While roofing may not be the most glamorous or exciting of projects to be tackled by homeowners it is something that needs to be done and done well. A roof needs to be in good condition as well as look attractive without being too costly. Here is a look at what roofing options are out there and things to think about when choosing a contractor to do the work for you.
Types of Roofing
The five main roofing options are;
- Rolled roofing
- Green roof
- Composite or asphalt shingles
- Slate shingles
- Metal roofing
For buildings that do not have to be attractive like outbuildings and for residential roofs that are low sloped, rolled roofing material is most often used. As the name indicates it comes in rolls, each one 3 foot wide and 100 square feet. It is very cheap to roof a building with this material and very quick. Roll roofing is effective at keeping back moisture and is needed on roofs with a low slope or no slope at all.
The green roof is also known as the living roof and as the name suggest is made up of living things. It is a way to thermally insulate your house while putting oxygen back into the world. You just layer the roof with a membrane that is waterproof and make sure there is the right amount of drainage. You can have something intensive that can support larger plants or extensive which means a light and thin layer of moss growth or something similar.
Composite or Asphalt Shingles
This is the most popular roofing material used as it suits most building needs and looks good. The shingles are made from fiberglass and then on top have mineral and asphalt grains. They are three tab composite shingles and all roofing contractors know how to install them. They also come with a 20 to 30 year warranty with little need for maintenance and should a shingle fall down it is easy to put another up.
Slate is a stone and slate shingles are for those with money to spend who want something special. There is a rubber slate shingle that appears like slate but you can also get the real thing and as it cleaves off in sheets in stone quarries it is easy enough to get. If you want a slate roof you need to look for a contractor who is highly qualified in installing slate roofing as this is not a common roof material so most will not know how to use it. Good slate installers may be hard to find depending on where you live. Some homeowners resort to installing it themselves – one story tells of an owner who was only able to get 100 square feet done each day and had a 2240 square foot roof which at the end cost him around $15000.
Once metal roofing would have been used for commercial builds and warehouses and such but nowadays some home owners are opting for metal roofing too. Metal roofing is fire resistant, has no problems with insects like carpenter ants or termites and put value on a house when selling. They do cost more than composite shingles though and you need experienced installers again for this roofing. If being eco friendly is important to you metal is a sustainable building material.
Choosing a Roofing Contractor
Hiring a contractor to take care of such an important job can be a bit daunting, we have all heard of cowboys out there who are unskilled, charge too much and do a bad job. To get skilled contractors takes some research on your part but that time spent is well worth it. Here are eight tips on things to do when hiring a contractor to ensure you get a skilled professional who won’t scam you for your money.
- Make sure he or she is licensed – There are a lot of contractors out there who say they have experience and know what they are doing but are not licensed. Getting a licensed contractor means you can trust they have a certain level of skill and knowledge as they have to perform certain things to obtain it and keep it. Some of those requirements for a license protect you the customer from fraud. Have a look into what the requirements are in your state for contractors to get a license and check to see if the contractors you are looking at comply with them.
- Check their business out on the Better Business Bureau website – While not all businesses are there, if they are on it you can read the good and the bad along with evaluations of their work. Look at any criticisms and weigh the pros with the cons to decide whether this is someone you want to work with. You can also talk to or get references from previous customers.
- Make sure you see insurance coverage proof – Good roofing contractors have full worker’s and liability compensation and are happy to show you a copy of their certificate. That shows who covers them and the amount of coverage they have. Insurance is important in case something happens to one of the workers on the job. If your contractor does not have the insurance and a worker is hurt on your property you could be made liable for costs and in all probability that will not be included in your own home insurance policy.
- Investigate whether the business has a permanent office and address – Good contractors have an office you can call or visit for information. That is not to say that all contractors who work out of their homes are untrustworthy but there are some that just operate from their truck. A permanent address indicates more stability, that their finances are in order enough to pay bills and rent. A website nowadays too is a good resource and better companies should recognize that and have one.
- Learn how many years your contractor has been roofing for – The more experience a contractor has the better for your needs. While being in business for just a few years does not have to mean you reject them as a contractor it does mean less experience. For that reason also looking into references from previous jobs is important. And your contractor should be happy for you to talk to past customers. If they appear worried or uncomfortable about you contacting them this is a warning sign.
- Ask about contractor and manufacturer guarantees and warranties – Many roofs when newly installed have a warranty covering the materials for a certain length of time from the manufacturer. Some contractors offer warranties or guarantees beyond that time. So you need to know what is covered and for how long. Really the length is less important though most offer a year or more. The point is do they stand behind their work? Are they confident in their work enough to offer a warranty for it. Make sure you get a copy of it too should you need to make a claim.
- Make sure the contract you sign is detailed and is also signed by the contractor – It is important to have details in the contract so both parties know what is expected. It should cover details about the work to be done as well as terms of service and payment agreement. Only sign if you agree to all of them, you can have someone with more business knowledge with you if you want to read it over, or have an attorney look at it.
Are you looking for a roofing contractor near you?