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What to Do in the Event of a Roof Leak

With the current rainstorms passing over Arizona and the Phoenix valley, many are discovering roof leaks they didn’t know they had. One of the biggest questions that people have is “Does my insurance cover this?”. The answer is yes, and no, depending upon the cause of the leak.

Roof Leaks and Insurance Coverage

Homeowners insurance is designed to cover sudden or accidental damage to your home, but does not generally cover damage caused by maintenance issues. Roof leaks can be and are caused by both, so knowing if a roof leak is a covered loss normally takes the inspection and review of both a contractor and the insurance company. The contractor can deduce the source and cause of the leak, while the insurance company interprets the coverage laid out in the policy to see which category the damage falls under. From there, a determination of coverage is made.

The next question that arises is what is considered sudden or accidental damage.

Sudden and Accidental Damage Generally speaking, sudden and accidental damages are caused by things outside of the homeowners control. The following is a small list of things to give you an idea of what sudden and accidental damages are.


  • Severe Weather, including high winds, hail, and driving rain
  • Flying debris from storms
  • Falling debris from any number of sources
  • Felled trees
  • Vehicle collision

Now this list is by no means all inclusive, and your particular insurance policy may have specific exclusions for any number of the above listed items, which could deem them fully, partially, or not covered under the limits of your policy.

Maintenance Issues

Now we come to the other side of the coin, what are not considered sudden and accidental, and that may have limited or no coverage. Again, we’ve assembled a quick list for you. Remember that this is a general guideline, and not a hard and fast set of rules. Your specific policy may cover one or more of the following, or there may be mitigating circumstances that allow your claim to be partially or fully covered.

  • Roof aged beyond normal usable condition (i.e., a ten year roof with 25 years of service) has begun to leak
  • Roof not maintained (debris collected on roof for a long period of time, gutters full, damaged shingles not repaired in a timely manner or at all)
  • Pre-existing conditions that may hve been disclosed or discovered during the purchase of the home, or during the inspection by the insurance company when writing the policy
  • Varmints and pests such as pigeons, roof rats and termites, to name a few
  • Remember that a roof is designed to be a barrier between the interior of the home and the heat, cold, rain, and snow during normal weather events, and normal wear and tear is expected because of this. It is the homeowners responsibility to periodicaly inspect the condition of the roof and clean and maintain it. Damages that arise from a failure to do so may not be covered under your insurance policy. You may be covered under certain home warranties, home maintenance agreements, or material or workmanship warranties provided by the installer or manufacturer.

    Now What?

    During a rainstorm, it is hard to determine the actual cause of a leak right away and even more difficult to know if it will be a covered insurance claim. Many homeowners, especially in our current economic situation, don’t have the money to pay for a new roof if the repairs are not covered by their insurance. To further exasperate the situation, the water from the roof leak can damage the interior ceilings, walls, flooring and belongings of the homeowner if left unchecked and unattended.

    How can you protect your home from further damage, without immediately committing to thousands of dollars in roof repairs with no assurance of where the funds will come from?

    Temporary Roof Tarping


    Many times, a simple tarp fastened down over the damaged area can slow or stop the immediate damage from continuing and allow you to schedule an inspection with your insurance company and a qualified contractor to pinpoint the source of the leak and determine coverage. This will also allow you time to receive competitive bids from multiple contractors prior to authorizing any repairs to make sure you are getting a consistent evaluation and a fair price.

    Depending upon the size of the area needing to be tarped, the initial cost of materials can range from around $40 for a small area covered with a single tarp, to around $200 or more for a large area with multiple tarps. This is the do-it-yourself cost. If you need to call in a contractor to perform the tarping for you, expect prices to start from around $300 and increase from there depending upon size and complexity.

    An average quality tarp up will normally weather the storm and last for a couple of weeks. A high quality tarp up can last several storms and several months, depending upon the materials used and the manner of installation. Do remember, though, that no matter how well a tarp is installed, if a severe weather event has the force to damage a roof, it has the force to damage a tarp.

    Board Ups of Windows and Doors


    Doors and windows are damaged just as much, if not more often, than roofs. Not only can severe weather damage doors and windows, but criminals, such as vandals and burglars, may break a door down. Windows are often broken by errant baseballs, golfballs, and even rocks thrown from a lawnmower. With an average wait time of 3 to 5 days to replace a window or door, or up to 3 weeks or more for special orders, it is important to board up the opening to secure it against inclement weather, varmints, and opportunistic robbers.

    Tips for the Do-It-Yourselfer

    The following list is just some quick notes to keep in mind when attempting to tarp a roof yourself.

    • If possible, avoid working on the roof during a rainstorm.
    • NEVER work on the roof during a thunderstorm or during high winds.
    • Make sure your ladder is sturdy and secure befor
    • e attempting to climb onto the roof. Inspect it for any defects or damage before using, and please read up on proper ladder usage.

    • Be aware and beware of power lines and trip hazards while on the roof.
    • Always work with at least two people, this is for safety and efficiency.
    • If you or your partner have an issue with heights, do not climb onto the roof.
    • Long term water damage can rot away the subdeck of a roof and leave it weak. Walk cautiously on the roof and test out all areas before stepping on it with your full weight. Rotted subdecking can give way, and many a professional roofer has fallen through a roof and been seriously injured or worse.
    • Ceramic and concrete tile roofs are very delicate, and break easily while being walked on. Take great care, and never walk on these types of roofs when wet, they are extremely slick.
    • If possible, cut your battens on ground level. This reduces the chance of making cuts in a precarious position.
    • Stage all the necessary tools and materials on the roof prior to starting, it is very tiring to constantly have to climb up and down a ladder.
    • Call a professional contractor if you are not comfortable performing the tarp up yourself.

    Damage from Water Intrusion

    The reason roof leaks are such a nuisance is because of the damage the water causes to the roof and the interior of the home. While minor water damage can be cleaned up and dried with minor inconvenience, major or prolonged water damage can cause serious issues and major repairs, including replacement of damaged drywall, insulation, flooring, and possibly mold remediation.

    In order to minimize the damage caused by a roof leak, it is important to stop the source of intrusion (roof tarp), identify the water damaged areas, and begin cleanup and dryout procedures as necessary, and as soon as possible. Water continues to cause damage to building materials the longer it is allowed to dwell, and will spread out and affect a larger area as it seeks equilibrium. A professional water damage contractor can assist you in the cleanup, dryout, and repairs to your home or building.

    We’ve included this link to the EPA’s website about mold and moisture in your home to give you some guidance, and help you in deciding whether to use a mold and water damage contractor to assist you:

    Familiarize yourself with your insurance policy, most policies have a clause stiplulating that the property owner is responsible for mitigating damages, regardless if the insurance company has reviewed the loss yet. This means your insurance company expects you to take proactive steps to stop the spread of damage, and some companies may not extend coverage to damage they believe could have been prevented. Talk to your agent or adjuster to find out what is expected from you.

    Final Thoughts

    We hope you’ve found this blog useful and informative, and remember, it is not meant to be a rule book, but a guide to assist you. If you are unsure about the coverage your insurance policy extends, contact your insurance agent and they will be happy to go over it with you and explain what may or may not be covered. They may also be able to offer you additional insurance to fill any gaps in your coverage.

    If you find yourself in need of any tarp up, board up, water, fire or mold damage restoration, or any other type of property damage, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.

Cleaning Process for Flood & Water Damage

Flood & Water Damage

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Burst pipes, fire sprinklers, washing machine overflows, roof leaks, flooding can come from many different sources but the results are the same- a major disruption to homes and businesses.

Unexpected and never convenient, water damage is one of the leading causes of property damage. A decade ago, water damage claims amounted to approximately 25% of all claims filed. Recently released numbers by a major insurer show that in just 10 years it has risen to nearly 40% of all claims filed, eclipsing fires as the major cause of property damage. These numbers do not even take into account the water damage associated with fires, catastrophic events, or groundwater flooding which is specifically covered under flood insurance.

Even with the rapid increase in water damage claims, few people are familiar with or prepared to handle the aftermath of a water loss.

Water Damage Restoration

What is water damage restoration? Water damage restoration is the first step in returning your home or business to a liveable, usable, and comfortable pre-loss condition. There are 4 basic steps steps to water damage restoration, which we have outlined below.

Repair the Source, Assess the Damage

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First things first, before any repairs can be performed, the source of the water intrusion must be addressed. This may be a temporary repair, such as shutting off the water supply or tarping a roof, or a permanent fix like replacing a water heater or repairing a busted pipe.

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Once repairs are made, a damage assessment should be made to determine the affected (wet) area, how severe the damage is, if furniture or other personal belongings (contents) were affected, and what steps should be taken to handle the damage.

Remove the Standing Water

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Standing water is not only a health and safety hazard, with potential for slips and falls and shock hazards, but also a continued source of property damage after the water has been shut off. As long as standing water is present, it will continue to spread and damage adjacent areas, rapidly increasing the size of the affected area and requiring more time, effort and cost to repair.

Standing water also begins to stagnate, and becomes a breeding ground for germs and bacteria. It will begin producing odors, one of the first signs of microbial amplification (bacteria, germs and/or mold growth), and start discoloring building materials and personal property.

The easiest and fastest way to get rid of water is physical removal, whether by mopping or mechanical extraction. The more standing water that is removed, the less time it will take to dry. If the water has been allowed to sit for an extended period of time, it may be prudent to apply an antimicrobial (germ and bacteria killer) solution.

Dry and Monitor the Structure

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Once the standing water has been removed, it is time to begin the dryout of the structure. In order to determine if a building is drying properly, and has been successfully dried, it is important to monitor the equipment and the building.

Depending on the size of the job, the amount of damage, and the sanitary condition of the water, different methods may be employed to dry out a building. For clean water losses with minimal or no visible damage, it is often possible to dry out the home or building without the need to remove anything.

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Some jobs, especially those that have moisture wicked up the walls considerably, or where a barrier such as gloss paint or vinyl flooring interfere with the drying process, it may be necessary to remove trim work, flooring materials, drill some ventilation holes, or remove portions of drywall in order to completely dry out the building. Using higher temperatures (heat drying) can also increase the rate of evaporation and reduce drying times.

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In instances where there is severe damage to walls, ceilings, or flooring, or the condition of the property has deteriorated due to bacteria or mold growth, or the cause of the loss was from an unsanitary source such as a sewer back up, removal of all water damaged materials could be required.

Repair and Rebuild

Once everything has been dried to acceprable standards, any necessary demolition is complete, and any necessary decontamination or testing has been completed, it then comes time to make any necessary repairs. These could be anything from carpet cleaning or a small paint touch up to a complete remodel.

Once all repairs are complete, all furniture and personal belongings can be reset, and the property will once again be in a liveable, usable, and comfortable condition.

Whatever the cause, whatever the size, AZ Environmental Contracting, Inc. will be there to help you when you need us. Contact us for an immediate response and let us help you with your water loss. Your recovery is our priority!

If you are experiencing a water damage emergency, call 623-734-5536 for immediate response

What You Need to Know About Asbestos

In 1989, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned all new uses of asbestos; however, uses developed before 1989 are still allowed.

What does that mean to you? Traditional uses of asbestos, from flooring, roofing, surfacing materials and insulation are still legal and in use in the United States today. 2.3 million pounds of asbestos was imported legally into the United States, from Brazil alone, in 2012.

According to the EPA, this is a sample of what asbestos can still be used in:

  • Cement corrugated sheet
  • Cement flat sheet
  • Clothing
  • Pipeline wrap
  • Roofing felt
  • Vinyl floor tile
  • Cement shingle
  • Millboard
  • Cement pipe
  • Automatic transmission components
  • Clutch facings
  • Friction materials
  • Disk brake pads
  • Drum brake linings
  • Brake blocks
  • Gaskets
  • Non-roofing coatings
  • Roof coatings

Why is asbestos bad?

Asbestos fibers are invisible to the naked eye and can remain airborne indefinitely. The major routes of exposure are inhalation and ingestion. Exposure to asbestos can cause fatal diseases. Asbestosis, Mesothelioma, and Lung Cancer are all caused by asbestos fibers entering the body, with symptoms taking an average of 30-45 years to appear, and no known cure.

Improper removal, handling and disposal of asbestos containing materials can contaminate a large area, leading to the exposure of many people. Occupations associated with significantly higher mesothelioma deaths include plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters; mechanical engineers; electricians; and elementary school teachers.

What are the other risks?

Failure to follow local, State and Federal regulations regarding asbestos can lead to hefty fines and imprisonment. In addition, courts can impose additional penalties for willful violations, and obligate the offending party to pay all associated cleanup costs, medical expenses and restitution. This also opens up the possibility of lawsuits from affected individuals or businesses, including Class Action lawsuits.

here can I find out what laws and regulations to follow?

Here is a list, with links, to some of the regulating agencies involved with asbestos:

Need help understanding it all? Call us at 623-734-5536 for a No Obligation Consultation.

What You Need to Know About Water Damage

AZ Environmental Contracting, Inc. offers full service water damage restoration, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Below we have prepared a simple presentation that gives an overview of the water restoration process.

Broken water pipes water damage 1 can cause severe damage to walls, cabinets and flooring. On average, a 1/2″ pipe, depending on water pressure, will release between 14-21 gallons per minute.

That is from 840 to 1260 gallons in an hour, which will spread rapidly throughout your home and affect multiple rooms, along with furniture and personal belongings.

In order to water damage 2 minimize the damage, it is important to act quickly. By removing standing water, it stops the spread of the water and reduces the amount available to soak into the walls and furniture.

Once the standing water is removed, or “extracted”, the restoration phase will be ready to begin.

Using a variety water damage 3 of meters to measure the moisture content of building materials helps to determine the affected area of a flood damaged building.

Once a complete inspection has been made, a strategy can be developed to determine the most efficient and cost effective method to dry the building, along with the type and amount of drying equipment.

The longer water is water damge 4 allowed to stand, the further it can spread and the more damage it causes.

If it is determined that there is non repairable damage to walls, floors, or cabinets, it is often best to remove them instead of drying them.

The less material there is to dry, the quicker the drying process will progress.

Once all initial cleanup water damage 5 has been completed, it is then time to setup the drying equipment. Depending upon the size of the job, this can range from a single fan, multiple dehumidifiers, air movers, and specialty drying equipment.

While the property is drying, it will be constantly monitored to make sure it is drying properly, and any other labor that is necessary can be performed over the course of the dry out.

Have further questions about water damage restoration? Feel free to call or email us, and we will be more than happy to help.

Remodeling and New Construction | Rowland Heights, CA

Rowland Heights, Hacienda Heights, Diamond Bar, Fullerton, Puente Hills and La Habra


Life is busy enough without the pressing issues of property damage from a storm or a fire. AZ Environmental Contracting has been serving homeowners and business owners alike with a full range of property restoration and contracting services.



  • 24/7 Emergency Services
  • Restoration & Contracting
  • Remediation Services
  • Insurance Work



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...Bryan eased those concerns, explained thoroughly where they were with their progress, and most importantly, completed the work like he said he would. I would highly recommend Bryan and his team to anyone looking to hire them in the future.”

~ Joe K.