Homeowner looking for advice


#1

I am a homeowner looking for a reputable roofing company to re-roof my home. I have called several complies to inquire and have asked a lot of question. One question is what Quality Control measure are taken to ensure a quality installation. I specifically asked if each step of the project is inspected/reviewed before moving on to the next step. On two separate occasions I’ve been told NO. I asked if they have someone get on the roof to check things have done properly and again they both said they only do a visual inspection from the ground. Am I crazy to think someone should be responsible for ensuring the job has been done right by actually climbing on the roof and doing periodic checks? A check and balance of sorts? Are my expectations unreasonable?

Also, what shingle brands are among the highest quality and which ones should We stay away from? In my area it seems like most companies “house” brand is Owens Corning Duration or Certainteed. Any strong opinions on either of these. Any others we should be considering?

Finally, what questions should I be asking to vet my prospective roofer? What questions should I be asking that will set one roofer apart from another because right now they all seem to be working from the same script.


#2

Roof installs aren’t like automotive manufacturing facilities. A good company will have someone inspect the roof when the installation is complete. Good companies also use good crews. Installing a roof isn’t rocket science and you aren’t dealing with 0.0001" tolerances for it to look great and not leak. What I’m saying is choose your Contractor wisely.

Check out Angie’s List and Google Business reports (Search for the company on Google Maps and then check out their reviews). BBB is mostly useless but check there if you must. Ask for 10 references from people within 10 miles or so from your house whose roof they’ve replaced in the past 12 months. No need to call all 10, pick 3 to 5 at random.

At the end of the day, it will boil down to your gut feel. Ask for the name and phone number of the company owner. Call them to verify the info, chat with them for 5 minutes or so. If you have problems, this could be the ultimate person you’re going to have to speak with anyway. If they won’t make time to speak with you now, they likely won’t speak with you when you have a problem. And if you’re really paranoid, pull out your wallet and hire a reputable knowledgeable 3rd party to inspect your roof afterwards.

As far as the shingle goes, I’d use anything but GAF. However, if you ask 25 different contractors, you’ll get a huge variance of opinion on which is the best shingle. I think you pegged it, it is far more important to choose the right installer.

Things you can ask for? 6 nails per shingle instead of 4. Make sure they’re familiar with local building codes. A valley lining is required everywhere that I know of. That should be a 3 foot wide strip of Ice & water shield. I’d ask for synthetic felt and not accept the cheap 15 lb paper felt. Is your existing ventilation set up correct or does it need to be changed to work correctly? If you’re in a Northern, colder region of the country, code may require ice & water barrier be applied on the eaves.

And if you’re near Indianapolis, Birmingham, AL or Raleigh, NC, just call me, you can rest easy knowing you’ll have a quality roof installation then. :grinning:


#3

Thanks for your input! I would say I’m a bit on the paranoid side. You always hear how important it is to hire a good roofer but I know nothing about the subject which lends itself to parinoia I suppose :weary:. I’m just afraid I’ll hire a company and the subcontractor they use will be inexperienced and make rookie mistakes that I will end up paying for in the end. It’s a huge investment and I’d like it to be done right the first time. Too bad I live in Missouri :wink:


#4

I good roofing job relies on a good company, a good foreman running the job and an experience crew.

The main question I always tell people to ask is, who will be installing the roof? Hourly company employees or sub contractors. If it’s going to be sub contours ask what crew will be doing your job and how long they have used that contractor.


#5

One other thing to make sure of. Does the contractor and their crew have General Liability and Workmanship Compensation insurance. Require the contractor you choose to provide an up to date cert. Make sure they are categorized as roofers.


#6

If using a sub what do you feel would be an acceptable amount of time they have worked for a particular company?


#7

I wouldn’t get hung up on the time thing. Long enough for them to know the crew is a good one. So 2 weeks to a month may be fine. You know pretty quick when you have a bad crew, good crew or great crew.


#8

You might be able to do some searching on www.buildzoom.com for previous jobs they’ve done in the past couple years based on permits filed in your local area if you know the sub they’d be using. I didn’t use a general contractor, just found the roofer myself. But then used the Buildzoom site to find about 8-10 roofs they had done in the past couple years so I could do a drive-by of them. You may get some that way that they wouldn’t give as a reference. I don’t know what the legalities are of actually talking to those previous customers. I just did drive-bys, and was happy with the work I saw being done.


#9

I had a new roof done recentlly. Keep looking for a contractor that will get on the roof to inspect the work. The company we had promised they do not use sub contractors and they inspect but they did not have their own workers and the roof was never inspected. You may need to visit a job the roofer is doing close by to get a feel for what they do.

I had my roof inspected by another roofer and exposed nails were found which i paid someone else to fix.

Recommend you get all stipulations like no subs and inspection in writing.


#10

If people didn’t use subs, there would be 1% of the roofs built in the US as there are now. I respect the heck out of the folks that run a traditional style roofing business. There simply aren’t enough to go around. Don’t believe though that you can’t get a quality roof install from a sub crew. And don’t believe that all crews that are direct employees are flawless.


#11

Thank you Authetic dad. I did not realize it was at that extent. I had a bad experience with a previous roof done by a sub that leaked majorly. So this time I thought I was getting the better company. In the end it was done by immigrants who did a good job overall . Just two nails exposed nailed to low.
It is good there are forums like this where we can share knowledge and experiences.


#12

You have several regular posters here that are own very elite roofing companies. My business is a bit different, I have offices in 3 states and we do a lot of insurance work. I often wish I could have direct employee crews. However, it just isn’t feasible. We had a large hail storm at one of our locations last year and at one time, was running 4 and 5 crews. We have to utilize subcontractors in order to manage the up and down cycles. We pay higher than most and we also treat the crews well so we’re able to maintain high performing crews. We also have top project manager people to help manage these crews and inspect their work.

I’ve found a lot of the contractors with their own crews focus more on retail work and tend to be higher priced because they are able to. They’re in relative high demand because of their reputation and quality workmanship. They also tend to have been top notch roofers themselves. Pretty easy to tell who it is by watching their posting. If you can find someone like that and are willing to pay a bit of a premium for their quality, by all means, hire them. I wouldn’t hesitate a heartbeat to have them do my own roof and I’d gladly pay the premium.