Buying a roof can be intimidating, but the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) provides detailed information to help guide you through the process.
An inspection of your roof system in the fall and spring will help diagnose potential problems.
NRCA recommends you hire a professional roofing contractor to assist you with checking your roof. However, NRCA realizes many homeowners prefer to perform an initial inspection themselves. If you prefer to go that route, following are some important tips to get you started.
When inspecting your roof system or cleaning your gutters, remember these important ladder safety tips:
- Inspect the ladder, rungs and rails for damage.
- Make sure the ladder is on solid, level ground.
- Extend the ladder at least 3 feet beyond the gutter, and angle it 1 foot back from the house for every 4 feet in eave height.
- Secure the ladder at the top with a bungee cord or something similar to prevent the ladder from falling.
- Always use both hands when climbing the ladder.
Once on the ladder, you should note the following:
- Shingles that are buckling, curling or blistering; this indicates the end of the shingles' life expectancy.
- Damage around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations.
- Excessive amounts of shingle granules in your gutters; granules give shingles added weight and protect them from ultraviolet rays.
Roofing professionals generally agree a good roof system requires proper design, quality materials and quality application to perform successfully. Yet once the roof system is installed, nothing is more critical to its long-term performance than establishing a program of regular inspections and proper maintenance.
Choosing A Roofing Contractor
Buying a new roof system is an important investment. Before you spend your money, spend time learning how to evaluate roofing contractors. You should insist on working with a professional roofing contractor. NRCA wants to assist you in getting the kind of results you expect—a quality roof system at a fair price. All roofing contractors are not alike, and NRCA recommends that you prequalify roofing contractors to get the job done right the first time. The following guidelines will help you select a professional:
- Check for a permanent place of business, telephone number, tax identification number and, where applicable, a business license.
- Don't hesitate to ask a roofing contractor for proof of insurance. In fact, insist on seeing copies of his liability coverage and workers' compensation certificates. (U.S. workers' compensation laws vary by state. Consult your state's laws to determine workers' compensation insurance requirements.) Make sure the coverages are in effect through the duration of the job. Many building and home owners have been dragged into litigation involving uninsured roofing contractors. Also, if a contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for accidents that occur on your property.
- Check to see if the roofing contractor is properly licensed or bonded. Some states have specific licensing requirements, and others do not. Your state's Department of Professional Regulation or Licensing Board will have this information.
- Make sure the contractor is financially stable. A professional roofing contractor can provide current financial information about his company.
- Look for a company with a proven track record that offers client references and a list of completed projects. Call these clients to find out whether they were satisfied.
- Insist on a detailed, written proposal and examine it for complete descriptions of the work and specifications, including approximate starting and completion dates and payment procedures.
- Have the contractor list the roofing manufacturers with which his firm is a licensed or approved applicator. Most roof systems require special application expertise to achieve lasting quality.
- Have the contractor explain his project supervision and quality-control procedures. Request the name of the person who will be in charge of your project, how many workers will be required and estimated completion time.
- Check to see if the contractor is a member of any regional or national industry associations, such as NRCA. Being a member of industry associations demonstrates a commitment to professionalism.
- Call your local Better Business Bureau or Department of Professional Regulation to check for possible complaints filed against the contractor.
- Carefully read and understand any roofing warranties offered, and watch for provisions that would void it.
- Choose a company committed to worker safety and education. Ask the contractor what type of safety training he provides for his workers and what industry education programs they have attended. The best roofing contractor is only as good as the workers who install the roof system.
- Keep a healthy skepticism about the lowest bid. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many fly-by-night contractors' below-cost bids seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work. Remember, price is only one of the criteria for selecting a roofing contractor. Professionalism, experience and quality workmanship also should weigh heavily in your decision.
At Pickard Roofing, we think Design. Craft. Renew. We are experienced in all types of roofing systems- and provide the right roofing design and selective craftsmanship for renewing our customer’s assets. We invite sustainable building customers to give us a call for your free evaluation. For over 90 years Pickard Roofing Company has installed countless metal, tile, slate, TPO, EPDM, and all types of shingle roofing in the Triangle. Our services include residential, commercial, custom architectural metal fabrication, and historical renovation.