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? Carr
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.
CarrIf you need a roof estimate, one of the first places some people look is in the phone book. But if you want a GOOD roofer, that's not the best place to find him.Sure, he probably has a small listing there if he's been in business for longer than a year or so. That's just part of being professional, so prospects and customers can find you. But unlike the companies that depend on big, expensive ads to make the phone ring, he gets most of his business from referrals.His name is on the hearts and minds of his happy clients and raving fans. His business card is in their wallets and purses or hung on their refrigerator. He has earned their trust and they wouldn't call anybody else.So where can YOU find this guy for your roof estimate? Actually, it isn't all that difficult. If you don't know him, you probably know somebody who does. Heck, they say everybody on earth is connected by just six degrees of separation. Joe Girard (The World's Greatest Car Salesman) figures the average person knows about 250 people. If each of them know 250, that is a pool of 62,500 people right there. Everybody but the homeless have a roof overhead and they were all installed by somebody. Here are five places to look for a good roofer for your project.1. Ask your friends, family and coworkers if they can recommend someone for a roof estimate. This is one of your very best sources because these are the people you know and trust. They will probably give you the WHOLE truth about roofing contractors they know. Even if they can't recommend someone, they might tell you who to avoid!2. Ask your neighbors. Find out who they used and if they would use them again. Some homeowner associations even keep a list of reliable contractors.Pay attention to roofing work going on in your neighborhood. Look for yard signs and company names on the vehicles. What's the condition of their trucks? If they don't care about their own equipment, how much do you think they will care about your roof? What about the roofing crews? Do they go about their work in a quiet professional manner... or does the jobsite resemble a wild roof party, complete with beer and music blasting from a boom box? Do they keep the jobsite clean... or are shingle wrappers and debris blowing all over the neighborhood? If you get the chance, talk to the homeowner after a hard rain. Is he a happy camper?3. Call the roofing suppliers in your area or drop by for some product literature. Talk to the manager, tell him you need a roof estimate and ask for the names of a few good roofers. The suppliers deal with all the roofing contractors in town on a daily basis. They are plugged into the grave vine and have a pretty good idea who has a good reputation and who doesn't.4. Call the building inspector for your municipality and speak to a roofing inspector. Ask about the permit and inspection requirements for your project. While you have him on the phone, tell him you need a roof estimate and ask for a few names of good roofers in your area. It's his job to check roofing work, so he should know better than anyone who does it right and who doesn't. He probably can't make an official endorsement, but he might give you a few names to check out. 5. Finally, check out your prospective roofers online. The internet has made advertising cheap and easy, but it has also made it more difficult for the bad guys to hide. Google the names of the roofing companies you are considering and see what comes up.It's also a good idea to check the names of the owners of these companies. A common practice when roofing companies get in trouble is to shut down and then open back up under another name.See what Angies List (www.angieslist.com) and the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) have on them. Check their status with the local and state licensing boards.By now you should have several companies to choose from for your roof estimate. Select the three with the strongest reputation and give them a call. Be sure to tell them where you got their name. Us roofers who depend on "word of mouth" advertising know how important referrals are and we will try especially hard not to disappoint you!
Investigation: The Best Roof for HailYou've decided you need a new roof. Several contractors have given you estimates. How do you know which is right for you? It is important to understand exactly what the contractor is proposing when making a decision on your roof replacement. There are usually several products/services included on most re-roofing quotes.SHINGLESThe primary item on a roof replacement estimate is the actual roofing material. The estimate will list the manufacturer and type of shingles the contractor intends to use. It will also show the style of shingle. Architectural or dimensional shingles are the most popular. They create more interest and often mimic the look of other roofing materials such as slate or tile. It may include color choice or options if design was part of the initial discussion. The estimate will also indicate the length of the manufacturer's warranty for that type.FLASHINGIf your roof has chimneys, dormers, and walls, then you will see flashing on your estimate. Flashing prevents water from seeping behind and under shingles, causing water damage to the structure.Flashing is usually thin sheets of aluminum or galvanized steel. Many professional roofers will fashion their own from sheet metal. Flashing is installed over joints in the roof & wall construction. Possible areas are valleys, chimneys, dormers, windows, pipes, skylights, porches, decks and edges.New flashing is often installed with a new roof. If flashing deteriorates or comes loose it can cause severe damage to your home. It is important to make sure it is installed properly to avoid unnecessary damage.UNDERLAYMENTOne item that should be included on every roof replacement estimate is underlayment. Underlayment is a layer of protective material between the roof deck or plywood and the shingles. Often called felt paper, it is the first layer of waterproofing for your roof.Manufacturers reinforce the underlayment with fiberglass to strengthen and resist tearing, make installation easier and improve its waterproofing effectiveness.Manufacturers are constantly developing new underlayment technology. Newer synthetic underlayment further increases the effectiveness, ease & safety to install and increases longevity. Some manufacturers have developed organic and green underlayment products.It is usually recommended to use underlayment from the same manufacturer as your shingles as they are designed to work together. It may be required for a valid warranty.A contractor will choose the best type of underlayment for your roof replacement based on the type of roof and climate in which you live. If you have any questions regarding their choice, they are the best resource for your specific project. DRIP EDGEDrip edge is another important and sometimes overlooked part of a roofing or re-roofing job. Even though manufacturers recommend it, and some require it for a valid warranty, some contractors do not include drip edge on their estimates.Drip edge is metal strips applied along gutter lines, eaves and some rakes. It stops water from getting under the shingles and damaging the deck plywood and protects fascia. Properly applied drip edge will lengthen the life of the roof and further protect the home from water damage.Drip edge is not expensive to include in a roof replacement project and the benefits greatly out way the cost.ICE & WATER SHIELDThe purpose of a roof is to protect the home from the elements; wind, rain, ice, etc. In most climates, ice and/or water are a concern you can't ignore.Ice and water protection should be discussed for almost every residential roofing project and will likely appear on your estimate. Ice and water barriers allow proper water flow preventing damage caused by high wind and rain storms and ice build-up known as ice dams. It strongly adheres to the plywood roof deck providing a second line of defense to the underlayment. The barrier is applied to the most vulnerable parts of the roof. Depending on the type of roof this could be the valleys, eaves and rakes, or the entire deck surface. Contractors may also suggest applying it around chimneys and other areas where leaks are likely to occur.VALLEYSA valley is the angle formed by the intersection of two sloping roof planes to provide water runoff. Because of the amount of water passing through that area of a roof, it is important to consider how the area will be protected when replacing an asphalt shingle roof.There are different methods for shingling the area with dimensional asphalt roofing material. Closed cut valleys are most popular aesthetically. In a closed cut valley application, shingles from one side of the valley extend across the valley while shingles from the other side are trimmed back a few inches from the valley centerline. Any flashing is not exposed. When using the open cut valley roofing method the flashing is visible. Open cut valleys may be used to create visual interest or enhance features on some design styles.Some contractors will use ice and water shield under the shingles, others will choose to install metal flashing. Further, some contractors will install both for extra protection. A professional roofing contractor will consider many factors and make a recommendation as to the best method and style for the specific project. A detailed estimate will include these recommendations.RIDGE VENTAll roofs need to be vented to allow moisture to escape and prevent damage to the roof and the entire home. There are several types of roof ventilation systems. The most popular are ridge vents. They are installed along the ridge or peak of the roof and allow hot air to escape and draw cool air in the soffit vents.A detailed roof replacement estimate will include which type and style of vent is going to be installed. Ridge vents come in several styles to match the home, shingle design, and homeowner's preference as to how much they stand out or blend in with the rest of the new roof.CHIMNEY CRICKETIf the home has a chimney, a professional roofing contractor may recommend installing a cricket if there isn't one already. A cricket is a peaked construction at the back of a chimney to help prevent snow and ice build-up and to deflect water around the chimney.PIPES AND FANSPipes and fans on the roof should be addressed in the estimate. These are vents that allow air to escape the home from the attic, bathroom, or other household needs. A contractor will indicate how they will treat these during the project. Will they keep the same ones, replace with new pipes or recommend a different type of ventilation or fan.GUTTERSWhen replacing a roof, it is a good time to consider replacing gutters as well. Either on your request or their recommendation, an option for gutter replacement may appear on the estimate. It may specify the length in feet, type of material, the type of construction (seamless, sectional), the size or width in inches and the size of the downspouts that will be used. Gutter estimates may include leaf protection, which is a covering that allows water to flow and keeps leaves and other debris from causing clogs in the gutter and downspouts.SOFFIT & FASCIAOften replacing soffit and fascia will be recommended.Fascia - Connects the roof to the soffit, where gutters are attached.Soffit - Covers the underside of the roof overhang.Both of these play a large part in protecting the structure of the home.PLYWOOD & SHEATHINGUnder all the underlayment, ice & water shield and shingle material is the decking. This is the wood that makes the solid structure of the rooftop. During a roof replacement project, it may be discovered that some of this decking has been damaged and needs to be replaced. A roofing contractor may indicate this expense in different ways. If they see obvious damage they will note that in the estimate and the type of material that will be used. This could be plywood, Luan or other coverings. However, sometimes this damage is hidden until the replacement project has begun. Some contractors will also include the additional costs that may be incurred if a problem is found. WARRANTIESMost roof replacement estimates will mention warranties and guarantees with limitations and for a specific number of years.Manufacturers' warranties usually offer coverage when there is a defect in the roofing material that causes leaks under normal conditions. A manufacturer's coverage will typically cover the cost of replacing the materials, not the labor to do so. They also do not cover replacing the entire roof, just repairing or replacing the defective areas.Manufacturers' warranties often exclude damage due to pre-existing conditions of the roof. If the shingles were installed improperly or the roof structure and gutter design was faulty, coverage may be denied. Many warranties are prorated, meaning the longer the roof is on your home the less coverage you have.Manufacturers may recognize quality professionals that they trust. These contractors may be able to offer additional or extended manufacturers' warranties.Be sure to understand the coverage and limitations of a manufacturer's warranty before using it to make your roofing decisions.While a good warranty to cover defects is important, choosing your roofing contractor is as much so.Manufacturers' warranties do not cover problems arising from installation. This is where a workmanship guarantee comes in.A workmanship guarantee is offered by the contractor and covers all defects related to installation work only. A qualified contractor will know what type of material to use on your roof and how to install it properly, reducing the possibility of roof leakage. Your contractor will also recognize potential problems such as structure, drainage and ventilation issues and address those ahead of time so they won't damage your new shingles in the future. A reputable contractor will offer a labor warranty to cover any issues that may arise for additional peace of mind.When considering your new roof investment, be sure to look at the coverage warranties offer and especially the quality and knowledge of the company installing them.CHOOSING YOUR CONTRACTORAfter reading and understanding the estimates, it is time to make a decision as to who will do the work. Make sure to check out each contractor's qualifications and experience. Online reviews are an excellent source of information.