Hiring a Licensed Contractor
One of the best ways to select a roofing contractor is to ask friends or relatives for recommendations. You can also contact a professional roofing association for referrals. Professional associations have stringent guidelines for their members to follow. The roofing association in your area will provide you with a list of available contractors.
Contact your state's License Board. Most states offer an online license check area to verify the contractor is licensed and to check the status of the license. You can also verify the contractor’s bond information, workers’ compensation insurance policy information, and if there have been any legal actions filed against the contractor.
Hire only licensed contractors.
Get three references and review past work.
Compare at least three bids.
Get a written contract, don’t sign anything until you understand the terms.
Pay 10 percent down or $1,000, whichever is less.
Don’t let payments get ahead of the work.
Don’t pay in cash.
Only make the final payment when you’re satisfied with the job.
Don’t rush into repairs or be pressured into making an immediate decision.
Tips For Hiring A Roofing Contractor
Replacing Your Roof
The age of your roof is usually the major fact or in determining when to replace it. Most roofs last many years if properly installed and often can be repaired rather than replaced. The average life expectancy of a typical residential roof is 15 to 20 years.
Water damage to a home’s interior or overhangs is commonly caused by leaks from a single weathered portion of the roof, or from poorly installed flashing around chimneys and skylights. Also, seasonal changes in the weather are usually the most destructive forces. These problems do not necessarily mean you need a new roof.
Preserving Your Roof
Whatever the roofing material—composition shingle, wood shake, tile or metal—the best way to preserve your roof is to stay off of it.
Maintaining Your Roof
Homeowner maintenance includes cleaning the leaves and debris from the roof’s valleys and gutters. Debris in the roof valleys can cause water to wick under the shingles and cause damage to the interior of the roof.
Gutters: Clogged rain gutters can cause water to flow back under the shingles on the eaves and deteriorate materials.
If problems arise during or after construction, talk to your contractor. Usually he or she will make corrections willingly. If your contractor refuses to make corrections, you may want to file a complaint with your local licensing board.
Gather all papers including contracts, change orders & cancelled checks.
Take photographs of the problems.
Notify the contractor in writing of your dissatisfaction.
Contact your local or state Contractors State License Board to get information on filing a complaint.
The Board will investigate and mediate your complaint if it falls within the Board’s jurisdiction.
The Contractors State License Board generally offers free publications to review before you get started on your roofing project:
What You Should Know Before You Hire a Contractor
Terms of Agreement, A Consumer Guide to Home Improvement Contracts
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) maintains a Web site at www.bbb.org, which provides information, tips, and how to contact the BBB near you.
You’ve Chosen the Contractor . . .
What About the Contract?
Make sure everything is in writing. The contract is one of the best ways to prevent problems before you begin. The contract protects you and the contractor by including everything you have both agreed upon. Get all promises in writing and spell out exactly what the contractor will and will not do.
Your contract should call for all work to be performed in accordance with all applicable building codes. The building codes set minimum safety standards for construction. Generally, a building permit is required whenever structural work is involved. The contractor should obtain all necessary building permits. If this is not specified in the contract, you may be held legally responsible for failure to obtain the required permit. The building department will inspect your roof when the project has reached a certain stage and again when the roof is completed.
Make sure the contractor carries workers’ compensation insurance and general liability insurance in case of accidents on the job. Ask to have copies of these policies for your job file.
You should protect yourself from mechanic’s liens against your home in the event the contractor does not pay subcontractors or material suppliers. You may be able to protect yourself by having a “release of lien” clause in your contract. A release of lien clause requires the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers to furnish a Certificate of Waiver of Lien. If you are financing your project, the bank or lending institution may require that the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers verify that they have been paid, before releasing funds for subsequent phases of the project.
Your roof is obviously a very important part of your house and paying between $10,000 and $15,000 for a new one also makes it a sizable investment that you should do your utmost to protect. One of the best ways to protect you from having to pay this money again in only a few years time because your current roof has failed is to make sure that you get a roof warranty included in the overall price. If you are not told about a roof warranty when first enquiring and getting quotes don’t just assume that one is included because this isn’t always the case. Ask the question yourself to ensure that the cost of a roof warranty is included the final price you are given.
Who gives a roof warranty?
A roof warranty will normally be a warranty between yourself and the roof manufacturer, however the contractor who fits your roof will act as a go between. It is very unusual that you will get a roof warranty direct from a fitter but you should always, always consider getting a manufacturer’s roof warranty to protect your investment. Most companies will include them with your purchase anyway but do make sure before you accept a price.
How long will a roof warranty be valid for?
The actual terms of your warranty will differ from company to company and depending on the type of roof you eventually opt for. You should ensure any roof warranty lasts for a very minimum of ten years and preferably for twenty years or more. If the roof warranty on offer isn’t long enough for you then ask if it an be extended straight away, but do bear in mind that no roof is likely to last for 50 years and it is just as unlikely that you will be able to get a roof warranty that lasts that long either.
What should I check before I accept a roof warranty.
One of the most important things to check on your roof warranty is the terms of acceptance. They may be called something different on your warranty but a warranty only becomes active at a certain point. Normally this is the completion of the fitting. Most roof manufacturers will send out an inspector to check that it has been fitted properly, but again check the terms for the exact details of your particular policy.
Other factors regarding your roof warranty.
You should always read the terms on your roof warranty to see what the fitter is responsible for. Don’t forget you are paying money to the contractor for a roof warranty that will come from the manufacturer. You should get a third party to check the roof has been fitted properly otherwise your roof warranty will be invalid. If you are buying a building and you are told that there is an active rood warranty be sure to inspect it. If there are any actions required to transfer the warranty into your name demand that this be included as part of the sale and is the vendor’s responsibility. Some warranties demand that the roof be inspected and repaired (paid for by you) before the warranty can be exchanged.