Categories
Maintenance Tips

Trying to Find a Roofer? Avoid These 6 Mistakes

When trying to a find a roofer, how can you tell if a company is reputable and viable? You avoid these 6 common mistakes.

Roofing companies are numerous, and they’re all trying to earn your business.

When it’s time to add a new roof to your home or business, or have repairs performed, it’s easy to be overwhelmed by all the choices and the contractors who want to bid on your project.

 

Common Mistakes Made When Trying to Find a Roofer

When looking to find a roofer, it can be difficult to tell who is a legitimate roofing company, and who is not.

If you’re dealing with a critical situation, you may also have the pressure of a repair that needs to be completed ASAP – and fly-by-night roofing companies who will take advantage of your situation.

Be aware of these red flags when trying to find a roofer, and don’t make any of the 6 most common mistakes.

 

1. Not Checking References

Roofing repairs are serious business.

You’ll want to hire a contractor that has both years of experience, along with the ability and confidence to share details of previous work. You also want to look for references from their happy customers.

Don’t just ask for them – follow up on them. When you find a roofer that is reliable, they will have a portfolio of completed work that they’ll be proud to share with you.

Online references can also tell a story. Once you’ve narrowed down the field of possible roofing contractors, hop online and search for them.

You can always check for scams and bad reports on sites like the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

 

2. Believing in that “Special Deal”

It’s been drilled into our heads that; “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” When faced with a big roofing project and invoice amount, it’s tempting to go along with the nice young roofer who showed up at your home.

  • It can seem perfectly logical that they’re already working in the area, and can offer you a discount on the materials.
  • It sure seems like it’s a shame to waste all those shingles that were left over from their last project.

What a great deal!

Unfortunately, these savings don’t last – the unscrupulous company will claim that there have been additional damages that they didn’t see at first – or that materials have gone up unexpectedly.

It’s hard to argue with a roofer who has already started on the project.

Don’t be caught on an “elevator ride”. The customer isn’t responsible for material price increases. Reputable roofers would be advised in increases by their suppliers weeks before they occurred.

Your contract should have a section that addresses repairs and assessment, as well as one that spells out the labor costs with materials.

 

3. Not Getting a Written Estimate

Even when everything else seems legitimate, make sure that you get a written estimate from the company.

It should cover:

  • Estimated start and finish dates
  • Payment procedures
  • Answer any questions you have

Warranties should be covered in advance – this is an important part of the bid. You want a warranty, and the specifics should be provided to you as part of the package.

 

4. Not Asking Enough Questions

It’s your roof. It’s a major expense. You are entitled to as many answers as you like.

When you find a roofer you are interested in, it’s essential to be prepared for your meetings with them.

Get your checklist ready beforehand. Be prepared to ask about the following, if the roofer doesn’t already volunteer the information:

  • Do you provide a written workmanship warranty? They should. This will cover any problems that stem from improper installation – this is separate from the manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Do you have a local office? Having a brick and mortar office location is the sign of a business with an actual presence in the area – not a contractor who is based out of their truck, and may never be seen again after the work is done.
  • Are you licensed? Look for licensed contractors in your state. Don’t be shy about checking the license number out online to make sure that it’s current and valid.
  • Do you have insurance? Make sure that the company carries valid insurance with Code 5551 coverage: this is workers compensation insurance specifically for workers who are performing roofing installations.

Ask about these important issues now – don’t just depend on the contractor to supply the information later.

 

5. Paying Up Front

Any contractor who asks for payment up front to purchase materials is bad news. A major red flag is a company that asks for you to sign over an insurance settlement check so that they can “buy materials”.

Imagine this worst-case scenario:

  1. You will find a roofer who needs a check up front
  2. You’ll sign over the insurance check
  3. That is the last time you will see them

Unfortunately, there are those who know that an insurance payout for a roof repair or replacement is likely to be substantial. They head to areas with storm damage, and are gone before the homeowner notices that they haven’t performed the repairs.

 

 

6. Not Reading the Estimate Carefully

When you get multiple estimates – and you are planning on getting multiple estimates, aren’t you? – you’ll see that the style of the paperwork will vary a lot from company to company.

No matter how it is presented, you’ll want to make sure that the following items are covered:

  • Project scope – start and finish dates
  • Both labor and materials costs.
  • Cleanup and removal costs – a roof repair can generate a great deal of debris.
  • A break-down on the type of roofing materials – whether they be tiles, shingles, or other materials, as well as the underlay and flashing details.
  • Proof of the company’s roofing or contractor’s license, plus Workman’s Compensation and liability insurance.

 

Conclusion

Even if you’ve already covered these questions when trying to find a roofer, make sure that the information you’ve already been given is mirrored in the estimate.

The good news in all this is that you will be able to identify quality contractors by their willingness to provide all or much of this information without your asking.

Reliable roofers:

  • Are proud of their previous work
  • Have references
  • Have addresses of jobs that can be seen
  • Are happy to share that they have the proper licenses and insurance

They’ll be able to provide detailed estimates, and have the relationships with their suppliers that allow them to give accurate material costs. Be prepared, don’t make the common mistakes, and the best roofers will become readily apparent.

Categories
Maintenance Tips

Fall Maintenance: How to Avoid Leaks During The Rainy Season

Between the dry summer heat and wet winter, Southern California suffers from extremely volatile weather. Luckily, with this fall maintenance guide, you can protect your home from leaks during the rainy season.

Our winter rainy season in Southern California is reliable. It’s a good idea to schedule a check-up for your home every fall to be prepared for any problems that might arise.

It’s the perfect time to clean gutters, scope out arrangements for your Christmas lights, and troubleshoot for any repairs that can be completed before the wet weather arrives.

 

Do You Need Fall Maintenance?

Fall maintenance is an important aspect of taking care of your home, and because California’s weather is so drastic, it’s essential.

If you have a ladder, a flashlight, some binoculars, and some time, you’ll be able to run through our fall maintenance checklist in an afternoon.

Here’s what to watch for – from bottom to top.

 

1. Take a Trip Around Your House

It doesn’t have to be raining to make it possible to spot problems. Because of this, the first step of our fall maintenance guide is to check the outside of your home.

– Check the Perimeter

Walk around the perimeter of your house and look for areas where standing water has occurred.

These might be spots where grass doesn’t grow, where the soil has worn down, or where the concrete has shown signs of staining.

– Check the Gutters

Now, look up. Often, the source of the problem is your gutters.

If they are clogged or not functioning properly, they’re going to let water pool up and flow into the wrong areas – like onto to the sides of your home, or into your foundation.

Water that continues to cascade down your exterior walls can cause:

  • rotting fascia boards
  • deteriorating stucco and mold
  • foundation damage
  • interior wall damage

If your gutters are full, you’ll want to check these areas for any possible wood damage – before more rain comes, and the problem gets even worse.

Look for any visible signs of wood rot, black mold stains, or marks that will indicate where decay has started, and note where they are.

 

2. Keep Looking Up: Inside

Back inside your home, cast a careful eye on your walls and ceilings.

You may want to use a good flashlight for high ceilings or darker rooms. Look for any stains that seem out of place.

If you find one, do your best to see if it follows a pattern. It’s often difficult to determine the source of a leak from just the ceiling, but it will be helpful to know the direction it is coming from.

Note the locations of these spots in relation to the attic space or roof.

– Check the Attic

If you have attic access, take your flashlight and continue your check for possible problems.

If you’ve already found water stains downstairs, head to the areas over the spots you’ve located.

Look for additional water stains, mold, and continue to trace them upward, if possible. If you see more evidence of water incursion, mark it down.

 

 

3. Move On Up to the Roof

Once you’ve checked out the attic, head back outside for some fresh air and head up to the roof.

If you’ve never looked around much on a roof, you’ll notice that there are quite a few places where water can start leaking in – now is the perfect time to get everything sealed up and watertight.

– Check the Roof Vents

The first fall maintenance step is to check out your roof vents. The plumbing vent will look a lot like a pipe that is sticking straight up out of your roof.

These have a rubber “boot” at their base where they attach to the roof.

The problems that can pop up here are cracking and breakage of the boot, or loose flashing around the vent. Of the two, a defective boot will be the most obvious.

You’ll want to replace any of these that show signs of damage.

– Check the Attic Vents and Roof Structure

The second type of vents is designed to keep air circulating under the roof, in the attic.

These can be a turbine style, a ridge vent, or a style that extends along the peak of your roof. The covers for these vents can become damaged or need to be totally replaced.

Look for bent, dented, or missing covers that will lead to rain getting inside your attic.

Also check for loose or damaged shingles, flashing that has come off the roof, or any areas that need to have the caulk replaced.

– Check the Chimney

Fall is the perfect time to check on your chimney – before the first fire!

On top – make sure that the chimney guard is intact, and that the cover isn’t bent or missing.

On the chimney itself – look for cracked or missing bricks, loose flashing, missing mortar or caulk, and any loose or missing shingles.

Chimneys are a prime spot for leaks to start, so always view them with a critical eye.

– Check the Skylights

Skylights can also cause leakages. During your fall maintenance, it’s important to check this area.

If you’re lucky enough to have them, give the perimeter of each window a check to see if there is visible shingle damage or other indicators that there might be a water incursion.

You’ll want to make sure that the flashing is intact, and that there is no loose caulk around the units.

– Check Specifics for Your Type of Roof

As for the rest of the roof, you’re looking for things that aren’t like the others.

If you have shingles, they should be flat and overlapping neatly. Look for any areas where they are curling up, cracked, or look worn.

If there are sections where there are several shingles that are damaged, it’s likely that you have an existing roof leak, or one on the way.

– Check the Roof Valleys

Check the roof valleys for any evidence that there has been water backing up behind leaves or other tree debris.

This is a good time to make sure that they are cleared of any lingering leaves, branches, and seed pods.

Once they are cleared off, look for any of the previous problem signs that could indicate it’s time for a roof repair.

It’s also a good idea to check your gutters for any grit that has accumulated – this is a sign that the shingles are starting to break down.

 

The Final Assessment

Once you’re done with your bottom-to-top fall maintenance tour, you’ll know if and where there are any problems.

If none spotted – well done!

If you do note any problems with previous water damage, or needed repairs, now is the best time to schedule a visit from a qualified roofing contractor.

They’ll be able to make any small repairs, check out your roof, and proceed with your roofing replacement, if necessary.

It’s great to head into the holiday season and winter without the worry of rains forcing you to make sudden repairs.