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Educational Consumer Tips

Roofing

Author: Better Business Bureau
Published:

Roofing experts recommend that roofs be inspected at least once a
year for damage and wear. Early identification of a roofing
problem may head off more costly repairs at a later date. Since
most of us are not likely to make a regular habit of climbing up
and inspecting our roofs, we typically call on professionals to
handle this task. Roofing contractors will often perform a free
inspection in hopes that they will be hired to do any repair or
installation. For a more objective opinion, you may wish to hire
a housing inspector not connected with a roofing firm.

Hiring a roofing contractor requires the same caution as hiring
any other building professional. Ask friends and neighbors for
recommendations. Get the names of several contractors and check
them out with the BBB. Obtain local references and examine the
finished work if possible. Get a detailed written estimate of
the work, including labor and materials. When comparing cost
estimates, make sure that the bids are based on the same set of
specifications and materials. Get a written commitment as to how
long the work will take. Be sure that the company is properly
licensed and that its workers are covered by company insurance.
Do not make full payment until you have inspected and are
satisfied with the work. Be sure that all aspects of the roofing
job are detailed in writing before signing any contract; never
sign a contract with sections left blank. Finally, determine
what sort of guarantees apply to materials and labor and get the
guarantees in writing.

Roof coating has become an increasingly popular way of trying to
deal with roofing problems. Such coatings can add protection
against the elements and also reduce the possibility of fire.
Consumers should keep in mind that coatings help to protect and
maintain the existing roof; to be effective, they must be applied
before any serious roof deterioration occurs. Coating is not a
cheap alternative to repair or replacement of the roof. Roof
coating is also a source of one of the most frequent roofing
scams. Consumers should be extremely cautious in selecting a
roof coating company and its roofing product.

If you are repairing or replacing your roof due to storm damage,
check your homeowner's insurance policy to determine coverage for
roof repair or replacement. The type of roofing you install may
also affect your insurance rates, so check with your insurer
first.