As the uppermost portion of your home, the roof is one of the most important exterior elements because it protects the entire building and its contents from the effects of weather. The average roof lasts 13 to 20 years before requiring replacement, however, storm damage from hail or high winds or defective materials or workmanship on an installation may necessitate repair much earlier. Negotiating roof repairs is similar to negotiating contracts to replace the outer layers of your roof.
Avoid Roofing Scams
Following severe storms, representatives of home improvement companies often canvass neighborhoods, telling homeowners that their roofs have damage and need immediate repair. These firms reel you in by saying they can get your insurance company to pay for almost the entire cost of repairs but you have only a short window of time to get the repair completed. Hiring a contractor in this manner can be dangerous because you may get an incomplete repair from a company that may not back up its work. Instead of taking a salesperson’s word at face value, seek out at least three reputable contractors to inspect damage and write repair proposals.
Insurance and Warranties
Some insurance companies require their own inspectors to assess storm damage and approve roof repairs. Reputable roofing contractors will help you fill out paperwork, provide documentation showing necessary repairs, and even act as a liaison with stingy insurance adjustors. Damage from hail and wind can include missing or cracked shingles, blistering, holes, loose decking and underlayment, and missing flashing. Roof leaks from faulty materials or improper installation usually occur around chimneys and in roof valleys, near skylights and at other features where junctions occur. Before paying for these repairs, check warranties from the contractor and the manufacturer. Chances are the repairs will be covered.
Never accept verbal promises, Obtain proposals, not estimates, as the latter only provide generic information. Make sure the proposals you get from contractors provide details that go beyond final price. Each proposal should include start and completion dates, site procedures, materials and labor costs, suppliers, workmanship and product warranties. Contractors who take time to give you detailed documents along with references of prior work are more likely to properly follow through on the roofing repair.
Understanding the Contract
When comparing repair proposals, no two will be exactly the same. Many contractors will offer good, better and best options. Never let contractors pressure you into options that you cannot afford. Ask questions about why the contractor prefers certain procedures or material suppliers. Your contractor should also be willing to provide you with literature on roofing products and procedures. Beware of proposals for roof repairs that significantly undercut others on price or duration as these are often red flags indicating shoddy workmanship and/or materials.