Storm provides boost for roofers

A tree fell onto a house on Creveling Lane in Mount Lookout because of the overnight storms Wednesday. Roofing businesses received a flood of calls, and many businesses are forced to prioritize, dealing with emergency jobs first. (Photo: The Enquirer / Leigh Taylor)

Wednesday’s strong thunderstorms and winds triggered a flood of calls to roofing companies.

“We got 27 calls in the space of an hour,” said Ryan Rawe, manager at Bresser & Sons Roofing in Elsmere.

“It was everything from missing shingles to ridge vents gone to missing chimney covers,” he said.

The flood of calls comes as roofers were already swamped with work from residential and commercial customers, who are coping with leaky roofs from all the rain the region’s received so far this year.

“Over the last couple weeks our backlog of work has probably doubled from all the rain,” said Dave Molloy, president of Molloy Roofing Co. in Blue Ash.

Through Wednesday, the National Weather Service says 20.15 inches of precipitation had fallen in Cincinnati since Jan. 1 – 8.11 inches more than the average. The precipitation is more than double the 8.32 inches that fell through the same period last year.

“It seems like feet, not inches,” Molloy said.

Wednesday’s early morning storm will only add to the work backlog at roofing companies. “We’re stressing over it,” said Molloy, whose company has about 40 roofers on its staff.

Ray St. Clair of Ray St. Clair Roofing said his Fairfield-based company had triple the normal volume of calls Wednesday morning. Most were about missing shingles, damaged storm gutters or tree limbs on roofs.

“The emergency calls that require making the roof water-tight we handle first,” he said.

Molloy said his firm also typically handles the most serious problems first and more minor issues such as missing shingles later.

If a section of roof is missing or leaking, he said, insurance companies typically approve temporary fixes, such as installing roof tarps. “Insurance companies want to protect property and prevent further damage,” he said.

Spring is typically a busy time in the roofing business as property owners seek repairs or replacements. Rising oil prices have pushed prices higher for asphalt shingles, Rawe said, and that’s caused some customers to order work to avoid even higher prices.

Wednesday’s storm also triggered more calls for tree removal firms, although nothing like they experienced in September 2008 when remnants of Hurricane Ike blew through the region, said Keith Whitson, owner of Scotties & Son Tree Service in Blue Ash.