When you find yourself in need a roofing contractor, chances are, you don’t have a ton of time to do research. Here are 10 things to focus on when searching for the best professionals and best workmanship possible.
1. ARE THEY INSURED?
There are two types of insurance a contractor should carry. The first is general liability. This covers your property if in the unfortunate case, something were to happen to your home during the project. The second is workers compensation, which covers the people working on your home. Roofing contractors should carry a minimum of $1,000,000 in general liability. The roofing industry is one of the most expensive to insure, so many roofing contractors will seek inferior coverage, not realizing that their insurance providers will not cover a claim if something were to happen during a roofing project. Workers Compensation is also extremely expensive in the state of Texas and is not required, however, most of your well established companies will carry this type of coverage. Be sure to ask your contractor to provide CURRENT insurance before you let anyone climb your roof.
2. DO THEY WAIVE DEDUCTIBLES?
In the state of Texas and many other states, the law is very clear that it is illegal to waive, rebate, discount or pay any portion of the deductible. Waiving the deductible is committing insurance fraud. With most claims, insurance will hold back a certain amount until the job is finished, called the depreciation. The ONLY way to get the full amount of depreciation paid is if the final invoice to the insurance matches the replacement cost according to the insurance adjuster’s report. When the contractor waives the deductible but still invoices the insurance for the full amount, they have basically given you one price (a lower price) but told the insurance they did it for a higher price. This is where the homeowner and both the contractor have committed insurance fraud and both have now opened themselves up to possible legal action.
3. HOW LONG HAVE THEY BEEN IN BUSINESS AND ARE THEY LOCAL?
After a storm, many so-called roofers will pack up their trucks and head to DFW to “make a lick.” They will usually have a magnet on the side of their truck, indicating the temporary nature of their intentions (or maybe their vehicle is unmarked). They usually promise the world and make is seem urgent that you file a claim NOW. There are so many scam artists that will take your down payment and never show up. Be sure that you’re working with a company that does not require any money down. They should be local with a brick and mortar office that you can walk into and meet their staff during business hours. They should be able to provide a list of references and have a track record of providing top quality workmanship and maybe they can provide some examples of warranty claims that they have honored (it’s almost impossible to be PERFECT, but what sets a good company apart is that they stand behind their work).
4. ARE THEY CERTIFIED WITH THE MANUFACTURER?
Every roofer has their preference on brands of roofing materials. GAF, Owens Corning, Atlas, Malarkey, and Tamko are a few examples. Is the roofer certified with any manufacturers? Are they able to provide a system warranty? Most manufacturers requires the roofer to be certified in order to provide a system warranty and to ensure that they know and understand the products that they are installing. A system warranty means that your coverage is extended to cover BOTH labor and materials. All shingles come with a manufacturer’s warranty but that ONLY covers the material. That means if the material has defects in the future, you’ll be stuck paying for the labor and the accessories (flashing, underlayment, etc) out of your own pocket. But a certified installer can offer a system warranty that offers non-prorated labor and materials coverage, and other fees like the tear-off and disposal of the old roof. The entire roofing system along with all of its components will be covered for your peace of mind.
5. WHAT KIND OF WORKMANSHIP WARRANTY DO THEY OFFER?
The industry standard for a workmanship (or “labor”) warranty is 3-5 years. The contract should specify the term and what steps are to be taken should you discover a leak. Look for a “no-leak” guarantee and beware of shorter terms. Very few companies will offer a true Lifetime Workmanship Warranty but it does exist with a select few contractors. Click [HERE] to see ours.
6. WHAT DO THEY DO TO PROTECT YOUR PROPERTY DURING CONSTRUCTION?
The tear-off (or “removal”) process of a roof replacement can be extremely destructive. From scratches on window panes to crushed landscaping or damaged personal property, your roofer needs to prioritize the protection of your home and the safety of everyone involved (including you when you want to step outside for a breather!). What do they do to ensure that nothing gets in your pool? Are they covering your windows, doors, and shrubs? Are they moving patio furniture out of harm’s way? Are they willing to pick up any debris that blows down the street or into your neighbor’s yard?
7. DO THEY TEAR OFF THE ROOF DOWN TO THE DECKING?
A lazy crew or an ignorant contractor will leave the old underlayment on the house. A proper roof replacement involves removing all previous layers of the roof down to the decking. You should see bare wood during your roof replacement. If you can’t see the decking, you can’t see any rotten wood that it may have. Rotten wood won’t grip a nail like it should. The first strong gust of wind will take your shingles right off if they are attached to a surface that isn’t considered “nailable.” After any decking repairs are made (if any are needed), you should see the valleys treated with either a brand new valley metal or an ice & water shield before the new underlayment is installed.
8. WILL AN EMPLOYEE BE ON-SITE DURING CONSTRUCTION?
Anyone can send a subcontractor to a job and hope for the best. Typically, this is what you get when you shop around for the cheapest bid. But a well established company that is charging fair market rates will have an employee on-site from start to finish. Typically this person is called a project manager or job supervisor. He or she will be the liaison between the workers and the homeowner, making sure that communication is crystal clear and that your needs are heard and addressed. This person is trained on proper installation procedures, building codes and safety protocols. He or she will check your attic before and after your roof is replaced (beware of a roofing contractor that mentions nothing about checking your attic)! They should also be a pleasant person to deal with! They should be paid by the hour and not be on a commission (you don’t want them to be looking for any opportunity to extract more money from you). This salary is one of the many “overhead” expenses that a reputable roofing company pays and the project manager is typically not the same person that sold you the roof.
9. ARE THEY EVALUATING YOUR CURRENT VENTILATION AND ADDRESSING INADEQUACIES?
Poor attic ventilation will not only void your warranty but will also drive your energy costs “through the roof” due to excessive heat in your attic! A skilled contractor will be knowledgeable on proper attic ventilation and understands the concept of cool air coming in through the soffits and hot air flowing out towards the top of the roof. A true roofing professional knows how to mathematically calculate the exact flow that your home needs.
10. ARE THEY USING QUALITY MATERIALS?
Beware of the low-bidding contractors… this is the first area where they save money. Seconds and surplus materials will not have a manufacturer’s warranty and will typically look like doggy doo-doo. Have you ever seen a roof that has varying shades of “almost” the same color? Yeah… it might look new but at a second glance it definitely doesn’t have a uniform appearance. These were probably purchased for pennies on the dollar at shady “lumber liquidator” places off claiming to sell brand new product at a discounted price. Here’s what happens: Some roofing crews will steal a little bit of material from each job and sell them to these outfits that turn around and sell the low-cost “brand new” material to the storm-chaser named “Chuck-in-a-truck” who’s lookin’ to save a buck. You as the homeowner may have paid less for your roof but you get a mix-n-match hodgepodge that never looks quite right, meanwhile Chuck is contributing to the “black market” of roofing supplies. And when your roof starts leaking due to defects or workmanship issues, the manufacturer will laugh and Chuck will screen your calls as he sits at a local dive bar…HIS local bar not yours. Again, shop for quality over price. Don’t support your local black market. Don’t support Chuck’s…habits.
Hopefully these questions will point you in the right direction when choosing your contractor. You can also check the Better Business Bureau to see if you roofer is listed, or better yet, accredited. You can also read reviews on the BBB website along with Angie’s List, Home Advisor, Porch, Google Maps, and so on. Discount Roofing has been in business for 9 years and we are here to stay for many more years to come. We are one of the local, honest roofers that you can trust to repair your home or commercial property. If you have questions you can walk into one of two offices in the DFW Metroplex. We document our entire process with high-res photos, videos, and detailed notes – from the initial inspection to the claims process to the construction to the annual maintenance. We would be happy to inspect your property (for free) and help you start the repair process!