Everyone is familiar with the three essentials of life – clothes on your back, food in your belly and a roof over your head.
First and foremost, the clothing needs to be durable to protect your body from the elements. The food needs to be nutritious to protect you from elemental disease and starvation. The roof needs to be sturdy and well maintained to protect you and your belongings from the elements.
As far as the third essential goes, there are many reputable roofing companies that do top notch work and back it up with warranties and guarantees. Such is life, however, that there are roofers who are not as reputable or competent as others. It’s a fact of life in any trade and/or business.
There are a few ways to find the contractor who will deliver quality workmanship.
With 16 years of roofing experience, Justin Roberts of Roberts Roofing maintains that it all boils down to conducting some research. “You need to do your due diligence,” he says.
Today, there is a multitude of ways to market and promote a business. Still, it can be argued that none is as effective as good old word of mouth advertising. Real time opinions and recommendations can either vault a company to the front of the pack, or bury it.
Thanks to social media, word of mouth can spread far and wide. “Sometimes, social media can be bad for a company,” concedes Justin, “but if negative things are being said about your company, it’s likely that most of them have been brought on by yourself.”
It goes without saying that a client is going to want experienced people doing a job for him or her. One needs to be wary, however, that just because a roofing company has been in operation longer than another, it doesn’t automatically mean it is more experienced.
The contractor might be experienced, but its employees might not be.
A good example of what an experienced company can be. It was established three years ago and, needless to say, there are proven roofing businesses that have been around longer. What the actual age of this company does not reveal is that Justin and Shawn Roberts, his brother and business associate, bring a combined 30 years to the forefront.
Add to that the decades of experience the company’s crews have.
When it comes to the people who are actually on the job, Justin advises that perspective clients shy away from roofing companies that sign on to do the work, then subcontract it to others.
The subcontractor could, very well, be competent and dedicated to doing it right. Yet, there are other key factors that can make the method of operation worrisome; not the least of which is liability.
The original contractor could be insured against work injuries, for example. The subcontractor might not be, though, and the client could end up on the hook if someone is hurt on the job.
When deciding on which contractor to hire, do not automatically grab at the lowest bid. Remember the old adage; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If the majority of the quotes come in about the same but one is much lower; that’s an indicator that someone might be doing something shady.”
It should also be noted that a reputable roofing contractor will not usually ask for a down payment, unless it is an especially intricate, extensive and expensive job.
It is always a good idea to ask a bidding contractor for references, especially when it comes to roofing.
When a roof is done, it usually looks fine to the naked eye. A few months later, however, a wind storm might blow through and shingles will fly off the roof because the roofer cut corners with the fasteners.
Then there is the quality of materials used in a roofing job. The strength and durability of a particular shingle is measured by a projected life span, Normally, the categories are 25, 30 and 40 years. Since there is no industry-wide standard for what constitutes “40 years”, “30 years” and so forth, it has been left to individual manufacturers to determine.
The lack of stringent guidelines is not because the regulatory agencies are being overly lax. Should a 25-year roofing shingle wear out and look bad before its time, it cannot automatically be assumed the manufacturer is being deceitful.
It is because variations in climate and weather circumstances make it difficult, if not impossible, to offer iron-clad guarantees.
For example, the hotter asphalt shingles become on your roof – and the longer it stays hot – the shorter their useful lifespan will be.
What seems to be a stretch of balmy weather is significantly amplified when it comes to a roof. If it is a pleasant, sunny 24 C outside, the temperature on a roof is around 65 to 70 C.
Heat causes the asphalt to expand and stretch. When the sun goes down, the asphalt contracts back into its original position. Eventually, the asphalt loses its ability to contract back into its original shape, and the granules start to fall out, exposing the asphalt underneath to the sun.
The climate, in any given area at any given time, clearly affects how long a manufacturer’s shingle will retain its strength and lustre.
There is a simple test one can do to see if the granules on a shingle, which are there to provide a barrier against the sun’s UV rays, are up to standard. Run a quarter across the granules on a builder’s sample. If a lot come off, it’s not a great shingle.
Before you pick the shingles, it would be wise to consult with several local roofers and building supply stores. A reputable roofer might recommend a type that will cost you more, but it is bound to save you money in the long run.
The core material in the shingle can affect its longevity. In the northern areas, which experience extreme freeze-thaw conditions, some roofers prefer an older style asphalt shingle with an organic mat core instead of a fiberglass one.
To summarize, the key is to form a bond of trust with a roofing pro who has earned the trust of others and committed to building a superior roof.
Written by: Dan Pelton