A new roof is a big investment that can cost many thousands of dollars. The materials you use will represent a small portion of your investment. Most of it goes toward the skilled labor involved. That makes choosing an experienced roof installation professional the easiest way to ensure your investment and get a proper job completed.
Simple? Unfortunately, roofing is a business that requires not more than a pickup, a ladder and some basic tools to get started, so you have to be careful and do your due diligence in picking the right one for your project.
If you can get a referral from a neighbor, friend or acquaintance, its usually the best way to go. Get the names of at least two prospective companies. Make sure they’ve been in business at least five years or longer — roofers who do poor quality work usually won’t last long.
Check the availability of your roofer. There’s no reason to waste time if they’ve got appointments out several months. Get names, addresses and phone numbers of references, and cross off your list any contractor that hesitates at giving them to you.
Next, do a drive-by inspection of some of their recent projects. Visually make sure spaces between individual shingle tabs, known as water gaps, line up laser-straight as they alternate shingle rows. Make sure 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, aligning with the edge of the roof. Ragged lines mean poor quality work. Also look for neat, tar-free flashing at the roof valleys and eaves.
If the roofs you inspect look like they stand up to scrutiny, call their references and ask them these questions:
When a roofing company comes around to inspect your job and work up a price estimate, note their appearance. If they aren’t clean enough to sit at your dinner table, do you really want them working on your property? Make sure they understand all of your expectations. Know who will be doing the work and who their foreman is. It goes without saying, you should always get everything in writing.
If you’re impressed by them, it’s time to check that they carry workers’ compensation coverage and an adequate amount of liability insurance. Get the roofing contractor’s insurance agent’s name and ask for their proof-of-insurance certificates. Once you’ve confirmed them, then its time to talk about the estimate, which they should be doing without charge.
Get a warranty that covers leaks, flashing failure and any other labor-related problems. A one-year warranty is the absolute minimum you should take, but two or three years is what you should ask for. These same conditions need to go into the agreement, which should also include what type and quality of materials they will use. Ask for the highest-rated, longest-lasting shingles or tiles you can afford to pay for.
Manufacturers will warrant their products for 20 to 30 years. Some can be voided if shingles are put on over existing shingles, so tearing off the existing layer might be a requirement, at an additional cost. 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, metal even longer. Just make sure to get the proper paperwork and proof of purchase needed, in case you have to pursue any issues in the future.
Several other quality checks will help you insure you have a waterproof roof for years to come:
For a free estimate on any roofing issues you may have, don’t hesitate to call the proven professionals at Armadillo Roofing at (512) 333-7663.