofing and Exteriors, said his crews are “working around the clock, during all daylight hours” to assess damage and start repairs. Jobs are being prioritized to ensure homes with the worst problems get fixed first.

Ledoux believes even roofs that don’t seem too bad, when viewed from the ground, should be inspected, since the problem could be worse than homeowners think.

Cooper Roofing Ltd. has called in additional roofers to help deal with the high call volume, said receptionist Brittany Johnston. The wait time will depend on the damage — having a tree crash on your house is definitely considered a high-priority call, she added.

But finding a company that can take care of the fallen tree is another problem. None of the three tree-removal companies the Advocate tried to contact on Thursday had office staff responding to calls. Switzer was pleased to see a lot of neighbours helping each other out, however. “It’s awesome to see everybody pitching in.”

Local insurance companies have also been busy with damage assessment requests since Tuesday.

Although so much wind damage is unusual, Rob de Pruis, director of consumer-industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada, said natural disasters are becoming more common in Alberta, whether from wind, hail or flooding. “The magnitude of these events is becoming more frequent.”

Wind damage is usually covered in home insurance policies, but is optional under auto insurance policies. He suggested affected residents contact their insurance providers.

lmichelin@reddeeradvocate.com

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