Take the Time to Find and Hire a Qualified Roofing Contractor

Tucson roofing company installing a tile roof

Repairing or replacing your roof is an important investment. This is why you should insist on working with a professional roofing contractor who has the knowledge and attention to detail necessary to ensure a successful project. It's important to recognize that your project success is not simply measured in terms of shingles, labor and the price you pay. Your project success is a function of the entire experience, before, during and after the project. Remember, you're not simply buying shingles and labor - you're entrusting your home to a contractor who in some cases, is literally tearing the roof off your home.

Each year the Better Business Bureau publishes complaint statistics on their website. While it's not surprising to find that roofing contractors do have their share of complaints, it can be shocking to see how many of those complaints go unresolved. In a sample from a few years ago for example, more than 30 percent of the complaints were not satisfied, and almost 7 percent of the cases they couldn't find the contractor to resolve them. This is why it's incumbent upon the homeowner to do their homework, and not allow themselves to be swayed by low-cost providers who over promise and under deliver.

Tucson roofer laying asphalt shingles down

Before you spend your money, it's our very strong recommendation that you include the following guidelines into your contractor selection process.

#1 - License, Bonded, Insured

Insist on seeing the contractors proof of liability and workers compensation insurance, and please make sure the coverage is in effect for the duration of your project. Your contractors should be willing and able to provide specifics; detailed information of their insurance coverage, including the name and telephone number of their insurance agent, so that you can verify the information. This is the second most important question a homeowner should ask because many homeowners have been financially harmed by uninsured or inadequately insured contractors. As a rule, homeowners should reject any contractor without proper and adequate insurance.

#2 - Better Business Bureau

Call the Better Business Bureau. Look, even the industry's best contractors find themselves in a dispute for one reason or another. The question you want to ask is, what was done about the dispute after it occurred? The better business bureau will be able to tell you if the contractors had complaints, and more importantly, if the contractor worked with the homeowner to rectify the situation.

#3 - Written Bid Proposal 

Insist on a detailed, written proposal and not a price written on the back of their business card. The contractor should be able to clearly explain how they plan to perform the work, and what materials they will use. The proposal provided should offer complete descriptions of the job specifications, and the products and colors selected. The proposal should also communicate the approximate start and completion date and the payment terms.

In addition the homeowner should be prepared to ask about local building code requirements, and verify the contractors intention to follow those requirements. This is particularly important when it comes to installing products such as ice and water protectors, for example. Some contractors may try to skimp on this product in an effort to save money, which will put the home at risk in the event of wind driven rain or ice dam.

#4 - Warranty on Workmanship

Ask the contractor about their workmanship warranty. This is very important because the leading cause of roof problems and leaks is the result of installation errors made by the contractor. Don't be swayed by long-term warranties provided by the manufacturer - these are limited product warranties with coverage predicated on the contractor installing the product correctly. In other words, if the product isn't installed according to the manufacturer's specifications, the warranty may be void. This is as true of the roof that is six months old as it is for a roof that is 50 years old, regardless of the warranty.

#5 - References

Look for a contractor with a proven track record that offers a list of client references. Some contractors will provide testimonials from satisfied clients which is good, but if you really want to get a sense of the quality of the experience, you're going to want to call a few of the contractors references.

But when you call, don't simply ask the reference if they were satisfied - think about and ask questions specific to your perceptions and concerns, and the factors that may be causing you some anxiety about the project. Here are some examples...

Ask the reference if the workers were as professional and nice as the salesperson who sold you the project.

Ask the references if the contractor made efforts to protect their landscaping and the facade of their home during the shingle removal process, and ask him how it went.

Ask about the quality of the cleanup after the project was completed. Did the contractor leave the home as clean as it was when they found it, or were there nails and cigarette butts left in the yard or driveway for example?

Another very important question to ask is is the project's final price was it higher than the price they were originally quoted? And if so why?

In the end the homeowners ability to have a positive hassle-free roofing experience is predicated on their willingness to do the necessary homework, and ask plenty of questions. Professional roofing contractors who act in the best interest of their customers will not be put off by you wanting to verify this criteria. The professional roofer is proud to tell you the efforts that they've made to be the contractor of choice for so many customers, and the steps they take to ensure a successful project for everyone involved.

Roofing Warranties Explained by Roofing Contractor

Transcript

a Merritt Island man blames defective shingles for leaks in his new roof and says the company will not honor its warranty he's one of several owners who contacted Action 9 about bad shingles from the same manufacturer daddy you're a crook hello and welcome everyone to roofing insights today we're talking about roofing warranties couple weeks ago we published video best and worst roofing manufacturers roofing shingles and today kind of continuing that topic continuing to talk about initial quality in a paper work that comes with it if you're in the market for a new roof you must watch this video to the end thank you so much for coming in this video I'm not going to review all the words I'm gonna kind of review them in bulk for several reasons one of them is legal reason I'm not a lawyer I actually discuss roofing warranties with my lawyer I read a fine print almost and every single one of them and I'm here to tell you you do want to read the fine print experts told Steve the new shingles have blistered and failed but now Steve says the company refused to replace them what's been a nightmare I mean it's going on five years now this video is designed to help you understand the roofing warranty in general whether installer or homeowner who is about to hire contractor hire a company because the roofing warranty are very very misleading listen you a little wiseacre I'm smart you're dumb I'm big you're little I'm right you're wrong and there's nothing you could do about it I'm gonna answer questions like can your roof real the last 50 years and where 50 years they've been coming from so let's get started with a little history here so back in the day I would say 10 20 30 years ago most roofs looked like this asphalt shingles architectural shingles were selling in the United States as a 25 or 30 years shingle five six years ago one of the biggest players in industry came in and introduced 50 year warranty they also call it lifetime few other big players follow up with it and they in order to compete so we'll shingle reasonably last that long did any manufacturer really improve the process and make products so different that doubled their lifetime no changes were made obviously but not major as a matter of fact most installers are reporting that in the last five six years quality of the shingles are going down that's why here at roofing insights I keep telling people that look at the initial quality don't believe the marketing don't believe what you see don't believe the promises don't believe the paperwork don't believe them even warranty promises see this junker I paid $100 for her she's got 120,000 miles on it transmission shot bumpers have fallen off what do I do with her hmm I sell it go with your gut if product is not good and warranty is good and some manufacturers even told me dimension we know our product is not the best out there but our warranty is what does it even mean so I'm gonna compare roofing warranty to car warranty just for the sake of comparison and so it's easily for you to understand and relate as far as life expectancy and what you can expect from roofing shingles for example in Minneapolis in northern climate Department of Labor actually came out with a few article and said roof expectancy in Minneapolis is about 18 years so how do manufacturers get away offering 50 year warranty I'm gonna explain it on a simple chart here so in a car industry you've seen this war engines - so Carl I've two directions drill you run it backwards the numbers go down watch you speed if you buy a brand-new car it's it has to last at least hundred thousand an engine and transmission right and when you buy that car and you buy that warranty you know it's gonna exceed that so lifetime probably going to be northern of two hundred fifty thousand now it doesn't mean that it's a bad product it just means that it's extended warranty now in the world roofing world it's completely different so life expectancy on average asphalt shingle roof it's about twenty I would say on the high end on a good good product thirty years very close to what it used to be five ten years ago that twenty five thirty I firmly believe that's very close to 100,000 miles from the car today that's reasonable expectation of good quality shingle now unfortunately a lot of roofs do fail right around that eighteen twenty again it depends where you live so if you live and wear a lot of snow a lot of hail happens a lot of you know winds your roof will age much faster as a matter of fact a lot of times even different slope in the same house gonna age differently sometimes we come in and in a sunny side that's on this side is getting too much Sun gets baked all the time it's gonna be you know way older or look older than other so reasonable expectations is eighteen twenty if you leave you know in the climates where nothing really happening you don't have extreme heat so you don't have extreme colds you can expect 2530 years can your roof last fifty years I mean in the perfect scenario it can we roofers rarely see asshole shingle past at thirty years usually shingle losses all of these features have become super super dry at the end of the day it's gonna lose most of it granules and you'll see the mat and the water gonna start saturating unlike metal as a matter of fact one of the reasons I think shingle manufactures came up with a fifty year warranty to begin with because they have to compete with the better products they have to compete with the metal roofs with the clay roofs we tiler roofs and those roofs will last 50 years so asphalt shingle manufacturers they were competing against 50 years and there is nothing they could do asphalt roofs not gonna last 50 years so asphalt shingles instead of developing something new they pretty much developed new warranty that's all it is the biggest change was done on paper not actually in the process warranties are only as good as the company behind them these homeowners thought the shingle warranty would cover defects they had no idea how limited that coverage really is now a lot of manufacturing I give them tons of credit guys like malarkey guys like Atlas even being in competition game with the biggest players out there they still say well we don't believe it our warranty is twenty years and it's legit we're gonna cover it bumper-to-bumper so pretty much it would be your hundred K on the car they say yeah we know our roof can last thirty years but we're gonna cover it for 20 years and no matter what gonna happen after 20 years it's kind of you but you get everything out of it if something happens we're going to cover it all so few things that I have to tell you about the warranties in itself because it is a little bit different than buying your car so you usually have three kind of coverages it doesn't matter what manufacturer almost you choose you you have your out-of-the-box coverage which usually 1 to 5 years you don't hire contractor you do it yourself you follow instructions this was you're gonna get you're not gonna register it what the manufacturer is pretty much getting coverage on a shingle so long now if you use a contractor and who is certified with that brand who's gonna register it for you you you should expect at least 10 years out of the roof if you hire professional contractor who has a good relationship with the manufacturer who's gonna use their accessories and so on and then you have in Haynes warranty or extra coverage so those coverages is where you probably have to pay a little bit more for the warranty a lot of manufacturers they figure out just like when you go to McDonald's McDonald's makes more money selling sodas and fries and just you know pretty much on extras this with the roofing manufacturers roofing manufacturers wants you to buy a warranty but to do to buy a warranty you have to buy more components besides shingles you have four other components it's your starter strip it's your ice and water barrier it's your felt paper and it's your hip and reaching goes now even when you do that you have to be really careful and read the fine print because even installers I'm blown away how many how many installers do not read the warranties and still defend the product when we publish best and worst roofing shingle manufactures a lot of people started defining ico dynasty and for that because there's so many people defending in so many installers I decided to include few pieces from their warranty in this video and that's the only warranty I'm gonna talk about so this is directly from their website limited warranty information table and you can see on the left name of the shingle and they have all their products dynasty that most installers defining is a good product and I believe it could be good product but their warranty is not as good it says right here maximum liability dollar limit per square it's only $40.00 I want you to think about it golden rate for something like dynasty it's anywhere from 350 to 400 dollars depends where you in the country right now that's what you're gonna pay it's not gonna even cover it's pretty much half of the material cost alone so your biggest cost and the roofing in style is labor to remove labor to in style permit dumpster stuff like that it's not even the product product it's only 30 percent of your job and would I like your brand you're only getting 40 dollars of it this example came comes from IKEA warranty manufacturing defect resulting in leaks is found in January two thousand thirty four in shingles purchased with a twenty five year limited warranty the shingle were purchased in January 2016 18 years or a total of 260 month have elapsed since purchase IQs warranty obligation will be reduced by there's a formula so IQ maximum obligation would be 14% how would you feel if you buying 25 year warranty you're thinking you're here your roof is failing here and the only getting 14 percent as a matter of fact most roofs do fail in my experience or start major problems from here to here 5 to 10 years 1 to 5 years you you rarely see major problems you will have problems with the sealants if it's not ceiling you have a blow offs so here's a few things that you must look if your warrant and I don't care what manufacturer it is but there's a three things every warranty has and you have to be very very careful first thing is wind warranty and blah so your sales guy will tell you that your roof has pounded and 30 miles per hour wind warranty well doesn't mean anything that's like hurricane but then lower the warrant you will say well yeah that's the wind warranty but I first five years and for sealants so if you have blow ups after that it's on you Wallace runs a roofing inspection company and has to tell homeowners warranty fine print doesn't pay labor usually two-thirds of a new roof cost well I've got a warranty and that's when you find out your warranty doesn't cover very much when there's a beeper you have to call a roofing company nobody gonna come nobody gonna repair it for free it's out of your pocket so look for exclusions for women blow offs another one this one is really big and it's becoming bigger algae so if you if your house have a lot of trees around it even the best roof out there it's not going to look like this after a couple years it's gonna look very bad horrible horrible algae strikes will start growing on it one of the reasons for it because a lot of manufacturers you a limestone so limestone pretty much feeds algae change materials because they were cheaper would get it but now you literally start feeling the El Djem so good manufacturers will give you I would say 15 20 year warranty for LG and the last one is prorated versus not priority you need to understand the payout by the company don't just buy 50 year warranty and pay for it let's say twenty five hundred dollars thinking that you cover it for life now you have to understand what's per rate is sometimes it will be like this sometimes it'll be prorated appear at ten and the rest of it you know like if you have a claim on fifteen years this fifty year warranty that you think you got after fifteen years only pays you let's say you got $10,000 after fifteen years you're only getting three thousand dollars I want to close this video with the following statement roofing warranty are important they are super important as important as a product but I would highly highly recommend choose the best product first in my previous video link in below you can find what we recommend top three brands certainteed Atlas and Owens Corning and we have reason to recommend them we don't install two of them we install one of them but we believe that those products stand behind their warranties now if somebody comes to me and say well what about this product they have good warranty for me I would rather choose a shingle that I know and see the better initial quality then believe in the paper work at a competitor that just means I hope I help somebody to choose new product again you have to do your research on your own if you're looking for the contractor we would like to connect you here at the roofing insights we don't charge contractors and homeowners for connection we do it for free we do it just because we're trying to help as many people as possible we have a big big network of roofing contractors all over the country so if you the homeowner and looking for good reputable contractor in your area and we cannot help you in we only serve Minneapolis and Florida Orlando market but if you have let's say Texas or Colorado or Chicago we don't care where you're from send us a message go to our website roofing in size com submit the form say hey dementia I'm looking for contractor in this area and I'll do my best to connect you with somebody that I can put my name on for recommendation thank you so much guys for coming we'll see you in the next video thanks for watching another one of my videos don't forget to subscribe you know the geek you know everything to do that ring wherever it is just do it

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Tips on Installing Self Adhering Roof Membrane for Flat or Low Slope Roofs

Low slope areas such as car ports, garages, porches and sun rooms - anything below a 2 / 12 pitch requires special attention. Without the drainage of a steep slope, these roofs can take a hard beating from rain, ice and snow. You've probably seen the problem leaks that occur where these low sloped roofs tie in with the main house. To provide you with materials that can meet these challenges GAF has developed a series of self-adhering membranes that go down easy, apply with simple tools, and provide maximum protection. Let's take a look at these revolutionary low slope products and see how they install.

Liberty is a system for low slopes, with a pitch between 1/2 inch to 6 inches per foot. Designed as a complete roofing system, these membranes serve as a waterproofing for the field of the roof and also are applied as flashings at parapets, perimeter terminations, and typical rooftop penetrations. The Liberty product line consists of three membranes.

  1. The Liberty cap sheen and two base sheets
  2. Liberty mechanically attached base sheath
  3. Liberty self adhering base ply sheet

Incorporating all three membranes helps assure a premium membrane assembly. Self adhering base sheets may be applied directly to wood decks. However, from a long-term perspective that option limits re-roofing potential. The best option for long-term performance includes the premium Liberty 3 ply system. Liberty mechanically attached base sheet first. Liberty self adhered base sheet next. And the Liberty cap sheet on top. To ensure proper adhesion of any Liberty self adhered system, it must be installed when the weather is dry and forty-five degrees Fahrenheit or higher.

The substrate for the Liberty system must be clean and dry. All penetration curbs, perimeter cants, nailers etc, must be in place.

We will now look at the installation of a Liberty system installed over an uninsulated wood deck. Liberty mechanically attached base sheet, also called Liberty MA base, is a one metre (or 39 3/8 inch) wide membrane that is surfaced on the top with a plastic film designed to maximize the attachment of other self adhering Liberty membranes. This sheet is designed to be mechanically attached directly to the deck, or installed above board insulation. For installation over board insulation, see the Liberty instructions.

Over nailable decks, the Liberty MA base sheet is nailed with a typical base sheet pattern, using one inch square or round metal capped nails. Start by cutting the Liberty MA base sheet into one-third width strips to ensure that the cap sheets side seams do not line up directly over the base sheet seams. Starting at the low side of the roof, position the one-third with sheet parallel to the edge of the roof. Overhang the roofs edge to accommodate the anticipated perimeter termination detail. Allow the sheet to relax and remove any wrinkles to provide the smoothest surface for other plys.

Whether installing Liberty mechanically attached base sheet, or Liberty self adhered base sheet, your edge metal details are the same. At the edge of the roof, install drip edges. Primed metal drip edge is required at eaves and rakes on Liberty systems. At eaves and rakes, install the bed of topcoat matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to set the metal drip edge into. Next, to better seal the flange at the base sheet base ply, nail the drip edge three inches on center in a staggered pattern using roofing nails.

Finally, apply a 1/16 to 1/8 inch troweling of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to the top of the metal, prior to installing the Liberty cap sheet over drip edges. Using a notched trowel helps assure a proper application rate of adhesive. Liberty systems require the use of SBS adhesives and cements. Other non SBS cements may have an adverse reaction, and damage the Liberty membrane.

Where flanged metal termination and penetration flashings are to be installed, they must be primed and should be installed in a 1/8 to 1/16 inch troweling of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement over the Liberty base ply sheet. In addition, apply a troweling of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to the top of any metal flanges prior to the application of the Liberty cap sheet.

Now install the remaining base sheets. The first row of fasteners at the edge of the roof will be one to two inches from the leading edge and on nine inch centers. Subsequent courses of mechanically attached base sheet are positioned with the side lap aligned to the ley line on the preceding sheet. Position the sheet and avoid wrinkles. Allow the sheet to relax. Locate fasteners in the lap formed with the next course of base MA.

Next, locate the second row of fasteners 14 inches from the leading edge on 18-inch centers. The third row of fasteners should be 26 inches from the leading edge on 18-inch centers. The centers for the second and third rows should be staggered to minimize the risk of uplift and other movements.

Continue to apply base sheet MA across the roof overlapping the end of the preceding sheet a minimum of 6 inches. Where wind uplift resistance is a concern, you may apply a bead of caulk in this overlap, and then nail the overlap area a minimum of 6 inches on center. End laps and adjacent courses should be offset a minimum of 36 inches to reduce the risk of leaks.

The Liberty self and hearing base ply sheet is also a 1 meter (or 39 and 3/8 inch) wide membrane that has a plastic film top surface designed to receive the Liberty cap sheet. On the bottom, the surface is a splint back release film designed to be removed to uncover a self adhering surface. The Liberty self adhering membranes have extremely aggressive self adhering properties. When installed directly to wood, they will adhere very strongly. While the adhesion to wood is good without primer, the best long-term adhesion is achieved when the wood is lightly primed with one coat of matrix 307 asphalt concrete primer, or a comparable ASTM D41 type primer.

Remember to allow the primer to dry completely prior to the installation of the Liberty self adhering base sheet. Over application of primer, or application of the membrane over wet primer, may cause the roof to blister. Cut a two-thirds width of the Liberty base ply and align it with the edge of the roof, plus whatever is required to turn down on the fascia.

Position the selvage line on the high side of the roof to provide an overlap guideline and to assure that water flows over the side. Next fold the sheet away from the edge of the roof along its length, exposing the bottom of the sheet. Remove the narrow width of release film from the back of the sheet. Working from the center of the length of the Liberty base ply, allow the sheet to roll on to the deck, being careful to avoid wrinkles and trapped air and while maintaining proper alignment with the edge of the roof. The resulting smooth surface assures a sound, receptive substrate for the Liberty cap sheet.

Firmly press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and craft air as the ply adheres to the deck, and press down the fascia. Position the selvage line on the high side of the roof to provide an overlap guideline, and to assure that water flows over the side laps. Now fold the top portion of the sheet back on itself exposing the remaining release film. Remove the release film, and then roll the sheet into place working from the center of the sheet outward, towards the ends of the sheet. Firmly hand press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trapped air. Where additional lengths of Liberty base ply are added in the same course, overlap the end of the previous sheet a minimum of six inches to provide the best protection against leaks.

On the upper, overlapping sheet cut the selvage edge at a 45 degree angle to provide a tapered transition at the t-joints formed by succeeding courses. This provides a smooth transition and reduces the chance for blisters and loose laps. End laps and adjacent courses should be offset a minimum of 36 inches. Install additional courses of Liberty base ply as follows:

  1. Align the base ply with the installation line on the sheet in the previous course.
  2. Fold the sheet in half, away from the selvage edge of the lower sheet along its length exposing approximately half of the bottom of the sheet.
  3. Remove the exposed release film.
  4. Working from the center of the length of base ply sheet, allow the sheet to roll onto the primed deck, being careful to avoid wrinkles and trapped air while maintaining proper alignment with the selvage edge of the previous course.
  5. Firmly hand press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trapped air. Fold the other half of the sheet back on itself exposing the remaining release film.
  6. Remove the release film, and roll the sheet in place working from the center of the sheet outward toward the ends of the sheet.
  7. Complete any side lap installations by hand pressing and rolling the lap.
  8. Apply uniform pressure to the entire area by using a method suitable to the roof slope. A long-handled push broom or a weighted roller is ideal. This creates a solid bond between plies.

The next step is the installation of the cap sheet. Roll out and cut manageable lengths of Liberty cap sheet. Before installing, let the sheets relax on the roof. This allows the ends of the rolls to lay flat, giving a much better finished roof. At the low point on the roof, align a length that allows a wrinkle-free installation of a full width sheet of Liberty cap sheet. The selvage edge of the sheet should be positioned up the roof. Fold the sheet away from the edge of the roof along its length, exposing approximately half of the bottom of the sheet. Remove the release film from the sheet. Working from the center of the length of cap sheet, allow the sheet to roll onto the base ply sheet. Firmly hand press the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trap air. Now fold the other half of the sheet back on itself, remove the release film and roll the sheet in place, working from the middle to the outside edges.

Applying a bead of matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement adhesive along the top edge of each cap sheet, and at any selvage edge t-joints in any self adhered system, minimizes the possibility of lap blisters forming, and seals one row from another. Firmly press or roll the sheet to avoid wrinkles and trapped air in the cap sheet.

Due to the thickness of Liberty cap sheet, this weight can pull the membrane down-slope. Overlap the end of the previous sheet by a minimum of six inches. It is a good idea to leave a minimum eight inches of release film on the back of the overlapping cap sheet. This will prevent unwanted bonding to the granule surface of the underlying sheet when installing the adjoining sheet. End laps and adjacent courses must be offset from one another by at least 36 inches.

On the upper sheet cut the selvage edge at a 45 degree angle to provide a smooth, tapered transition at the t-joints formed by succeeding courses. Complete the overlapping end joint by pulling the overlapping edge back, and applying matrix 201 premium SBS flashing cement to the granule surface of the underlying sheet, using a notched trowel. Spread the cement to a thickness of approximately 1/16 to 1/8 of an inch. At the selvage edge remove only enough release film to accommodate the end lap. To ensure a good end lap, roll the lap area after installation. Install additional courses of Liberty cap sheet as follows:

  1. Position the cap sheet to overlap the previous courses selvage edge width.
  2. Fold the sheet in half away from the selvage edge of the lower sheet along its length, exposing approximately 20 inches, or 508 millimetres, of the bottom of the sheet.
  3. Remove the selvage edge release film from the underlying sheet, except for the short piece in any overlap section of end laps.
  4. To ensure a good end lap, role the lap area after the installation.
  5. To complete the application of the cap sheet, roll the entire membrane with a weighted roller to assist with adhesion. Any adhesive bleed out can be covered with loose granules present a more professional and pleasing appearance.

Flashing of walls roof terminations and penetrations can also be done with Liberty membranes and pre flashed SBS and weld units. As with all vertical flashings, the flashing is nailed off at the top and counter flashed.

Liberty is just one of the self adhered products offered by GAF. Others include the freedom series of self adhered TPO roofing membranes. Freedom membrane is a tough, commercial grade membrane that is easy to install ,long lasting and energy efficient with a white reflective surface.

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Tucson roofing contractor installing tile roof

Finding Reputable Roofing Contractors

Let's hope that you're here today to find out how to hire a roofer in the case that you think you may need one soon, and that you're not currently in the, "uh-oh!" moment right now because you can see the sky through your roof. Either way, when you need a solid roof over your head, you need a solid roofer!  In the article below you're going to learn seven tips to hiring a residential roofing contractor and what you should be ready for to make sure you get the service you deserve.

Let's take a closer look at the steps involved to hiring a roofing contractor in the Tucson or surrounding southern Arizona area. And before we get to that I would like to share a story with you that a friend shared with me about his experience with the first home that he bought in Phoenix, AZ, and what happened when he learned he had to have a full roof replacement.

My friend explained that he had put so much sweat equity into the place that he had completely tapped out his bank account with some of the renovations and projects he was doing on the house, and the last thing on his mind was replacing that roof. When he found himself in the attic with pots and pans trying to contain the water coming through during a monsoon, he realized he really had to get this thing fixed. In this situation, it was clear that there was no patch, there was no repair that could be done with this roof. This was going to have to be a full on new roof replacement.

So one of the things that he did was quickly talk to some of the homeowners in the area. He also started looking online for online ratings and reviews to find a good contractor. He put in a request to have some out to the house to give him some quotes to see what kind of pricing they would offer, and there were certainly some that stood out from others.

The thing that makes this even more interesting is that one of his neighbors on the same block was also going through the same issue and also doing his vetting process for who he was going to hire. Ultimately my friend hired a  highly qualified, licensed, bonded and insured roofer that replaced his roof with everything done to code, and there was never a problem after that. Unfortunately, his neighbor chose to go the cheaper route and didn't hire a licensed, bonded or insured roofer and what ended up happening is he paid even more money. It's like he had to replace two roofs, because the people that were licensed, bonded and insured that ultimately replaced his roof had to undo the screw ups from the first construction crew and essentially do a whole new roof installation.

That's why we're having this conversation today.

So let's talk about the seven things you want to do, and what he did, as you move forward in figuring out how to choose a quality contractor.

Finding Roofing Contractors

The first thing is finding contractors who are going to do the work the way it should be done. That means a company you feel confident entering a contract with who has a proven track record of quality, professional work with plenty of customers willing to recommend them.  But the question is, how do you find a contractor that does this kind of work in the Tucson area? There are a lot of roofing companies to choose from around Tucson and southern Arizona, so you want to make sure you pick one that you'll be satisfied with their work. 

When we talk about finding contractors, we use Google for everything. We suggest using google initially, and then you can cross-reference it against yelp, cross-reference it against anything else that you need to do. And of course you're going to want to ask your family and your friends if they've had any good roofers, or know of any good roofers, that you can interview for the job of replacing your roof.

Initially you may want to have as many as ten different contractors on your list before you start filtering it down to a smaller, more manageable list.

That'll take us to step two, which is filtering and sorting out, and coming up with a short list of your favorite 2 to 3. Now how are you going to know which two three are your most favorite?

Hop back on to google to check out those online ratings and reviews, see what other people are saying. And by the way, if someone gave you a recommendation for a certain company and they don't have a website that you can find, that's already a problem. Let's face it, and let's be honest here, anybody and everybody that has a reputable business at this point has a website that can be found. Anybody and everybody that is reputable in their trade, in their profession is going to make it easy for you to find them for just this purpose - to help potential customers in screening and narrowing down who the people are that you want to have over to your home to interview. If they don't have a website, it's already not a good sign. Scratch that one and move on to the next.

As you're going through the reviews, of course you are going to want a clue in not only on seeing all the wonderful positive reviews about companies, but also clue specifically on negative reviews. Why was it a negative review? Was it something that the company did, or one of their workmen had done on the house that caused that negative review? Or was it simply one of those cases that a customer just can't be pleased, is never happy and just a bad client? Let's be honest, they do exist, right?

Confirm Their Accreditation

After that you want to do is move on and confirm their accreditation. An easy way to do that is to review your state's licensing and certification board which can vary state to state. In Arizona, you want to check the ROC - the Arizona Registrar of Contractors, which can be found at https://roc.az.gov

What you're going to do specifically is you're going to use their search tools on that website by entering in that contractors license number. What will happen is it'll populate a list of results to see if there's been any complaints, and also of course to make sure they do have accreditation and liability insurance as they say they do.  While you're at it, you might also have a look at the Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if they're listed there.  

And finally, you may want to have a look at their website.  In today's day and age, having a professional website is a basic business need.  If a company hasn't even bothered to put something together to put their best foot forward for potential customers, it might be indicative of how they manage their business (and maybe even the worksite; i.e. your home or business when they're working on it).  It's a quick and easy look that you can do to get a sense of the company, and maybe put a face to the name, and it only takes a moment, so you might as well have a look. 

Contact Various Roofing Companies

The third thing is you want to contact the various roofing companies that made it to your top two or three on you list and make sure that you're letting them know what kind of things you need done. If you're wondering how you should describe this to them, that's a great question. There's four things you want to consider sharing with them.

  1. Is the type of the roofing job are you looking for. Are you looking for a replacement, or are you looking for a patch or small repair job? What is the magnitude? Is it a full roof replacement a partial roof replacement? Describe it to the best of your ability to let them know what they're getting themselves into to.
  2. Any other related jobs that might come up because they're on the roof anyways. Perhaps you've noticed a gutter that needs to be reattached or a scupper that has a crack... Those might be other items that you would like to ask them about, and if it's something they can take care of while doing the other work.
  3. The materials they'll need. Now you might be saying, "I'm not a roofer! How the heck am I supposed to know what a roofer needs?" Well, fortunately it's pretty simple. You know if you have a tile roof or a shingle roof. You may know if the paper underneath the roof is going bad. You may know some of those things. If you don't know, that's okay too. Just tell them, "I have a tile roof" or "I have a shingle roof, but I'm not completely certain what all is going to be needed. I'm hoping that you can tell me more about that in your estimate that you provide to me."
  4. The time frame involved. How soon do you get this done? Understand that whenever you go into a rainy season in an area, like monsoon season in arizona, you may not get that service right now unfortunately. So you want to give them a time frame, and you also want to be honest with yourself about what's going on at that time of the year with your climate, so that you can have a reasonable forecast of when to expect them out. But feel free to share your desire with them about how soon you want to have them out. Whatever works best for you and the roofing company's ability to accommodate you, that'll help you winnow down your list to finding the right contractor for you.

Getting Roof Quotes

The fourth step you'll take to finding the right contractor for your roof is getting quotes. Of course you're going to want to know how much is this going to cost you at the end of the day.

Now a good roof professional is going to take the time to explain that it's hard for them to give you an accurate estimate unless they go out for a site visit. Make sure that you schedule a time that's convenient to both your schedules to come out, let them up on the roof to do a site visit and let them do what they need to do, and then ask them if they are prepared to give you an estimate. If not right now, how soon can you expect one? Do the same thing with the other top contenders on your list.

Reviewing The Roofers Quotes

Step five is reviewing the quotes. You want to make sure that you understand what the quote entails. A good roofing contractor will break down the expenses from materials to labor to parts - plus anything else that may be required for the job of fixing your roof.

Now when it comes to quote,s there are five things specifically to take a closer look at.

  1. The physical address of the company. Quickly go on the google earth and make sure they are a company, they have a physical location. This is a good thing. So it should be on the quote along with emails and contact information.
  2. Detailed pricing. Again that list should breakdown all the materials needed as well as the labor costs.
  3. The quality of materials they intend to use with that estimate, depending on the roof material you have, such as metal (if you have a metal roof - DC Roofing does not do metal roofing at this time), tile, asphalt, flashing or whatever. Now believe it or not, especially when it comes down to something like a tile roof, there is an underlayment material that sometimes is called "paper" that goes underneath the tile. There's also synthetic composites that can go underneath it to have a much higher duration, and a much higher lifespan. You want to know what is the quality of the material being used, from the tiles or the shingles to the paper that's used as an underlayment beneath those tiles. Know exactly what you're paying for and the quality you can expect.
  4. The labor and other costs associated. You want to know how much is labor costing. If the quote itself is like for twenty thousand dollars for a full roof replacement, and like seventeen thousand dollars of that is for labor, there may be a little bit of a problem. You want to make sure that you're paying a fair price for great service, and understand how many workmen are going to be involved on the job site while they're fixing your roof.
  5. Your payment options. Now to start a project, a lot of contractors need some money to get going upfront, and that's because they're going to have to buy materials, and they want to know that you have skin in the game, too. You're not just going to disappear on them. At the same time, you don't need to give all the skin in the game upfront. See if you can work out a mutually beneficial arrangement. Perhaps you give them a third upfront, a third in the middle of the project and you give them the final payment upon satisfactory completion of the job. A good roofing contractor be willing to listen and work with you.

Interviewing The Roof Contractors

The sixth thing on our list is for you to interview the contractors on your shortlist. As you do these interviews, consider the following five things:

  1. Business permits and certifications. Ensure that they have them and that they are licensed, bonded and insured.
  2. What is the history of this business? How established are they in the local community? Now this can become very, very important to know because if they've been around for a while, more than likely they'll still be around five to ten years in the future and they'll cover that warranty they may be giving you.
  3. Asking for previous customer references and testimonials. A good roofing contractor is probably going to have a portfolio of previous work done and customers names to provide to you, where pictures are showing before and after the work they have done.
  4. Workmen's insurance and material warranties. While you're asking them these questions, go ahead and also ask them how much coverage do they have through their company insurance in case general damages are caused to your home, that you don't get stuck with it as a policyholder.
  5. Is if there anything that's required like getting permits, cleaning up after the job is done, maintenance moving forward, it should be a given that they will take care of things. Any reputable person is going to back up the quality of work that they do and make sure that you're happy, and let you know for a fact that they've got you;re back.

Signing The Roof Contract

The seventh step is simply signing the contract with them to get the project going and get your roof fixed. So when you're looking at everything, and as you're going through your quotes, sometimes cheaper isn't always better and sometimes more money isn't always better. Find the one that you felt the most connected to, and that you feel is the best for you to move forward, and can back up their work with results that have been proven and demonstrated to give you peace of mind, comfort, and confidence moving forward with them.

So whether you are building a new house, renovating an old one or just doing repairs on your current home, follow these steps to make sure you hire an industry proven, quality roofing contractor that uses the right products and offers fair prices. And if you feel you need a roof inspection, read our article to get your self up to speed.

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