It’s raining roofers in the Midlands after intense hail storm
A freak hailstorm that tore across Northeast Richland during Memorial Day weekend damaged potentially tens of thousands of homes and businesses, experts say.
Many property owners still may not know they have damage, however.
Roofing contractors throughout the area report huge increases in calls for inspections, estimates, repairs and full roof replacements since the storm struck May 23, attracting small armies of storm-chasing roof repairers from as far away as Texas, Arkansas and Indiana.
By RODDIE BURRIS
“Right now we’ve received about 450 calls,” said Stuart Burgin, owner of Burgin Roofing Services, considered to be the largest residential roofer in the Midlands. “That is a significant storm.”
In a typical year, Burgin said his business replaces about 400 roofs and estimates it will replace 250 roofs as a result of the hailstorm alone. “We keep our crews busy year round,” said Burgin, who has been in the business more than two decades and employs 28 people who operate three full shifts.
“Normally we stay about four weeks behind” on work, Burgin said. “Right now, we have a backlog of about four months.”
Much like during the historic ice storm that crippled parts of the state in February, roadsides in northeast Richland County are saturated by yard signs advertising mainly out-of-state contractors seeking roof repair work.
The isolated but intense hailstorm – which featured large, dense hail – did significant damage to cars, roofs, siding and windows in an area concentrated roughly from Elgin and Lake Carolina back to Wildewood in the northeast part of town.
Insurance adjusters estimate 20,000 structures in that area were damaged by the hail, according to Burgin and other contractors.
“Normally when you have hail damage to a roof, it’s going to constitute full replacement because the hail is going to shorten the life of the shingle. So we don’t have a lot of repairs after a hailstorm,” Burgin said.