Replacing your roof is a task homeowners face sooner or later. Finding a reputable roofer and knowing what services you can expect from them are critical to receiving and comparing roofing estimates. Learn the basics before soliciting bids from local roofing contractors.
What You Need to Know
- Do your research. Determine the kind of roofing you want and familiarize yourself with the industry standard practices for roofing installation.
- At the minimum, look for a company that will remove the existing shingles, inspect the exposed roof decking for damage, apply roofing felt, install drip-edge flashing along the roof edges and apply the shingles.
Contact several local roofing companies to bid on your job. Start by asking family, friends and coworkers for recommendations. Beyond that, many metropolitan areas have online ratings Web sites that can provide valuable advice about roofing companies. You can also look for roofing companies in your area, though any company that you don’t know well should come with references and pictures of the work they’ve done.
Ask each company to provide a written estimate, listing what is included in the price and what is specifically excluded. The estimate should contain a time frame to complete the job. Also request written warranty information as well as copies of the company’s business license and general liability and worker’s compensation insurance certificates. Reject any company that can’t provide all three.
Collect references from contractors whose bids you are considering. Even if you got a referral from a trusted friend, call the references and ask questions about the quality of work, time frame, cleanliness of the crew both on the roof and personally, and any other concern you have. Call the Better Business Bureau for your area to check for any unresolved complaints against the company.
Compare the estimates by looking at price and quality of shingle. Shingles come based on years of warranty, with 30 years being the minimum warranty for laminate shingles and 15 years being the minimum for three-tab shingles. Prices climb as the warranty period increases, so consider the length of time you plan to be in your home.
Ask the contractor you are considering how he will protect your yard from debris and how many passes he will make with a nail magnet once the job is done. Look for someone who will place tarps over your shrubs along the edge of the house and who will make two or three passes with the nail magnet, although “as many as it takes” is the best answer.
Tips & Warnings
- Require that the company install step flashing anywhere a vertical surface such as a wall meets the roof.
- Determine the best place on your property for the construction trash bin. It usually is best for your landscaping to place the bin in your driveway. See if any of the estimates include placing plywood under the bin to protect your driveway.
- Look for a company that installs waterproof membranes in any valley areas that may be present in your roof.
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