Joel Showalter works full time in the roofing industry and in the last few days part time as Shrink.
“Customers just want to know that their home is not going to be completely damaged because they feel like there’s a leak here and suddenly another starts in the back of their home,” said Showalter, an account manager with Matthews Roofing, 3737 W. North Ave. “We assure them if this is a one-off event or if action needs to be taken to alleviate the water behind the ice dam.”
As gutters and roofs sag – and occasionally kink – under the weight of the accumulated snow and ice, roofing and restoration firms are flooded with calls from anxious homeowners.
You may have to wait.
“We’re crowded,” said Mike Evans, a foreman at Shield Roofing & Construction, 6332 S. Archer Ave.
Evans, 40, said this was the busiest time of year he could remember for ice dams and roof repairs.
Evans said his company had received about 150 calls a day from anxious homeowners for the past week.
“It’s more work than we can handle,” said Evans.
Of the 14 roofing companies the Chicago Sun-Times called on Monday, almost none responded with a living employee. “Due to the overwhelming requests for ice dam removal services, please email us at …” a voicemail went.
Service requests range from people who want to remove ice and snow to prevent leaks into their homes to people who need emergency repairs.
“It was crazy. There were lots of collapsed ceilings, lots of collapsed drywall and gutters torn down, ”said Evans.
The problems for homeowners are exacerbated by the fact that many roofers work with skeleton teams.
“We don’t have that many people around in the winter,” said Tony Stevens, owner of Crown Roofing and Masonry, which has locations on the Northwest Side and Arlington Heights. “Some people are out of town. We don’t work that much in winter. “
Showalter, who has been in the roofing business for 35 years, said Matthews works with about a quarter of the staff who are typically busy during the spring and summer.
He said Matthews is trying to reach customers as quickly as possible. If the ice build-up is particularly bad, instead of removing it, workers cut “troughs” into it to allow the melting water to drip off the roof. When they can’t get to a homeowner watching water run through the ceiling, he recommends taking what some consider drastic measures.
“Drill a hole through your drywall so the water can get through an area because when [it] When it comes in, it usually spreads over a large portion of the ceiling and you want to keep that from happening, ”Showalter said.
Showalter said he was trying to reassure customers that what happened this winter is “a one-off in 30 years.”
“I would assume their roof is safe and sound and I wouldn’t worry about that,” he said. “If you did it without ice or water getting into your house, you’re probably pretty safe.”