Finding 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. This makes choosing an experienced professional roofer an absolute must.
First of all, check the yellow pages only if you can’t obtain recommendations from friends or neighbors, or your local lumberyard or home builders.
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It’s good to start with at least two prospects. Both should have been operating for at least five years — unreliable roofers do not usually last that long.
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Checking Out References
If they check out, get some names and addresses of a few client references, and forget anyone who thinks twice about providing them.
Inspecting Previous Work
It is important to make time to do a drive-by inspection of your prospects’ recent jobs. Check that the spaces between individual shingle tabs, known as water gaps, line up laser-straight as they alternate shingle rows. Shingles should be trimmed in a clean line running along the valleys and overlap the valley flashing.
Also, they should align on roof ends with the roof edge – ragged lines mean shoddy work. At roof valleys and eaves, flashing should be neat and free of tar. If things stand up to scrutiny, give references a call and ask them questions.
Questions to Ask
For instance, would they hire the same roofer in the future? Did the roof, at any time after installation, leak? If so, was the roofer courteous and prompt in their response, and were there charges for extra work?
Did their actual project costs exceed the budget, and if so, by how much? Were they satisfied with the roofer’s justification of the additional costs?
Did they have damaged plants or nails lying in the driveway during or following the project’s completion? 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. For one, insurance. 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.
Insist on a warranty where flashing failure, leaks and other labor-related problems are covered. A one-year warranty is the minimum, though two or three years is preferable. The minimum is one year, but it’s preferable to get two or three years. These exact stipulations, plus the kind of shingles that will be used, must go into the contract. Go with the best quality shingles you can afford.
Finally, most shingle makers provide 20 to 30 years of warranty, but take note that installing new shingles over old ones automatically voids the warranty. In other words, you’ll have to tear off existing shingles for an additional cost.