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.