A new roof is a big investment that usually costs thousands of dollars. The materials you use will represent a small portion of your investment. Most of it swill go toward the skilled labor involved. That makes choosing an experienced roof installation professional the best way to protect your investment and ensure a proper job.
Simple, isn’t it? Unfortunately, roofing is an business that requires little more than a pickup, a ladder and some basic tools to get started, so you have to be careful and diligent in choosing the right one for your project.
If you can get a recommendation from a neighbor, friend or someone you know, its probably the best way to go. Gather the names of at least two prospects. Make sure each one’s been in business at least five years or more — roofing companies who do poor work usually won’t last that long.
Check the availability of your roofer. There’s no reason to waste time if they’re booked up for months. Make sure to get names and addresses of references, and forget about any contractor that balks at providing them.
Next, do a drive-by inspection of a few of their recent jobs. Visually make sure that the spaces between individual shingle tabs, known as water gaps, line up laser-straight as they alternate shingle rows. Make sure the shingles are trimmed in a clean line along the valleys where they overlap the flashing. On the roof ends, shingles should also be neatly trimmed so they align with the edge of the roof. Ragged lines mean poor work. Also look for neat, tar-free flashing at the roof valleys and at the eaves.
Roof Installation Companies
If the roofs look like they stand up to scrutiny, call their references and ask them these questions:
- Would you use this roofing company again?
- Did the roof leak after being repaired or replaced? If it did, did the roofer respond right away, were the courteous and did they charge for any additional work they had to do to fix the problem?
- Did the project come in on budget? If it didn’t, how much was it off by? Were the additional charges justified and obviously needed?
- Did the roofer damage any landscaping, and did they leave nails or debris on the property? Flat tires are a big complaint during and after roofing projects. Good roofers make sure to pick up any nails with large rolling magnets during the job.
- Was there a designated foreman to address any concerns during both the tear-off and the installation of the new roof? (These separate jobs are sometimes completed by different crews.) You want a person there for any questions or concerns you have throughout the project.
When a roofing contractor comes by to check over your job and work up a price quote, note their appearance. If he isn’t clean enough to sit at your dining table, do you really want him working on your property? Make sure to detail the entire range of your expectations. Know who will be doing the work and who the foreman is. Always get everything in writing.
If you’re impressed, it’s time to verify that they carry workers’ compensation coverage and at least $1 million of liability insurance. Get the roofer’s insurance agent’s name and ask for their proof-of-insurance certificates. Once you’ve seen these documents, then its time to talk about an estimate, which should be done for free.
Make sure you get a warranty that covers leaks, flashing failure and any other labor-related problems. A one-year warranty is the minimum you should accept, though two or three years is what you should ask for. These same stipulations need to go into the contract, which should also include what type of quality materials will be used. Request the highest-rated, longest-lasting shingles or tiles you can afford to pay for.
Manufacturers usually warrant their products for 20 to 30 years. Some warranties can be voided if shingles are put on over existing shingles, so tearing off the existing layer might be a requirement, at an additional expense. Asphalt shingle roofs last 13 to 15 years on average, so a 20-year warranty should be fine. Tiles should last 30 to 40 years. Just make sure to get the proper paperwork and proof of purchase needed, in case you have to pursue any issues in the future.
Roof Replacement Contractors
Hiring the Best Possible Roofing Contractor
Hire the right roof installation contractor for your roofing project to make sure the project goes as smoothly as possible.
You need to find a qualified, professional roofing contractor. Observe some of the new roofing jobs in your neighborhood and then search around on the internet and before long, you’ll find the right company.
Call and talk to the owners of the companies you choose to get estimates from. They should get back to you with a proposal after sending their foreman/estimator over to inspect your property. Making enough calls that you’ll have at least 3 companies to consider.
Now the challenge is to choose the best one of the group for your project. How do you do that? By following three golden rules of hiring contractors:
1. Look for a long history and professionalism
Surfing a contractor’s website, you’ll want to see signs of professionalism, such as Better Business Bureau affiliation, trade magazine rankings, or maybe industry awards. Also, elite or master certification from a leading manufacturer or two shows a commitment to training and quality. If you really want to avoid surprises, pay close attention to the companies whose work has been officially recognized by the institutions that matter in the construction field.
2. Get references and check them all
Go with a well-established company that supports its claims to quality and supplies you with recent and past references. Online testimonials are good, but they’re not as credible as speaking directly to someone thats had experience working directly with a roofing contractor. Positive reports on a site like Angie’s List, Home Advisor or Yelp shouldn’t be ignored – just remember that not every good contractor worthy of consideration has been reviewed online. If possible, go out and personally visit roofing jobs completed by the companies on your short list.
3. All estimates are not created equal
A contractor must inspect the roof being considered before they can submit a credible bid. Expect each company being considered for your business to offer insights on the work that needs to be done, including your best options and the time that will be needed. If you interview a contractor that is not willing to explain their quote in as much depth and detail as you need, eliminate them and move on to the next prospect.
As with any construction project, make sure you request and receive a proposal in writing. Check through it carefully to make sure you it is both comprehensive and fair. There are some things you should surely avoid:
- Do not pay in full unless the work has been fully completed.
- Do not pay in full without a comprehensive final inspection.
- Do not pay in full until any and all material and worker's lien releases have been received.
- Never settle for a verbal agreement with your contractor for any of the work. Everything should be clearly documented in writing.
If issues arise after the agreements have been signed, talk to the contractor who signed the agreement, as he will should the one with authority to make any final decisions.
For a free consultation and estimate with a licensed, professional roofing contractor with years of experience in the greater Phoenix area, call Mikku and Sons roofing at (623) 468-1065.