Comparing Roofing Quotes

Having your roof replaced is by no means a small job and the choice of contractor that you use for the job is important. It is highly recommended that before hiring a particular roofing contractor  for your residential roof replacement that you look around first, do some research and gather a few quotes from reputable local roofing contractors. Once you have obtained a number of quotes (between 3-5 is usually considered to be enough), you need to make a decision concerning which one is going to be the best roofing contractor for your job. You may think that the obvious choice is the one that offered to do the work for the cheapest price, but there are a number of other factors that are just as important, if not more so, than the cost.

Ultimately if the roofing job is not done properly then it doesn’t matter how cheaply it was done – you will end up spending more in the long run. Therefore don’t immediately jump as soon as you hear a lower than expected price.  Instead ask yourself why this roofing contractor able to bid the job for less than the other contractors. When it comes to roofing you can split the cost into two categories, materials and labor. If a roofing quote is particularly low, ask yourself whether the roofer is going to do the job using low quality materials or low quality labor.  Neither of these scenarios is really an option that you want to consider as both of them will lead to further work or repairs somewhere in the not too distant future.

As well as the discussing the price, take the opportunity to ask the contractors questions and find out about their experience and the level of skill within their roofing crew. When it comes down to choosing one, it’s important that you feel comfortable with them and that they are going to provide you with a friendly service as well as a professional one.

Posted on behalf of Ken Christie, CZE Roofing and Remodeling

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Check With The Better Business Bureau To Help Find A Good Roofer

Do you need to find a reputable roofer to repair or replace your roof due to hail damage, storm damage, or just ordinary wear and tear?  Finding a top roofer can be tough.  The roofing industry is plagued by fly-by-night roofers who engage in all sorts of unscrupulous tactics to get your money.  So how do you weed out the bad ones and find a good roofer who will do a professional job at a reasonable price?

One way it to check with your local Better Business Bureau to see if any of the roofing contractors you are considering has a record of consumer complaints.  Roofers rank near the top when it comes to number of complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

If your roofing contractor has been in business under the same name for several years and has no complaints with the Better Business Bureau, then that is a pretty good sign.  However, if the roofer has a few complaints against them you will need to dig a little deeper.

Don’t automatically eliminate a roofer just because of a few complaints with the BBB.  Keep in mind that almost any business that has been operating for a few years can get a few complaints.  Some customers are impossible to please.  What you need to find out is whether the roofing contractor responded to the complaint and whether the complaint was resolved to the satisfaction of the customer.

The most important factor is whether the roofer responded to the complaint.  You should avoid a roofer that has numerous complaints that they did not respond to.  If the roofer has a history of not responding to customer complaints, they will probably not be response to your concerns either.

On the other hand, if the roofer responded to the complaint and appears to have made a good faith effort to satisfy the customer, you can probably expect similar service from them in the future.  Responding to complaints is an indication that the roofer cares about their reputation and is willing to go the extra mile to make the customer happy.

Posted on behalf of Ken Christie, CZE Roofing and Remodeling

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Online Reviews of Roofing Contractors

Finding a great roofing contractor for hail damage roof repairs, installing a new roof, or any other roofing needs can be difficult.  According to the Better Business Bureau, roofers are near the top of the list of professions for number of complaints.  There is no question that there are lots of shady roofers out there waiting to take your money, but there are also many reputable roofing contractors who do good work at a fair price.  So how do you tell the good roofers from the bad ones?

Many people turn to the internet to find reviews about roofers in their area. There are many websites that allow users to post reviews on everything from duct tape to dentists.   The internet can be an excellent source of information, but it can also be a source of misinformation.  When reading reviews of roofers on the internet, ask yourself a few questions.

First, can anyone post reviews on this site?  If so, highly positive posts could be from the roofer or from the roofer’s friends or family members.  Negative posts could be posted by unscrupulous competitors, ex-girlfriends, or disgruntled former employees.  Unusually positive or negative reviews should be regarded with caution.

Second, are reviews posted regularly over a period of time for this roofing contractor or are they all posted at about the same time?  Businesses can hire a service to post positive reviews on the internet and the reviews will sound “boilerplate” and be posted around the same time period.

Finally, do the reviews sound like they were written by “regular people” who were customers of the roofer?  Expect to see some spelling and grammar errors.  If most of the reviews sound like they were written by an English professor, they probably were.

Internet reviews can help you find a great roofing contractor if you use them wisely and remember not to take every review at face value.

The Do It Yourself Roofing Fallacy

Many handy homeowners are tempted to save money on a new roof by doing the job themselves. The internet is full of how-to advice and installing an asphalt shingle roof looks a job that is time consuming, but not all that difficult.

However, looks can be deceiving.  Before you commit to replacing your roof yourself, consider whether you are actually saving much money and whether you might be better off with a high quality residential roof replacement by a professional roofing contractor.

First, in terms of saving money, the biggest savings will be on labor but some of those savings will be offset by other costs.  The homeowner’s cost of materials will be higher than a roofing contractor will pay because a homeowner will be paying full retail while the contractor may have negotiated a discount on materials.

Next, unless you happen have a complete set of roofing tools, you may have to rent some of the tools and equipment needed for the job which will further reduce any cost savings.   Also, roofing materials are heavy and the roof is a dangerous place to work.   There are an endless number of ways to injure yourself such as a back injury from lifting too much weight, smashing your fingers with a hammer, or falling off the roof and seriously injuring yourself.  The cost of an injury would probably far exceed any savings from doing it yourself.

Finally, although roofing looks easy the reality is that it takes time to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to do a high quality job on a roof replacement.  Roofing skill is particularly important with asphalt shingle roofing because a poorly installed roof will soon fail no matter how good the materials are.  A high quality, professionally installed roof will last longer an provide better protection than a roof you installed yourself.

Avoid Roofing Over An Old Roof

No one wants to spend more than is necessary for a new roof, but when it comes to replacing an asphalt shingle roof, it is generally worth the extra cost to remove the old shingles and underlayment before installing the new roofing materials.  Many home owners cuts costs on a new asphalt shingle roof by having the new roof installed directly over the old roof.

This practice is sometimes called a roofover or layover and can lower the cost of a new asphalt shingle roof because the roofing contractor does not have to remove and dispose of the old roofing materials, but for a top quality residential roof replacement the better practice is to remove the old shingles first.

If you are even thinking about installing new shingles on top of the existing roof, first check your local building codes.  In many areas, local building codes prohibit this practice and even in areas where it is allowed, two layers is usually the maximum allowed.

Even if it is not prohibited by your local building codes, you are better off removing the old shingles.  For one thing, a good high quality roof starts with a clean, solid deck in good condition.  Your roofer will be unable to inspect the roof deck for rot, water damage, and other issues unless the old shingles are removed.

In addition, an extra layer of shingles adds unnecessary weight that can stress the roof structure, and allows moisture to accumulate between the layers of shingles.  Also, two layers of roofing materials can reduce the roof’s ability to dissipate heat.  Moisture and heat can lead to premature shingle failure.

Finally, some shingle warranties could be void if the shingles are installed directly on top of an existing layer of shingles.  It may cost a little more to remove the old shingles, but your roof will last longer and provide better protection for your home.

Roofing Materials Cost Comparisons

Installing a new roof on your home is a serious investment in your home.  Most homeowners want to keep the cost of a new roof to a minimum, but when comparing types of roofing materials be sure to factor in all of the costs of ownership of the roof, not just the initial outlay.

The least expensive roofing materials are three tab composition asphalt shingles.  Three tab shingles have been the workhorse of the residential roofing industry for decades because they provide good protection for 15 to 20 years at the lowest initial cost.  However, three tab asphalt shingles are easily damaged by wind and hail.  When you add in the cost of roof repairs and maintenance over the lifetime of a three tab shingle roof, it is not quite as good a deal as it initially seems.

In addition, most other roofing materials last much longer than three tab shingles.  Laminated asphalt shingles are quickly becoming the residential roofing material of choice because they last much longer than three tab shingles while providing far better protection.  Most laminated shingles carry warranties ranging from 40 years to lifetime.  You may have to replace a three tab shingle roof once or even twice before a laminated shingle roof needs replacement.

Looking at it on a cost per year basis, the cost of a laminated shingle roof may be the same or less than a three tab shingle roof.  The same is true for metal roofing.  The initial installation cost is higher, but since metal roofs can provide good service for 50 years or more, in the long run the cost of ownership may actually be lower other alternatives.

Finally, even if you are planning on selling the home within the next few years, a higher quality roof may increase the value of the home and may be a good selling point that can be used to distinguish your home from similar homes and attract a buyer.

Be Wary of Low Ball Roofing Bids

Most experts recommend getting four or five estimates before selecting a roofing contractor to handle your residential roof replacement.  What you do after getting the estimates can make a big difference in the quality of the roof.  An important concept to keep in mind is to avoid any contractor who submits an estimate that is substantially lower than the competing bids.

Contrary to popular belief, the best reason for getting several estimates is not to find the lowest bidder, but instead to find out what the going rate is for a new roof in your area.  Ideally, when comparing bids there should be several estimates that are close in price.  If so, that will give you a good idea of what the job should cost.

Unusually high estimates should be eliminated, but even more important is to eliminate unusually low estimates.  The reason is that all good roofing contractors pay about the same amount for shingles and other roofing materials.  There may be some minor differences depending on the shingle manufacturer, but in general the material costs should be about the same.

A roofing estimate with very low materials costs is suspect.  It indicates that the roofer has not properly calculated the amount of materials needed or is planning to use lower quality materials than the other roofers.

Like materials costs, low labor costs can be a sign that the roofer uses unskilled labor.  A good roofing contractor will pay more for skilled labor and to keep good roofers.  It means that your roof will cost a little more, but proper installation is critical, especially for an asphalt shingle roof.  Trying to cut costs on labor can result in poorly installed roof that will soon fail.

What Are Laminated Shingles?

If you are like most homeowners, you only replace your roof every 20 to 30 years.  If it’s been that long since your last residential roof replacement, you will be pleased to know that there have been some positive developments in roofing materials, particularly in asphalt shingles.

Twenty years ago, choosing a roofing material was pretty straightforward for most homeowners.  Unless you were going with a premium roofing material such as tile or slate, or desired the look of cedar shingles, the only alternative was three tab asphalt shingles.  You simply chose the color you wanted and the quality which was usually expressed in terms of the length of the warranty which ranged from 15 to 30 years.

Although they were installed on millions of homes, three tab asphalt shingles were easily damaged by hail and high winds.

Fortunately, shingle manufacturers have recently developed much higher quality asphalt shingles called laminated shingles.  These shingles are made from two or more layers of fiberglass matting soaked in asphalt and laminated together to form a thicker, more durable shingle.  Like three tab shingles the outer surface of laminated shingles is covered with a protective coating of ceramic granules to protect the shingle from the effects of sun exposure.

Laminated shingles are much more resistant to hail damage and can withstand wind speeds of up to 120 miles per hour.  They last much longer than three tab shingles and often carry warranties of 40 to 50 years or even lifetime warranties.  As you might expect, laminated shingles cost a little more than three tab shingles, but they provide much better protection for your home and outlast three tab shingles by at least two to one.

Hail or Storm Damage – An Excellent Opportunity To Upgrade Your Roof

If you need to replace your three tab asphalt shingle roof due to storm or hail damage, think about upgrading to high quality laminated shingles.  Laminated shingles are far superior to standard three tab shingles and are fast becoming the industry standard in the residential roofing market.

Laminated shingles are similar to common three tab shingles in that they are made from fiberglass matting soaked in asphalt and covered with a layer of ceramic granules. In addition, laminated shingles are installed in much the same manner as three tab shingles.

However, the similarities stop there.  Instead of a single fiberglass mat, laminated shingles are made from two or more layers of fiberglass matting bonded together to form a thicker, heavier shingles.

In every respect, laminated shingles outperform and outlast three tab shingles.  While three tab shingles can typically resist wind speeds of about 60 mph, laminated shingles are typically rated for winds up to 120 mph.  Some laminated shingles can withstand even higher windspeeds when special installation techniques are followed.

Laminated shingles are also far more resistant to impact damage than three tab shingles.  This makes laminated shingles much less likely to be damaged by hail.

Finally, laminated shingles last much longer than three tab shingles.  Most laminated shingles are warranted for 40 to 50 years and many have lifetime warranties.  Laminated shingles cost a little more, but they last two to three times as long as three tab shingles and provide superior protection against the elements for your home and family.

 

 

Avoid The “Half Completion” Roofing Scam

There seems to be no end to the ways that scam artists will try to separate a homeowner from their money, especially when it comes to roof replacement.  These rip-offs can happen anytime, but they are the most common when an area has been hit by high winds or hail and there are a lot of anxious homeowners who need a residential roof replacement.

In one commonly reported roofing scam, the supposed “roofer” gives the homeowner a great estimate and since most homeowners know enough not to pay in full up front, the con artist asks for a third up front, a third when the job is half completed, and the final payment upon full completion.

Once the homeowner signs on the dotted line and pays a third of the cost, the crook then hires a couple day laborers to tear off the old roof.  Once the old roof is removed, he asks the homeowner for the second installment claiming that removing the old roof is “half the job.”

After the homeowner makes the second payment, the bogus roofer is never seen or heard from again.  The homeowner is out of pocket two thirds of the cost of the new roof with little to show for it other than a dumpster full of old shingles and home totally exposed to the elements.  The homeowner is also usually surprised to learn that removing the old roof is just the beginning of a roof replacement and nowhere near half the job.

Protect yourself from this scam by dealing only with a reputable local roofing contractor.  Avoid out of state roofers who are only temporarily in the area to take advantage of the high volume of work.  Make sure your roofer has a permanent local address and telephone number and can provide references from local residents.  Most reputable local roofing contractors will not ask for any up-front payment and will be happy to accept full payment when the job is completed to your satisfaction.