You’re a homeowner and determined your home’s roof needs fixing or needs to be improved with a replacement roof. You’re all set to get moving. What’s the optimal way to get a high quality roofer who will accomplish a good job? What could you look for in a roof contractor or contractor to obtain this work? Berthoud
When homeowners choose to repair a roof or replace that roof with asphalt during the cold winter months, they’re often plagued by worries that their family will freeze before the job is completed. In the same vein, those starting a roofing job in the sweltering summer months worry that they’ll be facing heat stroke. These concerns are perfectly normal and common among many homeowners looking for roofing fixes or roof replacement contractors.
BerthoudFollowing any major hailstorm in the United States, homeowners in the affected area are hit with another storm; hundreds of roofing contractors! It can be very confusing for homeowners to know how to navigate through all the flyers and brochures and decide on which contractor to hire. Unfortunately there are some scam artists out there as well that put the homeowner on high alert in making their decision. This article will make the process of choosing the right contractor a much easier task.Eliminate Imposters QuicklyWith a little detective work, you can quickly figure out which companies to avoid like the plague. The obvious initial thought is to Google the company name, but for a scam artist looking to run away with your insurance proceeds, this method is not likely to be very effective. You may find a website, and not much else. If they have scammed other homeowners in another city, they likely did it under a completely different business name, and possibly even under another personal name.The next place to look is on the Better Business Bureau website. There you can see if they have any prior complaints, and whether or not those complaints were resolved. In some cases you will also be able to see when the entity was created, though this date is taken from the information the contractor sends to BBB, so further research is needed. In order to find the actual business creation date, you will need to do a business entity search on your state's secretary of state office website. Some states will allow you to search for this information, showing you the date the business was started, as well as the local entity creation. There are reputable contractors that will open a new office in your city following a major storm. But if the business itself was not created until shortly after the storm date, it gives you an idea that this might be a scam artist. Obviously if a Google search and a BBB search both result in no information about the company, you have good reason to believe you should eliminate that company. Once you have eliminated the potential scam artists, it's time to do further research on the companies you like.Knowing What You're GettingChecking references is a common suggestion when it comes time to choose a contractor, and this is a great suggestion. However, this should not be the only method used. It is unlikely that any contractor is going to hand out references that will give them a bad review. Still, by calling a few of the references you can get an idea of what kind of work they do.Another important factor to consider is the detail of the proposed work. If the contractor is vague in their work description, ask for a detailed breakdown. As you compare multiple contractors, you can see which one is offering the highest quality product.Be sure to ask about the workmanship warranty offered. You will want to be sure to get at least a 2-year warranty on workmanship. Most issues in workmanship will show up almost immediately following the installation, or the first time the roof is exposed to extreme weather conditions. Extended warranties are often offered by the contractor; in some cases at no additional charge, and others for a fee. If you want the peace of mind, you may be interested in an extended warranty, but it is not necessary. Any issues you experience with your roof beyond the first couple years are not likely to be a result of poor workmanship, but rather caused by failed materials or external damages.Interview Contractors Rather Than Comparing BidsThe insurance company is covering the cost of the repairs anyway, so the price is irrelevant. If you hope to have your deductible covered, or possibly even make money off the claim, think again. That would be insurance fraud, and you could end up getting into some serious trouble for doing so! Beware of contractors who try to lure you in by offering to pay your deductible, give you free upgrades, advertising credits, etc. If they can't earn your business because of the quality of work they do, they probably aren't worth your time. Plus, it is better to pay a little more now, than a lot later because of shoddy work. Be sure to ask the contractor their experience in dealing with insurance claims. If they have little or no experience handling claims, you're probably better off to cross them off your list. A professional insurance restoration contractor will be able to assist you with the claim process, get you the most money (and therefore the highest quality repairs), and get the claim approved. Professional insurance restoration contractors will use Xactimate software for their estimates, and some may even have licensed adjusters on staff.SummaryDon't be in a hurry to choose a contractor following storm damage to your home. Take your time to research several companies, interview them, and make your own educated decision from there. You will be glad you did when your property has been restored with top quality craftsmanship, while your neighbor complains about all the issues they have had with their project and the contractor that covered their deductible and gave them free upgrades!
Investigation: The Best Roof for HailHow much damage to your roof can come during a hail storm? In Georgia, hail storms are not that uncommon and many homeowners visually see hail several times during the year. That is the case in metro Atlanta, where the last few years have resulted in elevated hail activity.Most people are somewhat aware of the damage hail can cause, in particular the larger variety of hail that is notorious for damaging and denting cars. This awareness doesn't always fully translate into the impact a hail storm can have on your home's roof. While you can visually see the damage to your car after a hail storm, you can't always see the damage to a roof. The damage you can't see can put the longevity of your roof at risk.Roof replacement due to hail damage is one of the most expensive fixes for homeowners and insurance companies. Hail can vary in size dramatically, falling as small as the size of tiny pellets, or as large as baseballs. It is typically the larger hail that can cause enough damage to your asphalt roof to justify a roof replacement. Asphalt Roof Shingle Damage from Hail:Hail damage to asphalt roofs occur when hail beating against the surface of asphalt shingle results in the protective granular surface of the shingle to loosen and potentially fall off. When the granules are loosened, the asphalt shingles loses some of its protection potential and becomes vulnerable to additional damage.- Note: Damaged asphalt layers can potentially allow water seepage into the roof.- Tip: If the granules of an asphalt shingle are removed by a hail storm, the shingle's longevity can be severely diminished.Signs of Hail Damage to an Asphalt Roof:- Bruises or small dents in the asphalt shingle - Granulation is displaced exposing the asphalt - Granulation has settled at the base of your downspouts - The spots hit by hail usually leave a soft spot in the shingle - Significantly damaged metal air vents on the roof indicate similar hit pattern for roof - Damage and denting of siding, or guttersIf my Roof is damaged, how fast should I replace it?There is a misconception if your roof sustains damage from a hail storm that your roof needs to be replaced immediately. You'll find some conflicting evidence online from other roofers that advise immediately replacing your roof. In Georgia for example, any reliable roofing contractor in Atlanta should tell you otherwise. Typically the damage sustained from a hail storm will pose no immediate threat to your roof. The threat is in the longevity of the roof, because hail can dramatically decrease a roof's life expectancy. The deteriorated protection from a roof that is not expected to last its full life is why insurance companies will authorize the replacement of your roof.Will Homeowner's Insurance Cover a New Roof?This answer varies by the coverage on your homeowner's insurance policy. For some homeowners the answer is "yes." If you believe your home has been the victim of hail, contact your insurance company to determine if your policy will cover the damage. For many homeowners they will be able to have the roof repaired, or replaced and will need to pay a deductable. - Tip: If you are unsure if you homeowner's policy covers hail damage to your roof, contact your insurance company.Caution: Avoid Storm Chasers!Homeowners need to beware of 'storm chasers.' A storm chaser typically consists of an out of town roofing contractor that goes door to door after a hail storm soliciting for business. While it may seem tempting and convenient, these roofers can do more harm than good. Make sure any roofer you look to work with has a good reputation in the community. Look for a roofer that is located locally and check references. Look for references that are over a year old and ones that are more recent, within the last 30 days. Finally never give a deposit for a roof. A reliable roofer will only ask for payment once the roof has been complete.If you think your home has sustained roof hail damage, get a professional opinion. Experienced roofing contractors should be willing to provide free roofing estimates upon request.