When a severe storm damages your roof or progressive aging requires a new one, it is tempting to skip the comparison shopping and jump into a relationship with a roofer. Although this is understandable, rushing into a roofing project may lead to serious problems in the years to come.
However, with a little patience and determination, it is not all that difficult to locate a skilled and trustworthy home roofing contractor. Success can be yours with a measured, step-by-step approach.
Selecting the Right Home Roofing Contractor
We have compiled the top 10 tips that will help you select the right home roofing contractor. In collaboration with GAF Roofing, we’ve included the 10 most important insights from the industry leader’s team of experts.
Your neighbors, friends, and co-workers are potential sources of valuable referrals. It is often reassuring to work with a roofer who’s been successfully serving those you know. A reputable local roofer is also well-positioned to know about local building codes, crews, and suppliers.
Since a reputable local contractor is often in it for the long haul, it is in such a roofer’s best interests to put the needs and desires of the homeowner first. The right roofing contractor will help you protect both your home and your pocketbook.
Major roofing manufacturers certify a select group of roofing contractors who they trust to properly install their products. Since their reputations ride on the pros who do the roofing work, they only certify a small percentage of roofers. For example, GAF grants its Master Elite certification to only three percent of roofing contractors.
Certified roofers are typically authorized to offer homeowners some of the best manufacturer warranties. For example, a GAF Master Elite Contractor is authorized to offer the acclaimed Golden Pledge Warranty. Warranties are so important because it can take years for potential problems to appear. At the very least, you want to know that a warranty provides coverage (subject to its terms) on both materials and labor.
A homeowner with an inadequate warranty may face an expensive repair that he/she has to pay for out-of-pocket. Non-certified roofers cannot usually offer the warranties that factory-certified roofing contractors can.
Some out-of-town roofers that descend on an area after a bad storm are called “storm chasers.” Sometimes, such roofers use lesser materials or perform shoddy work. Some are not found at BBB.org, while others have below-average ratings. By comparison, reputable local contractors will often have high Better Business Bureau ratings. Certified roofers must typically maintain satisfactory BBB ratings to retain their certifications.
Licensing and insurance
Always ask to see a Certificate of Insurance proving that employees and subcontractors are all covered. You’ll also want to see a copy of the roofing contractor’s license that is issued by the state. In New Jersey, you can verify the license online.
Manufacturer certification programs usually require participating roofing companies to have workers compensation insurance and sufficient liability insurance. For example, GAF’s Master Elite contractors must maintain at least $1 million worth of liability insurance.
Emphasis on safety
Since roofing crews perform hazardous work, safety is always of paramount importance. Ideally, a contractor should maintain an ongoing safety program that ensures crews will know how to operate in accordance with OSHA safety regulations.
Top manufacturers also promote safety. For example, GAF was one of the first major roofing manufacturers with a dedicated team of trainers. GAF also sponsors a training organization known as the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence (CARE).
Responsibility for an insurance claim
Although an experienced roofing contractor can help you by identifying all roof damage following a storm, in most states he/she cannot legally negotiate an insurance claim on your behalf. A good roofing company can still be proactive in advocating for the repairs your roof requires.
When your roof repair/replacement involves an insurance claim, don’t try to avoid paying the deductible. Occasionally, there’s a home roofing contractor that will encourage you to skirt this responsibility. However, when a roofer completes work in a way that allows the homeowner to avoid payment of the deductible, the contractor may be engaged in insurance fraud.
Reputable local roofers don’t have to resort to high-pressure sales because their references, referrals and online reviews speak for themselves.
Still, some roofers pressure homeowners to sign contracts too soon. For example, after a bad storm, a roofing contractor might try to get a property owner to sign a contract before the insurance company completes its damage assessment. A reputable, professional roofer will work diligently to see that all roof damage is accounted for by the insurance adjuster. The amount the insurance company pays needs to be fair and proper.
Choice of roofing materials
Position yourself to better evaluate contractor proposals by getting to know a little bit about the quality, design, and durability of various roofing products. If you are investing in a new roof, take the opportunity to consider a new style that refreshes and updates your home.
A good roofing contractor will offer you a range of choices. Remember that high-quality shingles and a superior warranty can increase your home’s resale value.
Contact CRS for Further Assistance
Since 1977, CRS has served New Jersey homeowners with a full range of roofing services. CRS is proud to be certified as a GAF Master Elite Contractor and to offer the GAF Golden Pledge Warranty, the company’s most exclusive residential warranty
We are ready to serve you regardless of your specific roofing need. Please contact us today to schedule a complimentary visit with our certified roof inspector.