The Roofing Process
The roofing process is something you may not be familiar with until it becomes time to replace the roof on your own home. And even then, there’s much to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual needs. Therefore, it’s vital to know that you can rely on the contractor you choose to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right roofing contractor for your job. That’s why we have put this together. The information contained here is designed to help you determine the reliability, reputation and experience of a roofing contractor, as well as their dedication to providing you with the best job possible. Being confident you’ve selected the right roofing company will help assure that you have a quality job and that your hard-earned money has been wisely used.
Here at Grace Roofing, we suggest that you evaluate your roofer as you would any professional. It is certain that you will want contractor who employs capable installers. You will also need to look closely at the price/value relationship of the entire package. But what criteria can you use to decide if the contractor is a true professional who will stand behind his work? While there is not a single answer, there are a number of indicators that you can look for when going through the evaluation process.
- Interview the contractor
You cannot choose a professional roofer by looking at an estimate and comparing prices. Allow yourself some time meet with the contractor. Both of you need time to ask questions and explore the possibilities. You may be surprised at how many options you have.
- Is the roofing company local?
There are a lot of storm chasing companies who are here and gone in the blink of an eye. They may appear local but you need to do your research so if you have a warranty issue down the road you know you can rely on them to take care of the problem. Try to hire a contractor that is truly local. The likelihood of better service and quicker response time is greater if the company is based near your home.
- Does the company carry insurance?
A huge mistake in the roofing process is not verifying that your contractor has insurance. A contractor should carry actual roofing comprehensive liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance* to protect you in the event of a roofing accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance (workers’ compensation and general liability). Let the contractor know you want current certificates sent to you by the insurer before the job is started. Contractors may also carry other kinds of insurance such as auto insurance. Don’t be confused. Ask for proof of general liability and workers’ compensation coverage for roofing projects.
- Worker accidents.
Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, the homeowner might be held liable for all costs unless the employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance.
- Insured/Uninsured contractors.
Contractors who carry proper insurance and follow safety OSHA guidelines on fall prevention endure higher job overhead costs. These expenses could be the cause of price variations between contractors who follow the standards versus those who ignore them. Workers’ compensation premiums can increase wage costs from about 25% to 50%.
It is up to you to determine if it is worth the risk to hire a contractor who does adhere to these guidelines.
- Is the company a licensed or credentialed contractor?
Unfortunately, in Georgia, there is no state licensing for roofers. This is something we at Grace Roofing are trying diligently to get in place. A contractor may answer this question by telling you they have a business license. This is fine, however, a business license is a tax requirement only and is not directly relevant to the contractor’s competence. Many manufacturers offer a variety of programs to professional contractors that establish their credentials as a knowledgeable and professional company who is dedicated to their trade. At Grace Roofing we are “Shinglemaster” certified installers by Certainteed Roofing Products.
- How long has the company been in business?
Needless to say, longer is usually better. Under three years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve. On the other hand, everybody has to start somewhere. A newer business may have a great future but it is only reasonable to be more careful when considering a relatively new business. The failure rate of small businesses in the first three years is very high…and you want that company to be around for any warranty issues you may encounter.
- What is the company’s workmanship warranty?
During the roofing process, you want to investigate the roofing company’s workmanship. Longer warranties are not necessarily more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his warranty. Usually, problems of either workmanship or material show up very quickly. Therefore, the near-term warranty given by the contractor or manufacturer is more important than the warranty coverage during the later years of the warranty.
- What is the company’s track record for solving customer complaints?
Try to find out how your contractor handles problems when they do arise. Request a referral from a job that involved a complaint. Ask the contractor if he has ever lost a job-related court case. Also, check with entities such as the Better Business Bureau and The Secretary of State to find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractors whom you have interviewed. If so, inquire how the dispute was resolved.
- Details, Details!
Most contracts for roofing work are simple and straightforward. The larger or more experienced contractors may have longer, more detailed contracts. Regardless of the form, you should read all of the specific items in the contract carefully. Misunderstandings are more often the cause of contract disagreement rather than actual dishonesty or incompetence. It is in your interest that certain items which are important to you be stated in writing in the contract. The following are some of the basics that should be covered:
- Compliance with local codes and ordinances.
Will they be observed? Are permit costs included? Who will obtain the permit?
Start and stop dates are difficult to pin down due to the unpredictability of the weather. But you can control exceptions. For instance, negotiate a “no-later-than” clause. Be reasonable, but do make it clear that these terms are necessary. If early completion is important, include this clause as well.
- Manufacturer’s warranty specifications
Confirm that the Agreement states that all workmanship will conform to the requirements of the manufacturer’s warranty and installation instructions. Take note that this includes ventilation requirements, fastener requirements, low slope installation terms and ice dam protection. All such terms are normally found on manufacturer’s literature available from suppliers or contractor..
- Contractor’s workmanship warranty
Make sure this is clearly noted in the contract.
Call for a daily cleanup of the premises. This becomes a very important part of the roofing process if shingle tear-off is necessary.
- Payment terms
Method of payment should be written out fully with no room for misunderstandings.
- Preliminary inspection
Finally, agree to a property inspection before the job. Establish the condition before any work is done. List the conditions of landscaping and areas located under or near the roof eaves but do not be unreasonable on your expectations. It is not possible to reroof a house without some damage to landscaping. Discuss and agree on what is reasonable. Prepare a checklist indicating that both parties understand the present condition of the property. A thorough inspection after the job will determine if any valid property damage claims exist.
- Local Information
There are a number of organizations and institutions that you can contact when you need additional help or information about reroofing. Unfortunately, it is not possible to predict which will be the most useful in any given location.
Consider these sources:
- Local Better Business Bureau
- City, county and state licensing authorities
- Secretary of State Website
- Local roofing suppliers
I hope this information outlining the roofing process will help you in selecting a professional contractor. If you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to discuss further.
Please contact us with any questions. We sincerely hope we can be of further service to you…Thank you!