TIP #1: Get your roof inspected for weather damage!
To set the scene I live in a small two-bedroom, one-bath house, with my husband and our lab, Kolbie. When I purchased the house in 2018, it passed inspection but the roof was already in rough condition. So in 2020 when we had our first leak, it wasn’t a total shock. At first I thought we would have to pay for it all out of pocket but luckily a co-worker told me to reach out to my insurance company just in case. I did and it just so happened that a hail storm had hit my house only a couple of months prior. My insurance coverage would pay for my new roof.
Always get your roof inspected for weather damage!
TIP #2: Spend 30 minutes to an hour of your own time looking for roofing inspiration online prior to meeting with a sales representative.
Despite having the funds, picking a contractor turned out to be harder than we thought it would. I asked for opinions on Facebook, which made it seem like everyone is an expert and everyone’s brother, sister, uncle and cousin are the best roofers around. When we finally met with the first contractor (whose ladder was stolen out of his truck in a Burger King parking lot just prior to his arrival), it didn’t even occur to us that we would need to choose what kind of roof we wanted! I mean, how much time does the average person spend thinking about shingles?
Take time to find inspiration and have an idea of what you want before speaking to a sales rep – you can always change your mind later, but this will give you some vocabulary and a starting place!
TIP #3: Do your own research on a roofing contractor.
Now, back to our contractor friend who lost his ladder. He couldn’t get on our roof obviously, so he put together a quote by “eyeballing it,” which did not instill a lot of confidence. The whole appointment was kind of off-putting, and needless to say we did not move forward with that company, though we do still talk about him losing his ladder.
Spend time researching your contractor – look for a company that has a variety of reviews on different sites like Google, Nextdoor, Facebook, etc.
TIP #4: If working from insurance proceeds, make sure your roofer can confidently explain your paperwork and process to you.
Since we liked the look of metal roofing, we met with two different Amish roofing companies before we decided that metal roofing was out of budget for us. The companies were very nice, but again, we really had no idea what price tag we were looking at for any of this until we started meeting with businesses. In addition, the Amish don’t work with insurance companies, and we were very overwhelmed by the insurance language and the large estimates so we were really hoping to find a company to help us in that area.
If you’re filing an insurance claim for your roof, make sure your contractor knows how to handle that situation.
Tip #5: Take the time on the front end to find the right contractor.
We finally went with a company that did my grandparent’s roof many years prior, hoping that a personal recommendation would be the hot ticket. Though the owner who came out to do the inspection was very nice, he also was unable to help us with the insurance, but by that point, the leak had spread, and we were tired of having different salesmen at our home. We just wanted to get it fixed, so we signed a contract.
On the day of the installation, unmarked vehicles pulled up with crews that were unsupervised by the contractor I had hired. Debris flew EVERYWHERE! I am aware that roofing is a major construction project and noise and mess are expected, but this was excessive. To top it all off, less than three months after our project was completed, we got a fresh leak in our kitchen. I had to call and leave voicemails for two days before I heard from someone. When they finally came out, it turned out they had forgotten to seal one of the vents on the roof causing the nice, new mushy wet spot with a fresh hole in it. While the issue was “fixed,” my new insider knowledge of roofing has shown me that it was a short fix and I can expect to need a repair within a few years.
Don’t just settle for any old contractor – take the extra time up front to save time and money in the long run.
What I Learned from My Experience
To round this out here are my new top 5 things to look for when picking a roofer:
- How does the sales representative present themselves/the company?
- Will they help with explaining the insurance process or providing documents to the insurance provider?
- What is their clean-up plan like?
- What kind of warranty do they offer if any at all?
- What kind of roof do you want? You might be surprised to find that there are many more options than just shingles.
I hope this helps you decide on a roofing company you’d like to walk you through the process of a new roof. I invite you to look around our website and see if we can check any of the boxes of the questions you might have. You can also learn a lot about a company through their Google reviews and how they interact on social media. Deciding on a roofer can be a real challenge, but with the right partnership, you can lessen the stress!