What to Look For in a Roofing Contractor
Updated: Jul 18
It is an unfortunate fact, but there are roofing scammers out there, nicknamed “storm chasers”, that prey on homeowners who may not have the roofing knowledge to identify the scam. These scammers often approach homeowners shortly after a big storm and claim that many of their neighbors had damaged roofs and offer to inspect yours. Once on the roof, these scammers typically lie about the level of damage and even do damage to the roof themselves! They then scam homeowner’s insurance and provide sub-par work with no warranties.
This is why knowing what to look for in a contractor is so important when planning a roofing project or restoring storm damage. They may be swamped with repairs after widespread storm damage, but reputable contractors will go out of their way to get in touch with you. They will arrange a time to come to your home and perform the necessary repairs, or in the meantime provide you a temporary tarp if needed.
Difference Between Good and Bad Contractors
A good, reputable contractor should be able to give you peace of mind during roofing construction. They should be able to tell you what the top shingle manufacturers are. Some contractors use off brand, low quality shingles to maximize their profit. They purchase low quality shingles at a discounted rate, and then use the savings to undercut legitimate companies who are putting on quality shingles. This is how they can also “throw in” the deductible. Ask local building suppliers and lumber yards the names of the top 2 or 3 shingle manufacturers. If they are not familiar with the shingle manufacturer, be cautious.
One of the biggest manufacturers of roofing materials is Owens Corning. Owens Corning gives the Platinum Preferred Contractor certificate to contractors that meet specific requirements and training. To earn this distinction, a company must operate under the same business name for a minimum of three years and carry all the applicable business licenses and insurance. At Lifetime Quality Roofing, we’re proud that we meet these stringent criteria. As an Owens Corning Platinum Preferred Contractor, we can provide you access to the brand’s selection of high-quality, durable, and attractive shingles. In addition to providing superior weather protection and performance, these shingles will also boost your curb appeal. They are available in a range of colors, textures, and thicknesses, allowing for many design possibilities. These choices make it easy to match your new roof with your home’s distinctive style. We can also offer you extensive warranty coverage on your new roofing. This provides an extra layer of protection to you and your investment.
What to Avoid
Avoid contractors who try to convince you to sign a paper before they give you an estimate. They do this so they can go directly to your insurance company without giving you a written quote. This locks you in to only using their company. When this happens, you aren’t able to get a second opinion and compare work scope. It is crucial that you get a detailed estimate stating the scope of work and the shingle manufacturer the contractor is going to install on your home. If you do get locked in, make sure to contact your insurance company right away. They may be able to help you get out of the contract without having to pay a cancellation fee, which is common with these scheming companies.
A specific type of sly roofing company to look out for are called “storm chasers”. These chasers are attracted from across the country into the area. These companies come in and take large amounts of work from the local companies (and local economy) before moving on to the next big storm. If a roof issue comes up 2 or 3 years after installation, the likelihood of these companies honoring their workmanship by traveling back to our area to service your roof is slim.
Good contractors will always be transparent. They are usually eager to give out references in your area and a copy of their installation certifications. Also, ask to see a written certificate of their workmanship warranty, insurance, and workers’ comp. A successful project starts with a quality driven contractor. Look for companies who have been in business for at least 5 years (most businesses fail within first 3 years). Many roofing companies were thrown together to “work” the hail storm. Do your homework! Check for a Better Business Bureau backed business. Roofing contractors should be ensuring you can stay within your budget. Good roofing contractors know that roof repairs are very urgent. That’s especially true when water is involved, such as after a storm. If necessary, your roofing contractor will work quickly to put a tarp over damaged areas to prevent further damage from occurring (especially if we’re not through with the rough weather yet) and get a repair crew to your home or business as quickly as possible.
The Insurance Claim process can be a complicated one. A reputed roofing company will ensure that every little detail is considered to get the right amount of claim. Hence we recommend choosing the right contractor by going through reviews and asking for referrals. You can even ask your friends or relatives who have previously got their claims worked out with contractors. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion on your roof, as well. This way you will be sure you are working with a trustworthy contractor.
Here are some questions to be asking your roofing contractor before you sign a contract to get a good idea on what you can expect when you hire them:
How many years have you been in service?
Do you provide warranties on your work?
Do you provide warranties on your materials?
What roofing materials do you use?
Are you a BBB accredited roofing company?
Are you licensed, bonded, and insured?
Do you offer financing?
Why work with a professional roofing company?
Make no mistake about it – roofing is hard work. You cannot be afraid of heights, and there is no hiding from the elements. You have to lift heavy roofing materials and tear off two layers of old shingles. Many homeowners who attempt to DIY their roof replacement believe it will cost them less. With an increase in technology and social media, there are tons of DIY advice and instructional videos online that make turning any layman into a professional look easy. However, you still have to buy all the tools and materials you will need. For the latter, even if you have a reliable supplier, you need to know the different qualities available in the market. It’s also very important that you stay safe, which is why it typically isn’t recommended that homeowners or business owners climb up on their own roofs to conduct inspections. However, it is recommended that you walk around the perimeter of your building to look for damage from the ground (where it’s much safer).It is not advisable to replace, repair, or even get up on your roof to inspect it. DIY roof work can be dangerous and can cause more harm than good in both the short and long run. Here are some reasons to leave roofing work to the professionals:
It could cost you more. While cost is the most significant factor behind opting for DIY roofing projects, a substandard job could cost you more. You will face high setup costs for starters because you will need to buy or rent all of the tools for the job. Additionally, if something goes wrong, you could end up needing to hire a professional roofer to fix your roof. A professional roofer will already have all of the tools and will only need to purchase the roofing materials.
Calculations could go wrong. Roofing requires making exact calculations to enhance your roofing system’s integrity. Any inaccurate estimates could prove disastrous, or leave your roof and home exposed to the elements. Remember, measure twice and cut once.
You risk injury. Roofing is dangerous work, especially for inexperienced people who lack specialized tools, skills, and training. You also face the risk of falling and injuring yourself. If you’re alone, then you risk injuring yourself with no one to help you get medical attention. Expert roofers know the dangers involved, how to navigate your roof, and have the safety equipment they need to get the job done.
Improper installation warrants a do-over. It is easy to make a mistake on your first or even second DIY roofing project, which could cost you more if you have to re-roof. Additionally, you may void your new roof’s warranty. A professional roofer will have training on how to properly install a new roof.
You might not like the results. At the end of the day, your roof affects your property’s aesthetic appeal, and you will have to live with the results. Professional roofing work guarantees the roofing style and the outcome you had in mind by showing you samples of high quality materials.
Professional roof inspectors are starting to use higher technology. Drone footage is a cost efficient and more safe way of inspecting a home. By taking drone footage, the consultant ensures that they are not going to unknowingly walk onto an unsafe structure. When possibly significant hazards are identified on a roof our consultants create a plan to safely perform the physical roof walk. Another benefit of drones is that we are able to minimize disturbances to our clients on roof inspections. At our customers request, we can even perform a roof inspection flyover without a customer representative present. Additionally, drones make roof inspections faster, and consequently more cost effective, since the consultant is generally able to pinpoint the problem areas on the roof prior to the physical inspection.