How to Get the Best Memphis tn Roofing Job: Choosing a Roofing Contractor & Roof Shingle or Covering Material
- Workmanship:The best assurance that your new roof will not leak and that it will have a long life is to select a quality shingle product and to be certain that the shingles are installed absolutely correctly – good workmanship is what makes a roof shed water.
- Shingle quality: we would not hesitate to buy a quality shingle product from any of the current roofing shingle manufacturers, including GAF, but
- Shingle installation standards we would want to be sure that my installer applied them according to the best practices in the industry since otherwise any warranty will be voided anyway. The principal sources of asphalt shingle roofing installation standards are the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA’s Roofing and Waterproofing Manual), and the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturer’s Association (ARMA). There are also ASTM standards for roofing products.
- Roofing contractor reputation and experience: Before hiring ANY roofing contractor we would check with the local better business bureau and would ask for references from local customers of the contractor.
- Supervision during the roof shingle installation: we would want to be darn sure that the people actually doing the work are trained or at least supervised, continually, every day all day on the job, by a trained, experienced, roofing contractor. Too many roofing companies have a salesman or prime contractor who sells the job but send un-trained workers to put on the roof with minimal or no actual supervision.
- Maintain your roof: with your roofing contractor, discuss regular roof inspections, the condition of your under-roof or attic ventilation, and what special problem spots may be on your roof, and what to do about them
STEP 1: FINDING A ROOFER – Beginning a search for a Memphis tn roofing contractor
This means finding a roofing contractor who knows good roofing practices, roof flashing details, how to handle problem spots on building roofs, and alternative roof covering products: shingle types, grades, colors, low slope roofing, flat roofing materials, etc.
A competent roofer will provide you with sound advice on products, reasonable explanation of procedures, and, most important-solid results – no leaks, and a durable roof. It’s difficult to determine the capabilities and reliability of a contractor.
Any Home Improvement is a complex combination of elements, the success of which depends on the quality of materials, installation and over-all construction.
There are many ways to start your search for the contractor who meets your individual needs. Referrals are obviously the best source for names of credible companies. Ask friends and family members who they have used in the past.
Contact your local Chamber of Commerce about contractors who are active in the community. The Better Business Bureau, state and local licensing authorities, local trade associations and your local yellow page directory are also excellent sources of information. As well as local suppliers of building products.
STEP 2: CHOOSING A ROOFER – Meeting and evaluating Potential Memphis tn Roofing Contractors
After you have compiled a list of possible contractors, take time to evaluate each one carefully. A professional contractor will be happy to provide any information you may require.
Many homeowners have been mystified by the seeming lack of interest and response from the contractors they call. To get a contractor to respond to your call, tell him you are shopping around, but are only interviewing three contractors, not ten.
A contractor is shopping for good jobs that will make a fair profit and bring future referrals . Many contractors have had experiences with unreasonable or dishonest homeowners. Therefore, they look for warning signs of customer problems during the initial job interview.
Set up a meeting to discuss your needs and their qualifications, and be sure to pay close attention to the attitude of the company representative. Good contractors take pride in their work and will be enthusiastic about the possibility of helping you with your problems. If you feel confident that the contractor is truly interested in your project, ask for the company’s vital statistics-specific business information which will help you make your final decision.
- Business Name and Address: A good, professional contractor will provide the telephone number. These are essential when checking on the company’s previous business dealings.
- Experience: The training and experience of a contractor, as well as the age of his or her company, will help you determine their ability to successfully complete your project.
- Licensing/Bonding: Some states require special licensing for contractors.
- Ask for business license numbers and information on the company which bonds the contractor. Then check with local authorities to see that the company compiles with regulations.
- Insurance Coverage: A contractor should carry worker’s compensation and general liability insurance. Request the name and address of the insurance carrier, along with a copy of the company’s insurance certificate. Beware of low bids which are a result of incomplete insurance coverage and workman’s compensation.
- Professional References: Your contractor’s past can help determine your future.
- Ask for credit references, banking information and a list of completed projects including the names and telephone numbers of previous clients.
- Company Philosophy: Discuss application techniques and workmanship guarantees.
- Does the contractor stand behind his work ?
Memphis tn Roof Repair Estimates vs Roof Inspection
Question: what is the difference between a roof inspection and a roof estimate?
One question: what is the difference between a roof inspection and a roof estimate. Do roof inspectors eventually do the work or are they totally independent?
Thank you the wonderful information regarding slate roofing.
My family and I are assessing whether to buy a lovely 1812 Federal style house. Somewhere in 1860 they built an additional floor and a slate mansard roof. The house is located in Ossining, NY and the owners have never really replaced the slate roofing except for the very occasional slate here and there.
So for the most part the roof hasn’t been touched or had any major work since 1860. The attic has some signs of water damage, and the flooring and walls look like they have had severe issues with contracting and expanding so there is warping on the floors and severe cracks on the ceilings and window casings. Could you guys recommend a roofing expert/ inspector for a roof of this style and age near Ossining, NY?
Anonymous by private email 2017/02/24
OPINION: The difference between a roof repair estimate and a roof condition inspection depends on who does the inspection.
Home inspectors, professional roof inspectors, and roof inspectors who work for insurance settlements are not people who would do the repair work.
However there are also roofing contractors who will perform a paid roof inspection. It’s typical for the contractor to offer that if you hire them they will credit the inspection cost against the cost of the repair
Obviously you want to avoid conflicting interests. For that reason, some professions such as home inspections actually prohibit the inspector from doing the work that the inspector said was needed. At least that was the professional standard of the model National inspection Association, ASHI, the American Society of home inspectors.
Not all home inspectors are equally qualified to perform roof inspections. In particular roof inspection for your roof needs to be by someone who has depth of experience in slate Roofing. Otherwise you’re likely to get crazy advice.
When states begin to license home inspectors, so many contractors who wanted to be licensed objected to the ethical constraint that most states omitted requiring the avoidance of conflict of interest. So it’s something you want to watch with care.
We can’t make a specific contractor referral, both to avoid conflicts of interest and because more simply I don’t have one. Even when I’ve found a good slate roof contractor, the work quality of what that contractor may provide later to someone else may vary a lot depending on the crew, supervision, and maybe other factors.
What we can do is discuss, when you have 2 or more bids, what you’re being told and what prices are being offered. Often we can suggest questions to ask that help steer away from trouble.
BE SURE to use a contractor who specializes in slate. An asphalt roofer may bid the job and ruin the roof or make other mistakes.
If the roof really dates from 1860 there are plenty of questions to ask about the condition of slates, underlayment, slate fasteners, flashings on the roof, roof sheathing, roof framing. Don’t let an idiot walk on the roof; inspect from attic, ground, and ladder at roof edges.
STEP 3: CHOOSING ROOF MATERIAL – Utilizing the Roofing Contractor’s Product Knowledge
That’s why this article was written as a simple, step-by-step guide designed to help you find the roofing contractor who’s right for you.
Your contractor should have up-to-date knowledge on quality products for your project. He or she is the best source of information, but you should play an active role in the product selection process. Ask questions about different materials such as brand names, life span, thickness, design, available colors and warranties.
Selecting the best products is as important to your job as selecting the right contractor.
STEP 4: NEGOTIATE ROOFING CONTRACT – Understanding and Negotiating the Roofing Contract
Prior to drafting a contract, most contractors will provide you with either an estimate or a proposal. An estimate typically provides a single price, a generically described product, a color and no options. A proposal offers more detail with a choice of products by brand name, prices, services and designs. A proposal will normally offer options-good, better and best-and include product samples and literature.
A contractor who takes the time to prepare a good proposal will most likely do a more thorough job. All items to be accomplished should be written as part of your contract.
Get the roofing contract in writing. Beware of verbal promises.
When a contract is presented, it should spell out the proposed work, prices and completion date. Read the contract carefully. Misunderstandings are the most common cause of contract disputes. Pay special attention to be certain the following points are covered in the contract.
- Building Permits – What permits are required by your local building department? Consider local ordinances, costs, posting requirements.
- Start and Completion Dates including plan of action in case of weather delays. We require that once a contractor begins a job, she or he will continue working on the job full time until it has been completed. Beware of contractors who start the job then disappear to perform other work for other clients. You may have a hard time getting them back to work.
- Products Materials -what roof shingle or othe rroof material will be used, brands, colors, etc.
- Project Inspections – number of inspections, completion timetable
- Site Procedures – work hours, clean-up procedures on the around your home, safety precautions, etc.
- Terms of payment – detailed as method of payment to include a lien waiver upon final payment. Do not pay full job costs up front – reserve final payment until the work has been completed satisfactorily and the jobsite has been cleaned-up.
- Liens regarding roofing work – You should be aware that under the laws of most states, a contractor who does work on your home, or a supplier of materials for such work, has a right to place a lien on your property. Make sure all essential elements of your agreement are written down and understood by both parties.
- Suppliers & subcontractors: Also, require the contractor to inform you of who his supplier will be along with any subcontractors which will be used on the job. Either pay them yourself or require that you have a receipt showing they have been paid before paying your contractor.
- Right-to-Rescind the Roof Job Contract – providing the right to cancel the contract without penalty within a set period of time (usually three days).
- Safety – while the roofing contractor should be expected to follow safe procedures and to have appropriate workers compensation and liability insurance, discuss safety with your contractor. And if you see obvious unsafe practices like collapsing ladders at odd angles, or workers making you nervous, contact the roofer immediately and if necessary stop the job until you and the contractor are satisfied.
- Warranties – including both workmanship and product.
Roof Job Safety, Licensing & Insurance Comments
We [DF] hired a contractor to perform roofing and trim repairs on an older Memphis tn home that had lead-painted trim. When our contractor began work, making a terribly dusty mess and taking on safety precautions, no drop cloth, no protective gear to avoid lead poisoning, we insisted that he either stop and do the job properly or end the job. He told us he wasn’t worried.
We said that we knew his mother and that she would be worried. The job stopped until roofer, his mother, and our building owners were confident in the safety of his proceedings.
Ensure that the contractor you appoint has a well-established training and safety program for the roofing crew. Don’t take the contractor’s word for it but insist on him showing proof of undertaking safety training programs.
This is also the perfect opportunity for checking out whether the contractor has the requisite license to operate his business in the state and if all his subcontractors and employees are covered with insurance of $1 million or more.
Roof Job Warranty Comment
A new roof can be a pretty expensive affair. Never accept a roofing contractor’s verbal assurance that they will set things right if anything was to go wrong. This is because usually, the effects of faulty workmanship can take years to reveal themselves.
STEP 5: LETTING THE ROOFER ROOF – Let the Memphis tn Roofing Contractor Do His/Her Work: Sit Back and Relax
A little well-planned research up front will undoubtedly save you a lot of time and trouble later on. Once you feel confident that you have the best contractor, the best products, the best value simply relax and let your contractor do his job. Do, however monitor the progress of your project to be certain your contractor lives up to his superior reputation.
Hopefully the information in this brochure will simplify the task of choosing a professional contractor.
STEP 6: How to resolve roofing job problems, defects, disputes
When you need to repair your roof or replace roof coverings on a building, the previous sections of this article give advice to assist in choosing a roofing contractor – by Jessie Srader, [edits and additions by DJF]. Whatever your roofing repair or replacement needs, you need a qualified professional roofing contractor you can trust.
Disclaimer: Below I [-DF] offer roof contract dispute resolution advice that is OPINION based on my own work in the construction field over 30 years and my service as an arbitrator in construction disputes.
Readers facing costly damages or repairs due to problems with work done by any contractor should first seek advice from local experts and their attorney.
Following Roofing Contractor Steps 1-5, steps to resolve roofing contract or performance disputes should not be needed, but in real life, things do not always go perfectly as planned. What do we do now?
The re-roof job contractor dispute described below contains our recommendations. Use the Comment Form below to add your own suggestions for accurate, prompt, and fair resolution of roofing job disputes and problems.
Description of a “Bad” Roofing Contractor
Paying a high price for a new roof does not guarantee a good job. In this case the roof was a wood shingle job but it could have been any roofing material.
One of my clients called me, breathless on the telephone, very worried about her new roof. Here’s how it went.
- Client: “I need you to come down right away to inspect my new roof,” she practically shouted. We had inspected the home months before, and among my findings was the need to replace a worn and leaky wood shingle roof over one of the sections of this large home.
- DF: “What’s wrong”?
- Client: “I think the roofers have screwed up my new roof – they’re just finishing it up today.”
- DF: “Why do you think there’s a problem?”
- Client: “Well first of all the contractor could not keep a crew on the job. This is the third group of workers to work on my roof, and none of them speaks English, and no one has been supervising them.”
- DF: “Sounds iffy, but someone might be trained and still not speak good English, what else?”
- Client: “Well it was what the supervisor was shouting at them this morning when he came back to the job!”
- DF: “What was he shouting?”
- Client: “You IDIOTS! You COMPLETE IDIOTS! Not like THAT!!”
- DF: “I’d better come take a look.”
I drove to the site. The wood shingle roof was beautiful. Every shingle looked perfect, except for one thing: all of the shingle side joints were lined-up perfectly, straight up the roof. There was no shingle side offset. This roof would leak at the first rainstorm.” I met with the roofing contractor at the job, without the client present, hoping to for some candor between us. The conversation with the roofing contractor went like this:
- DF: “Gee, this roof is not installed properly at all – your crew lined up all of the side joints rather than providing 1 1/2 to 2″ of offset of these joints between shingle courses. This roof is going to leak. Or did you install ice and water shield under all of the shingles?”
- ROOFER: “This roof is installed EXACTLY according to industry specifications. There is NOTHING wrong with it.”
- DF: “What about the side lap offset”
- ROOFER: “Side lap offset is NOT REQUIRED. That’s bullshit” (Things were heating up.)
- DF: “So you’ve read the manufacturer’s specifications and the wood shingle specs from the industry’s Red Cedar and Hand Split Shake Bureau?”
- ROOFER: “Absolutely. These shingles are installed EXACTLY as the manufacturer says to put ’em on.”
I walked over to a pile of wood shingle scraps and debris which the crew had swept up in the center of the client’s courtyard. The crew were standing off in the shade watching with interest.
Every bundle of wood shingles comes with a little piece of paper, usually identifying the manufacturer, the shingle source, and including a drawing of just how to put the shingles on the roof, including showing the required side-offset between shingle courses. We leaned down to the pile and pulled out one of these little pieces of paper that had the drawing intact and holding it we walked back to the roofing contractor.
- DF: “What about this drawing? It was packaged with every bundle of shingles. See the sketch and the lines marking the required side-lap offset?”
- ROOFER: “I’m outta here you jerk.”
The high-paid roofing contractor and the crew got into their truck and left.
This was a $60,000. roofing job that actually had a NEGATIVE value since now, to put on a proper roof, the new roofer would first have to REMOVE all of the shingles that had just been applied, increasing the labor cost of the job.
How had my client chosen this particular contractor?
She did not call the better business bureau; she did not ask for references; she did not care about the price; she chose the roofing contractor who was immediately available so that she could “get it done and be finished with it”