The most common ways that homeowners find roofing contractors is through referral or internet reviews. These contractors then visit the home, assess the roof in question, discuss options with the homeowners, and either provide an estimate right then or within the next 24 hours.
Choosing an honest and reliable contractor who will provide you with the kind of craftsmanship you most want is of the utmost importance. Sometimes understanding a roofing estimate or comparing multiple estimates can be a tough task. This article intends to give the most effective tips we’ve gathered from our experience in this industry to ensure you get the contractor who is right for you.
Confirm how long the roofing contractor has been in business
39.1 percent of roofers go out of business within the first five years of operation. Being in business a long time means three main things:
- The contractor uses materials that function properly over a long period of time.
- The contractor’s craftsmanship is on point.
- The contractor’s customers are happy.
Many issues that can arise 5, 10, or 20 years in the future may not surface in the first few years after a new roof is installed. When a contractor has been in business a long time, it means their track record is stellar and these issues don’t arise for them.
Check for the roofing contractor’s manufacturer certifications
The construction industry can be like the Wild West at times. One contractor might say they can put on a roof that’ll last 50 years for a very cheap price, but then they cut corners that will cause the roof to spring leaks within 5 years. Another contractor might be well known in the region for always doing the job right and putting on roofs that never fail prematurely.
How do homeowners distinguish between these two? One way is through manufacturer certifications. Each manufacturer has different tiers of certification, some are more select than others. Chase Construction North West, Inc. has the highest certification for any contractors in the country: GAF Master Elite®. Less than 2% of roofing contractors have qualified for this certification. If your contractor is Master Elite®, you know you’re getting one of the best roofs in the country.
Look for the warranties the contractor offers
Warranties are one of the most important concerns for homeowners, yet if manufacturers offer workmanship warranties through just any contractor, the manufacturers would end up warrantying a bunch of sub-par and failing roofs.
Manufacturers solve this by only allowing their top contractors to provide the top warranties. As Master Elite® contractors, GAF allows us to provide the best shingle warranty in the business: the Golden Pledge™, which covers materials for 40-50 years and workmanship for 20-30 years.
For flat and low slope roofs that require roofing membranes like TPO or PVC, Master and Master Select™ contractors can offer the unbeatable Diamond Pledge™ NDL Roof Guarantee. This warranty covers the cost of repairs from a material defect in full for 20-35 years.
When contractors offer these specialty warranties it means several very important things:
- The manufacturer has faith in the quality of the contractor’s craftsmanship.
- The manufacturer has faith the contractor uses the proper materials and installation practices.
- The contractor has depth of knowledge about roofing systems.
- The contractor is confident in their own craftsmanship, and that their roofs function as well as warranties imply they should.
Examine material and installation practices differences between contractors
One contractor might use staples instead of nails, not clear the roof deck thoroughly before installation, or space nails too far apart. One contractor might use felt paper as an underlayment while the other uses top quality synthetic hybrid underlayment. One contractor may propose to apply a second layer of shingles to the roof, while another may propose to tear the old layer off and re-sheet with new plywood decking.
As a homeowner, if you have received multiple estimates from contractors, there can be significant differences between the products and services they’re offering that might not seem apparent on the surface. These can mean the difference between a roof that springs leaks in 5 years versus one that goes a full 50 years without an issue. Delve into the scope of work and make sure you know why the contractor is proposing that specific scope of work.
This brings us to perhaps the most important thing homeowners can do to ensure they’re getting a roof they can rely on:
Have an open dialogue with your roofing contractor
My favorite part of the day is discussing roofing projects with our customers. It’s exciting to learn what they’re thinking and to help them make it happen.
If you have a question about anything, give your estimator or contractor a call or send over a quick email. Any contractor worth his salt wants to talk to you about your project. In fact, he would much prefer to discuss your project with you than to not, because it means that you’re both figuring out the best way to move forward.
If contractors are bidding different scopes of work, it’s important that you know why. If you’re getting different estimate prices, it’s important you know why. In general, the price of an estimate reflects the quality of it and how long it can be expected to last. But that isn’t always the case, and a great way to find out is by discussing the details of the estimates with the contractors.
At first, homeowners may not know which contractor is right for them, while contractors also may not know if that specific project is right for them. At Chase Construction North West, Inc., one of our chief goals is to make sure that we know what our customers want and to show them how we can help. This ensures that the project goes smoothly and that homeowners get the roof they’re looking for.
This open dialogue is important during the estimating period, during the project itself, and even for years after the project is done.
Want a free estimate for a new roof? Give us a call at 253-445-8950 or fill out our quick estimate form! CHASE CONSTRUCTION NORTH WEST, INC. is one of the most established roofing contractors in the industry of Western Washington. We’re GAF MASTER ELITE® contractors, and we have been installing fantastic roofs since 2002.