Over the years, roofs often get damaged by weather, animals, and simple wear and tear. Damage to your roof doesn’t always mean it’s time to replace the whole thing–as long as the majority of the roof is still intact, it’s possible to restore the damaged section to like-new condition and put off an expensive roof replacement. While you may be tempted to try to patch the damage up yourself, this can take years off your roof’s life and put your home at the mercy of the elements. Here’s how you can be sure you’re choosing the right roofers for the project.
First and foremost, your roofers should have a long history of working with roofs. Although roofs may look simple on the outside, there’s a lot that goes into them. What’s more, every roof has its own unique needs depending on location, sun exposure, and much more. An experienced roofing company knows how to fix any problem that comes up, from missing shingles to a moldy attic.
Your roofer should also be an expert in your particular type of roof. Roofs can be made from many different materials, including slate, tile, and asphalt. Each one has its own needs and its own problems that your roofer should be familiar with.
In addition to having general roofing experience, your roofer should be familiar with your local area. Roofs in Atlanta have different requirements than roofs in Los Angeles, for example. Different climates create different needs for insulation, design structure, and more, and your roofer should be familiar with the standards in your area.
An Eye for Detail
Not all damage to a roof is easily visible. Your roofer should be thorough in their inspection and repair of your roof, both inside and out. Even small cracks can let in leaks, insects, and other problems. They will also make your building less insulated and cause you to waste energy on your heat and air conditioning. An attention to detail also helps your roofer match your roof repairs to the rest of your roof so that it blends naturally and doesn’t detract from the appearance of your building.
Outstanding Work Ethic
Roofing can be a long and messy job. You need someone who you can count on to be reliable and hardworking throughout the entire process. Your roofing team should keep to the agreed-upon schedule and work efficiently to get the job done in a timely fashion. Equally important, they should clean up after themselves once the repairs are completed to minimize the disruption to your building.
When an extreme weather event causes extensive damage over a wide area, local businesses such as roofers, HVAC repairs, tree services and contractors can be overwhelmed with surge of work that needs to be started and finished as quickly as possible. This opens a window of opportunity for unscrupulous businesses, referred to as storm chasers, which come into devastated areas to pick up the work that local contractors can’t get to. If you are unfortunate enough to live in an area that suffers wide spread damage due to a natural disaster, be prepared for a knock on the door from a storm chaser attempting to separate you from your money at a time when you might be very vulnerable.
Here’s what to expect:
1) A pushy sales pitch that demands action on the spot – Storm chasers see the elderly as prime targets, especially if they aren’t able to get around well, but aggressive sales tactics are common across all age groups. The vulnerability of dealing with damaged property, combined with threats that help will not be available for days or weeks if a contract isn’t signed immediately, can push victims into deals that are overpriced, include inferior materials or end up with the contractor skipping town before the job is started.
2) Promises that with all the work going on in the area you’ll get a great deal – A key part of these aggressive sales pitches is that the contractor will promise big savings by being able to use excess materials from other jobs. Even if this promise is true, it’s hard to really know what you’re getting in terms of the products being used and it’s unlikely that you’ll be protected by the standard materials warranty. In many cases, however, storm chasers will use scrap and remnants to ensure a big profit on materials.
3) Demands for a hefty amount of cash up front – This is the “sweet spot” for storm chasers, and there’s a good chance you’ll be chasing them to get your money back when they don’t show up to do the job. If the contractor is from out of town or has a suspicious address, don’t even think about making a down payment unless the materials are dropped. However, the best solution is to work with a longtime local roofing contractor that isn’t going anywhere.
Storm chasers may also offer to pay the insurance deductible, which is illegal, or create more damage on the roof to inflate their estimate. In any case, your best chance of getting your roof fixed right is to work with a roofing company that has been doing quality work in your area for a long time.