Louisiana Extends Grant Application Opportunity to More Homeowners
Starting November 6, a new window of opportunity opens for Louisiana homeowners seeking state grants to strengthen their roofs against severe weather. The Louisiana Department of Insurance, which conducted two application rounds in October exclusively for Louisiana Citizens policyholders, is now expanding this opportunity to all homeowners across the state.
Joe Sobol, proprietor of Big Easy Construction in New Orleans and a state-approved contractor for fortified roofing, emphasizes the program’s benefits. “The goal is to minimize damage,” Sobol explains. “Water damage from lost shingles can wreak havoc, affecting insulation, sheetrock, flooring, and furniture.”
Sobol breaks down the fortification process into three key steps, focusing on existing structures rather than new construction. First, the roof is stripped to the deck, which is then inspected and sealed using either seam taping or a peel-and-stick membrane known as an ice and water shield. Next, a layer of felt paper is applied, followed by the installation of wind-rated shingles arranged in a specific pattern and secured with the requisite six nails per shingle, along with necessary flashing.
As of November 2, the Department of Insurance reported approximately 1,500 active grant applications. Grant recipients are responsible for hiring an evaluator to confirm their roof’s eligibility for fortification, identify any concerns, and document the condition for the Department’s records. Homeowners are then instructed to obtain three contractor bids.
Sobol, who has experience installing fortified roofs both within and outside the state program, notes the insurance benefits and enhanced protection offered by such upgrades. He also provides a cost comparison, estimating that a fortified roof could cost about one-third more than a standard one.
Dan Mills from the Homebuilders Association of Greater New Orleans cautions that the $10,000 state grant may not fully cover the cost of a fortified roof, potentially accounting for about half the expense for a typical single-story, 2,500-square-foot home.
The program ensures quality by requiring ongoing checks during installation. Contractors like Sobol work closely with evaluators who verify each step of the process, from nailing patterns to the installation of special shingles, ensuring compliance and certification for the homeowner and the state.
Sobol himself plans to apply for the grant, citing the significant insurance discount he could receive with a fortified roof through his insurer, USAA. This initiative not only promises to enhance home durability but also offers financial incentives for homeowners to invest in their property’s resilience.