How to Find a Good Roofer
Materials represent but a relatively small chunk of the bill for a roofing job, and most of what you’ll be spending will go to the skilled labor required. That means selecting an experienced professional contractor is an must.
First and foremost, check the yellow pages only if you couldn’t get tips and recommendations from your local home builder’s association or lumberyard, or even from your own friends and neighbors.
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It’s good to start with at least two prospects. Both should have been in business for no less than five years — roofers who are unreliable never last that long.
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Checking Out References
If they check out, ask them for names and contact details of a few of their old clients, and forget anyone who shows the slightest sign of hesitation.
Inspecting Past Work
It is essential to allot time to do a drive-by inspection of these roofers’ latest jobs. The spaces between water gaps – those spaces in between individual shingle tabs – should be lined up laser straight while they alternate shingle rows. Shingles must be trimmed clean along the valleys and go above the valley flashing.
As well, shingles on roof ends should be neatly trimmed and aligned with the edge of the roof – irregular lines mean poor quality work. Neat and tar-free are two things flashing at roof valleys and eaves should be. If things stand up to scrutiny, give references a call and ask them questions.
Questions to Ask
For example, would they use the roofer again? Did they have leak problems? If so, was the response friendly and prompt, and were you charged for extra work?
Did they spend more than the original budget, and if so, how much was the excess? Were they satisfied with the roofer’s justification of the additional costs?
Were any of their bushes or flowers damaged during or after the project, and were there nails left lying in the driveway? Quality roofers clean up, period.
Did they have a foreman to talk to about their issues or concerns about the project, right from tear down all the way to installation?
Of course, on top of workmanship and price, there are other equally vital matters you need to look into. Insurance for one. The roofer should have both adequate coverage for both liability and workers’ compensation. If they claim to be insured, don’t just believe them – let them prove it.
Make sure you get a warranty for defects related to labor, such as flashing failure and leaks. A one-year warranty is the minimum, though two or three years is preferable. One year is the minimum, but if possible, go for two or three years. These very stipulations, along with the type of shingles to be used, must be included in the contract. Choose the highest-rated shingles that fit your budget.
Finally, shingle makers often offer from 20 to 30 years in warranty, but remember that this will be instantly voided when you install the new shingles over the old ones. In other words, existing shingles must first be removed, usually for an added cost.