Educational Consumer Tips

Roofing - Repair & Installation

Author: Better Business Bureau

The following is BBB general information and is not intended as a report on any specific company.

Numerous factors may affect a roof system's performance, including sun, rain, snow and ice. To help keep your roof in good shape, you should perform a visual inspection of your roofing system each spring and fall. Look for: 
*curling, buckling or blistering shingles
*excessive amounts of shingle granules in the gutters
*blocked vents or improper ventilation
*loose material or wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations
*drooping or sagging in the overall roof structure. 
If you notice any of these problems, you should contact a roofing contractor for further inspection. Often, a contractor can make repairs without having to replace the entire roof. However, the contractor may recommend replacing your existing roof if it is more than 20 years old or shows significant damage. A number of factors - including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance - determine the actual lifespan of your roof. The right roofing system for your home will take into consideration cost, durability, architectural style and aesthetics. To help you make an informed choice, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the common materials used. Note that current New York State Building Codes now only allows a maximum of two (2) layers of asphalt shingling on a roof system. In addition, older systems that have cedar shake shingles as the original roof surface must be completely replaced; contractors may NOT roof over these shingles. 
Choosing a Contractor 
Before choosing a contractor, consider the following tips: 
*Solicit at least three bids. Keep in mind the lowest bid may not be the best fit for your long-term needs; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. 
*Make sure the company has a permanent place of business, telephone number and tax identification number. 
*Check the company's reputation with the Better Business Bureau or other organizations such as the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA). 
*Request a list of roofing manufacturers with which the contractor's firm is a licensed or approved applicator. Most roof systems require special application expertise to achieve lasting quality. 
*Ask to see copies of the company's liability and workers' compensation insurance certificates, and make certain they remain in effect throughout the duration of the job. If a contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for any accidents that occur on your property. 
*Request references and follow-up with the clients to determine if they had any problems or concerns with their roofing job. 
*Don't pay for the entire job in advance, and don't pay cash. Work out the down payment with the contractor, and have the final payment ready when the job is completed. 
*Obtain a detailed, written proposal and make sure it states complete descriptions of the work, specifications, and materials to be used, and includes any verbal agreements, approximate starting and completion dates and payment procedures. 
*Carefully read and understand your contract and any roofing warranties provided. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions under which the warranty may be voided. 
For more information, contact:
Better Business Bureau Serving Upstate NY
(800) 828-5000 
New York State Department of State Division of Licensing Services 
84 Holland Avenue Albany, NY 12208-3490 
(518) 474-4429

New York State Department of State 
Division of Code Enforcement and Administration 
41 State Street Albany, NY 12231 
(518) 474-4073

New York State Consumer Protection Board 
(800) 697-1220

New York State Attorney General 
(800) 771-7755
This report is general in nature and is not intended as a Business Review on any company, service or product.