How to Choose a Contractor
5 Easy Steps to Getting a Good Roofing Job at a Fair Price
ROOFING CONTRACTOR, FIND & CHOOSE - CONTENTS: Start with how to find a roofing contractor: how to select a contractor to install or repair your roof, how to get along with the contractor, negotiate the contract, choose the roofing material, and how to resolve any contractor disagreements. Advice includes how to know when to leave the roofer alone to let him or her do the job.
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How to choose & work with a roofing contractor:
This article series provides a simple, step-by-step guide designed to help you find the roofing contractor who's right for you. When you need to repair your roof or replace roof coverings on a building, this article gives advice to assist in choosing a roofing contractor - by Jessie Srader, with edits and additions by DJF. We also discuss how to negotiate the roofing contract, when to leave the roofer alone to do the job, and how to resolve roofing job disputes.
Whatever your roofing repair or replacement needs, you need a qualified
professional roofing contractor you can trust.
How to Get the Best Roofing Job: Choosing a Roofing Contractor & Roof Shingle or Covering Material
Workmanship:The best assurance that your new roof will not leak and that it will have a long life is to select a quality shingle product and to be certain that the shingles are installed absolutely correctly - good workmanship is what makes a roof shed water.
Shingle quality: we would not hesitate to buy a quality shingle product from any of the current roofing shingle manufacturers, including GAF, but
Shingle installation standards we would want to be sure that my installer applied them according to the best practices in the industry since otherwise any warranty will be voided anyway. The principal sources of asphalt shingle roofing installation standards are the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA's Roofing and Waterproofing Manual), and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer's Association (ARMA). There are also ASTM standards for roofing products.
Roofing contractor reputation and experience: Before hiring ANY roofing contractor we would check with the local better business bureau and would ask for references from local customers of the contractor.
Supervision during the roof shingle installation: we would want to be darn sure that the people actually doing the work are trained or at least supervised, continually, every day all day on the job, by a trained, experienced, roofing contractor. Too many roofing companies have a salesman or prime contractor who sells the job but send un-trained workers to put on the roof with minimal or no actual supervision.
Maintain your roof: with your roofing contractor, discuss regular roof inspections, the condition of your under-roof or attic ventilation, and what special problem spots may be on your roof, and what to do about them
STEP 1: FINDING A ROOFER - Beginning a search for a roofing contractor
This means finding a roofing contractor who knows good roofing practices, roof flashing details,
how to handle problem spots on building roofs, and alternative roof covering products: shingle types, grades, colors, low slope roofing,
flat roofing materials, etc.
A competent roofer will
provide you with sound advice on products, reasonable explanation of procedures, and, most important-solid results - no leaks, and a durable roof.
It's difficult to determine the capabilities and reliability of a contractor.
Also see ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR.
Our photo (page top) shows lost shingles from an asphalt shingle roof - possibly due to improper nailing.
Any Home Improvement is a complex combination of elements, the
success of which depends on the quality of materials, installation
and over-all construction.
There are many ways to start your
search for the contractor who meets your individual needs.
Referrals are obviously the best source for names of credible
companies. Ask friends and family members who they have used in
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce about contractors
who are active in the community. The Better Business Bureau,
state and local licensing authorities, local trade associations
and your local yellow page directory are also excellent sources of
information. As well as local suppliers of building products.
STEP 2: CHOOSING A ROOFER - Meeting and evaluating Potential Roofing Contractors
After you have compiled a list of possible contractors, take time
to evaluate each one carefully. A professional contractor will be
happy to provide any information you may require.
Many homeowners have been mystified by the seeming lack of
interest and response from the contractors they call. To get a
contractor to respond to your call, tell him you are shopping
around, but are only interviewing three contractors, not ten.
A contractor is shopping for good jobs that will make a fair
profit and bring future referrals . Many contractors have had
experiences with unreasonable or dishonest homeowners. Therefore,
they look for warning signs of customer problems during the
initial job interview.
Set up a meeting to discuss your needs and their qualifications,
and be sure to pay close attention to the attitude of the company
representative. Good contractors take pride in their work and will
be enthusiastic about the possibility of helping you with your
problems. If you feel confident that the contractor is truly
interested in your project, ask for the company's vital
statistics-specific business information which will help you make
your final decision.
Business Name and Address: A good, professional contractor will
provide the telephone number. These are essential when checking on
the company's previous business dealings.
Experience: The training and experience of a contractor, as well
as the age of his or her company, will help you determine their
ability to successfully complete your project.
Licensing/Bonding: Some states require special licensing for
Ask for business license numbers and information on the company
which bonds the contractor. Then check with local authorities to
see that the company compiles with regulations.
Insurance Coverage: A contractor should carry worker's
compensation and general liability insurance. Request the name and
address of the insurance carrier, along with a copy of the
company's insurance certificate. Beware of low bids which are a
result of incomplete insurance coverage and workman's
Professional References: Your contractor's past can help determine
Ask for credit references, banking information and a list of
completed projects including the names and telephone numbers of
Company Philosophy: Discuss application techniques and
My family and I are assessing whether to buy a lovely 1812 Federal style house. Somewhere in 1860 they built an additional floor and a slate mansard roof. The house is located in Ossining, NY and the owners have never really replaced the slate roofing except for the very occasional slate here and there.
So for the most part the roof hasn't been touched or had any major work since 1860. The attic has some signs of water damage, and the flooring and walls look like they have had severe issues with contracting and expanding so there is warping on the floors and severe cracks on the ceilings and window casings. Could you guys recommend a roofing expert/ inspector for a roof of this style and age near Ossining, NY?
Anonymous by private email 2017/02/24
OPINION: The difference between a roof repair estimate and a roof condition inspection depends on who does the inspection.
Home inspectors, professional roof inspectors, and roof inspectors who work for insurance settlements are not people who would do the repair work.
However there are also roofing contractors who will perform a paid roof inspection. It's typical for the contractor to offer that if you hire them they will credit the inspection cost against the cost of the repair
Obviously you want to avoid conflicting interests. For that reason, some professions such as home inspections actually prohibit the inspector from doing the work that the inspector said was needed. At least that was the professional standard of the model National inspection Association, ASHI, the American Society of home inspectors.
Not all home inspectors are equally qualified to perform roof inspections. In particular roof inspection for your roof needs to be by someone who has depth of experience in slate Roofing. Otherwise you're likely to get crazy advice.
When states begin to license home inspectors, so many contractors who wanted to be licensed objected to the ethical constraint that most states omitted requiring the avoidance of conflict of interest. So it's something you want to watch with care.
We can't make a specific contractor referral, both to avoid conflicts of interest and because more simply I don't have one. Even when I've found a good slate roof contractor, the work quality of what that contractor may provide later to someone else may vary a lot depending on the crew, supervision, and maybe other factors.
What we can do is discuss, when you have 2 or more bids, what you're being told and what prices are being offered. Often we can suggest questions to ask that help steer away from trouble.
BE SURE to use a contractor who specializes in slate. An asphalt roofer may bid the job and ruin the roof or make other mistakes.
If the roof really dates from 1860 there are plenty of questions to ask about the condition of slates, underlayment, slate fasteners, flashings on the roof, roof sheathing, roof framing. Don't let an idiot walk on the roof; inspect from attic, ground, and ladder at roof edges.
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Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Green Roof Plants: A Resource and Planting Guide, Edmund C. Snodgrass, Lucie L. Snodgrass, Timber Press, Incorporated, 2006, ISBN-10: 0881927872, ISBN-13: 978-0881927870. The text covers moisture needs, heat tolerance, hardiness, bloom color, foliage characteristics, and height of 350 species and cultivars.
Green Roof Construction and Maintenance, Kelley Luckett, McGraw-Hill Professional, 2009, ISBN-10: 007160880X, ISBN-13: 978-0071608800, quoting: Key questions to ask at each stage of the green building process Tested tips and techniques for successful structural design
Construction methods for new and existing buildings
Information on insulation, drainage, detailing, irrigation, and plant selection
Details on optimal soil formulation
Illustrations featuring various stages of construction
Best practices for green roof maintenance
A survey of environmental benefits, including evapo-transpiration, storm-water management, habitat restoration, and improvement of air quality
Tips on the LEED design and certification process
Considerations for assessing return on investment
Color photographs of successfully installed green roofs
Useful checklists, tables, and charts
Roofing The Right Way, Steven Bolt, McGraw-Hill Professional; 3rd Ed (1996), ISBN-10: 0070066507, ISBN-13: 978-0070066502
Slate Roofs, National Slate Association, 1926, reprinted 1977
by Vermont Structural Slate Co., Inc., Fair Haven, VT 05743, 802-265-4933/34. (We recommend this book if you can find it. It
has gone in and out of print on occasion.)
Roof Tiling & Slating, a Practical Guide, Kevin Taylor, Crowood Press (2008), ISBN 978-1847970237, If you have never fixed a roof tile or slate before but have wondered how to go about repairing or replacing them, then this is the book for you. Many of the technical books about roof tiling and slating are rather vague and conveniently ignore some of the trickier problems and how they can be resolved. In Roof Tiling and Slating, the author rejects this cautious approach. Kevin Taylor uses both his extensive knowledge of the trade and his ability to explain the subject in easily understandable terms, to demonstrate how to carry out the work safely to a high standard, using tried and tested methods.
This clay roof tile guide considers the various types of tiles, slates, and roofing materials on the market as well as their uses, how to estimate the required quantities, and where to buy them. It also discusses how to check and assess a roof and how to identify and rectify problems; describes how to efficiently "set out" roofs from small, simple jobs to larger and more complicated projects, thus making the work quicker, simpler, and neater; examines the correct and the incorrect ways of installing background materials such as underlay, battens, and valley liners; explains how to install interlocking tiles, plain tiles, and artificial and natural slates; covers both modern and traditional methods and skills, including cutting materials by hand without the assistance of power tools; and provides invaluable guidance on repairs and maintenance issues, and highlights common mistakes and how they can be avoided.
The author, Kevin Taylor, works for the National Federation of Roofing Contractors as a technical manager presenting technical advice and providing education and training for young roofers.
The Slate Roof Bible, Joseph Jenkins, www.jenkinsslate.com,
143 Forest Lane, PO Box 607, Grove City, PA 16127 - 866-641-7141 (We recommend this book).
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
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