Lost asphalt shingles on a steep roof (C) Daniel Friedman 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.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about roofing contractors & roofing job problems

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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.

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How to Get the Best Roofing Job: Choosing a Roofing Contractor & Roof Shingle or Covering Material

  1. 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.

  2. Shingle quality: we would not hesitate to buy a quality shingle product from any of the current roofing shingle manufacturers, including GAF, but

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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: How to Find 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.

For specific roofing types there are usually specialty industry & trade associations that can provide referrals to those roofing companies with suitable training and expertise, such as the following:

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 the past.

Readers should also see ROOFING CONTRACTOR CERTIFICATIONS for a simple basic outline of the key ingredients to a good roofing job and a long lasting roof.

Also see ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR. Our photo (page top) shows lost shingles from an asphalt shingle roof - possibly due to improper nailing.

STEP 2: How to Choose 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.

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Roof Repair Estimates vs Roof Inspection

Question: what is the difference between a roof inspection and a roof estimate?

One question: what is the difference between a roof inspection and a roof estimate. Do roof inspectors eventually do the work or are they totally independent?

Thank you the wonderful information regarding slate roofing. (SLATE ROOF INSPECTION & REPAIR - home )

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.

Also see CONSULTANTS & EXPERTS DIRECTORIES where you can find various inspectors & consultants


Continue reading at STEP 3: CHOOSING ROOF MATERIAL or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.




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