Choosing a Roofer

It has been a challenging winter here in the Northeast, with record-breaking snow and rain storms occurring almost weekly. There are going to be a lot of folks, some of them just moving into a new home, that are going to need to find a home contractor and get some roofing work done this spring. We thought it was the perfect time to ask: How do you find a great roofer?

As with most things, you’re going to want to educate yourself first. Find out what kind of roof you have, then hit the internet and learn all you can about what to expect in terms of cost and labor.

While repairing a roof can get expensive, there should be no need to refinance the house. If the roof is less than 15 years old, chances are you can get away with a patch job instead of replacing all of it. If you can access the roof through the attic and take a look, you should know immediately what kind of job to expect.

Here are some tips that will help you get the roof you need without spending a lot of money:
  • Do some research on which roofing tiles you need and how much they should cost. Asphalt shingles are the most popular and least expensive, followed by wood shingles. There are few reasons to get shingles that are any more expensive than wood. Most tiles on the market are of similar quality and almost all come with a 25-year warranty.

  • Ask the contractor if it is possible to lay the new roof over the old one. Tearing out the existing material is messy, expensive and many times, unnecessary. If you need a whole new roof, it might be wise to remove everything from the attic and place it in storage to keep it safe.

  • It is important to remember that just because the boss knows what he is doing, that does not mean the workers do. Ask the roofer what type of safety training he provides for his workers and what industry education programs the workers have attended.

  • Be sure to interview several contactors and check their track record with the local home builders association and the Better Business Bureau.

  • When you ask for a list of references, get addresses as well as phone numbers. With roofing, you can see the quality of work that has been done without bothering the homeowners.

  • You want to make sure the company you decide to go with has full insurance. That means they need to have full liability coverage as well, so that if one of the workers falls off the roof during the job, you’re not responsible for the hospital bills. You also need to make sure that the coverage will be in effect through the duration of the job.

  • It is prudent to pick a contractor that has been in business for several years. Fly-by-night companies are more likely to rip you off.

  • You want to be sure to insist on a written, detailed proposal and examine it for complete descriptions of the work and specifications. It should also include start and end dates, as well as payment procedures.

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