To everything, there is a season. That premise goes double for the roofing industry during hurricane season. Whether you’re wondering if your roof has what it takes to survive a named storm, or whether you just want to know if it’s better to repair or replace your existing roof, there are a few things you need to know before you start searching for local roofers.
1. Who you gonna call? – Finding listings for local roofers isn’t all that difficult. Making sure a roofer is honest, conscientious, courteous, and experienced is another matter. That’s because it’s all too easy to advertise online these days. Everyone from experienced roofers to brand new roofing companies and even roofing brokers vie for visibility on the web. While you can look for reviews and testimonials online, the only way to know whether you’re dealing with a reputable roofer is to ask for and contact previous customers. Ask them if the roofer they hired did the job on time and on budget. Ask if the crew was neat and courteous or if the customer spent days cleaning up the yard and picking up nails.
- Should you ask your neighbors? – If you see any homes in your neighborhood that have a new roof, not only can you get a sense of the quality of work done by a roofing company, but you can also ask your neighbors what kind of experience they had with the roofer. How professional and timely was the company? How responsive was the staff to any concerns? Would they recommend the roofing company to their family and friends?
- How low can you go? – While nobody wants to spend more than they need to when it comes to replacing a roof, that doesn’t mean that the lowest bidder always represents the best deal for the consumer. Just as there is no one-size-fits-all roof, the same can be said for roofing contracts. The last thing you want to do is hire a roofing company only to find out after the job is started that flashing, insulation and replacement of rotten wood that lays beneath your old shingles cost extra. You also want to make sure that the roofer uses quality fasteners instead of the cheapest that money can buy. This last fact alone could mean the difference between a roof that lasts for decades, as opposed to one that needs to be replaced in ten years. You should also find out who is going to pull the needed permits, you or them.
- How much should you have to pay for a roof? – That depends on the size and complexity of the project. Of more concern to a homeowner should be how much they need to pay in advance for the project. Most roofers will require up to half of the quoted cost to be paid in advance. A consumer should never be required to pay the balance until the job is finished. This also provides the roofer with an incentive to complete the job.
5. Who’s responsible for accidents? – Roofing has risks, both to the crew as well as to you and your home. You need to find out upfront who is going to be liable if a worker falls off a ladder or the roof. Are the workers required to wear safety harnesses while the job is underway? What happens if someone falls through the roof or is hit on the head by something dropped from it? Who’s responsible if your home or your car gets damaged by the crew? What is the company policy regarding the policing of castoff nails on your property? Make sure the company is licensed and insured with both liability and worker’s comp before you let anyone up on your roof.
- Smooth operators – Need I remind you that the well-dressed young man or woman who shows up to give you a roof quote isn’t going to be part of the crew that performs the actual service. You need to ask how long the roofing company has been in business. If you Google the company name followed by the word “complaints,” how many negative reviews pop up? If you query the Better Business Bureau, what kind of rating does the company have? A flashy website does not make for a quality roofing company.
- What’s in the warranty? – Not only is a warranty vital to the longevity of your roof, but it could also have a more immediate impact on your home should a leak pop up shortly after it’s replaced. In actuality, a roofing job should contain two warranties: one for the materials and one for the workmanship. As for material warranties, make sure they not only include the shingles, but the labor and installation costs should any part of the roofing system fail before the warranty runs out. Also, be wary of “Lifetime Warranties,” since this can be defined a number of different ways, including as short as 5-years. Look for exclusions and any other conditions that can cause the warranty to be voided.
8. The devil’s in the details. – Just like a home warranty, you need to carefully read the roofing
contract before you sign on the dotted line. Some of the things you should be concerned with are the start and end date of the project, a list of all included material and supplies, building permits, scheduled inspections, the schedule for every stage of the project, the cellphone numbers of the supervisor, construction manager, and the general contractor, plus the terms of payment, right of cancellation and any potential liens that could be placed on your property.
- Will my homeowner’s insurance pay for my roof? – That depends on how your roof was damaged. A typical homeowner’s policies will only pay for sudden damage done to a roof. If a tree limb was to poke a hole in your roof, or a windstorm strips the shingles from it, your homeowner’s policy would pay to repair or replace the damaged roof minus your deductible. However, if the damage to your roof is determined to be the result of age or general wear & tear, then the insurance company will not approve your claim. Either way, it takes an insurance adjuster to determine whether your policy will or won’t cover the damage to your roof. That means you can’t take a roofing representative’s word for it that your insurance will cover most of the cost to replace your roof.
- Get at least 3 quotes. – Once you’ve found several companies that pass muster, then it’s time to get them to compete for your business. Because that’s how you find a great roofing company.
Hi, my name is Nicole Corson, and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters…and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for all our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.