Swinging from the Rooftops | FairClaims Roofing Company Nails Excellence in The Woodlands

How to Extend Your Roof Life in a Changing Climate
Swinging from 
    the Rooftops
    FairClaims Roofing Company 
    Nails Excellence in The Woodlands
Justin O’Neal
Photos by
Karina Eremina of Joy of the Moment

You just might find Justin
O’Neal braced like Spiderman on the side of a Houston
When the job calls for it, the owner of
FairClaims Roofing Company will not shy from heights or steep pitches on
residential or commercial builds. Suspended from ropes, he defies gravity.
For clients, O’Neal and his team install or repair shingles, 24-gauge steel,
and elegant tile from vertiginous perches. For clients preferring solar,
stone, or other materials, O’Neal’s company is at the ready. A seven-year
winning streak in Living Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Best Of showcase serves
as a glowing community endorsement.

doesn’t take it for granted. Though incentives run high for fly-by-night
roofers, the “BestOf” wins for FairClaims Roofing Company prove that
experienced tradesmen outcompete discount roofers at every turn. “There’s not
a state license for roofing like there is for electricians or even barbers,”
said O’Neal. That means barbers have more educational requirements than some
contractors. For buyers, the research helps distinguish between excellence
and the rest. With two decades serving The Woodlands and Montgomery County
under their belt, the FCR reputation for higher standards precedes them. We
spoke to owner O’Neal about how consumers can save money, avoid pitfalls, and
get the most from the roof over their heads.

Shingle vs. Pine Needle

Call it the result of substantial cost
increases in construction and the trades, but insurers are treating roofs
differently these days. “One of the more common calls we get now is ‘My insurance company sent me a letter saying my home
is no longer insurable because I have an aging roof on my house,’” said
O’Neal. While deductibles climb, roofs are placed on depreciated schedules.
The amount of coverage in case of a claim now often depends on the age of the
installation. “That puts the burden back onto the homeowner to maintain the
roof so that it will last as long as possible,” said the roofer.

Warranties for roofing products may last
longer, but “the average shelf life of a roof is about 15 to 20 years,” said
O’Neal. In Houston, the elements can cut that short. Needles from pine and
other trees in the area should be removed two or three times a year to ensure
proper drainage. Houston’s climate also causes a breakdown and loss of
shingle granules, while high winds or hail can knock gravel off and gouge
divots. During long Texas droughts, caulking can become dry and lead to
leaks, so O’Neal recommended an annual inspection, or at least an assessment
of the roof’s condition, which he offers for free. Should service be
required, free estimates make budget planning possible for homeowners or
property managers. Basic service packages include a clean and tune-up either
annually or semiannually, a scheduled care package that could prolong the
life of your roof into its twilight years. To perform service, a full-time
roof repair team works with O’Neal. They’re not just any

Swinging from 
    the Rooftops
    FairClaims Roofing Company 
    Nails Excellence in The Woodlands

Justin O’Neal


With a low barrier to entry, newbie
contractors can mint a roofing business in the time it takes to assemble
their crew. Those mystery men hammering and nailing into your home may have
never done the job before and may not ever again. O’Neal said subcontractors
are not uncommon, and though they are not always the telltale sign of less
expertise, the signs of highly skilled workers do exist. “My main crew has
been with me since 2003,” he said. With the years, skill

Additionally, FRC counts itself among the
Roofing Contractors Association of Texas. Association members are vetted and
advocate for consumer protection. “ offers a license similar to a state
license that has testing and ongoing education … for contractors who want to
differentiate themselves and do things the right way,” said O’Neal. The
respected contractor is even on the executive board of the RCAT’s local
chapter, the Houston Area Contractors Association. With a consumer advocate’s
transparency, O’Neal explained roofing types when we spoke.


Asphalt shingles win the roofing popularity
contest, but the far more durable – and more expensive – option is metal.
Painted metal roofs often come with a 40-year warranty on the finish, and in
the Houston climate, metal just performs better. Because it’s
impact-resistant and less likely to be damaged by hail or strong winds,
insurance becomes more affordable.

The strength of metal comes from a few
important features. Installed over plywood, for starters, and made of
24-gauge striated steel, the slight bend in each pane makes them sturdier.
And because metal is reflective, it bounces sunlight back to the atmosphere
rather than absorbing it into your home, earning an Energy Star

“I’m a big advocate for . It feels
like the biggest bang for your buck,” said O’Neal. Because of the higher
cost, he told us that it makes the most sense for homeowners hoping to keep
the house for 15 or 20 years.

In the roofer’s opinion, tile is a similarly
durable product, “but you have to keep clean and keep debris out of so they can properly channel water.” Experienced roofers will build
the underlayments and battens with longevity in mind, advised

Swinging from 
    the Rooftops
    FairClaims Roofing Company 
    Nails Excellence in The Woodlands
SOLAR SHINGLE ROOFING: “As energy costs go up, the
quicker it pays for itself.”


That new roof on the block? That’s the one
with solar shingles that produce energy just as effectively while looking
much more physically attractive. Typically, buyers should anticipate an
outlook of 10 years in terms of breaking even on the investment into such a
roof, with one major caveat. “That doesn’t consider inflation,” said owner
O’Neal. “As energy costs go up, the quicker it pays for

FRC is certified at the highest level with
GAF, the nation’s largest shingle manufacturer, as a Master’s Elite
contractor. FRC has also been a president’s club contractor for the last 10
years in a row, said O’Neal. As costs rarely fall, maintenance completed by
adept tradesmen may be the best hedge moving forward.


Oakhurst Drive

Spring, Texas

(281) 367-0466


The Spotlight HERE on LivingMagazine.net

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