Having a roof replaced may seem daunting to a lot of homeowners and it is understandable to have concerns. Some of these concerns may be legitimate and some may just be from hearing horror stories. But first, a quick story.
I replaced a roof for a lady last year and after we were finished with her roof, she called me and said the vent on her stove wasn’t working. I couldn’t figure out how having the roof replaced would affect the vent fan on her stove so I stopped by to do some investigating. After climbing in her attic and not seeing anything I went to her stove and took off the filter for the vent fan. Low and behold, a scrap of shingle fell out along with some nails. A piece of shingle had fallen inside of her attic and lodged itself in the fan blade. It didn’t do any damage fortunately, but it is just one of those things that makes you go hmmmm.
This article addresses some issues that homeowners in the Raleigh area brought up during a recent forum post and what we are doing as a company to take necessary precautions so these issues only remain concerns.
Having your roof replaced is expensive, no doubt. There are two scenarios when having your roof replaced. You are paying out of pocket (retail) or you are having it done through insurance due to storm damage.
If being covered by insurance proceeds, the cost is cut down to just the deductible. The deductible is not “waivable” or “coverable” by the contractor legally. This can range from $1000-$2500 or even higher. Your specific deductible depends on your policy. With insurance, if you shop for the best price, you only save the insurance company money OR some type of fraud is being committed. Either way, they owe for the actual price you pay. Insurance companies will often short you on the price hoping you find someone that will do it for that. Our advice is to find a contractor you trust to do the work. Have an agreement that your out of pocket is only the deductible and get in writing the work they are doing. They can then invoice the insurance company with proper documentation.
If retail, paying out of pocket, this is when you want to get bids and compare. What are you trying to achieve? Do you want the bells and whistles or just enough to get by? Price isn’t always what is different on an estimate. One company may say remove and replace shingles, $XXXXX, while another lists out all the specific details, but is 10-20% higher. The difference is in the details.
We have financing options available so this may be an option for you. Some of our customers have even decided to finance the deductible portion and we can do that for no interest over the course of a year. No credit check either so it doesn’t count as a hard pull.
If a company says they don’t use subs, they are either lying to you or they are a really big company. The simple fact of the matter is that 99% of residential roof replacements are completed by sub-contractors. Even the big companies use subs for a lot of their residential work. This only means the subs can work for any company and they usually carry their own insurance. Things are done this way within the roofing industry because of how expensive insurance is on workmans comp. And having one claim increases those rates enough to put a company out of business or to where they aren’t competitive with pricing. Fret not, just because a company uses subcontractors does not mean the workers aren’t insured. It merely cuts down on the costs of that insurance.
As far as the reliableness of the subs, this boils down to one thing; how are they treated? Our subs love working for us because they know we aren’t going to try paying less than the agreed amount. In fact, we pay them for things others don’t because we want it done right. And we want our guys to feel the same pride we do when replacing a roof. Those before and after pictures. Those solid reviews and referrals.
The relationship between a contractor and their subs definitely impacts the quality of workmanship the property owner receives. A good way to measure this is to watch when your neighbor has their roof replaced. Was there a company representative there at the start? What about at the end? What about during the heat of the day? We have someone there first thing in the morning to help move lawn stuff and protect landscaping then in the evening to help with clean up. We buy them lunch and make sure they have plenty of fluids. After all, roofing is hard work. We have a lot of respect for the guys that work day in and day out doing the manual labor. Especially during the summer.
Do you ever wish you had become a weather person? You know, so you could just kind of guess at your job and regardless of wrong or right, you still had a job? The weather can change in an instant sometimes. A solid roofing contractor that is dotting their I’s and crossing their T’s would keep a good eye on the weather forecast. And if the weather starts to change, one that will take the precautions necessary. These include not removing more shingles if a rain cloud appears to be heading this way. Check the radar. We use the National Weather Channel app and its predicted radar.
We completed a roof recently, the day before the forecast was 10%. At 7am the forecast was 30%. Eventually at 10:30 am, the radar showed 90% and heading straight for us. We had tarps ready and weren’t removing any more. And guess what, we didn’t get a drop of rain. We were ready if it did, but were fortunate and only delayed the completion by a little bit.
Also, make sure your contractor has insurance. If a freak storm happens and does do damage inside your home, a contractor's general liability policy would cover the costs if the contractor doesn’t opt to fix it or pay for it to be fixed. Most will opt to fix it rather than have a claim against their insurance but that is what it is there for.