Maintaining a home is not for the faint of heart. It is amazing how many skill sets are needed to keep a house in good working order. Some of those weekly projects you may do yourself, like mowing and weeding the yard, mopping and vacuuming the floors and carpets. Other home projects may require a bit of outside help and occur only occasionally, like fixing a leaking toilet or replacing a light fixture. Then there’s the bigger home improvement projects, like tuning up the furnace or adding additional insulation to the attic space, that are often left to a pro. But last and not least, there are the home improvement projects that hopefully only come along every once in a long while, like replacing a rotted patio deck, swapping out old windows for new, or installing a new roof system.
If your lucky enough to live within the Pacific Northwest in one of our beautiful cities like Portland, Beaverton, or Tigard it means that your roof is one of the most important and costly features of your home. A quality roof is very important in the Portland Metro Area and can be justified by taking a look at the local weather around the area. Headlines, such as “the wettest April ever recorded” are not that surprising to us who work and play around here. Rain alone over time can do a number on your roof system, but don’t forget the other factors that make Portland even more detrimental to our roof systems. Take for example the Winter months: water gets into small cracks and openings and freezes, creating the freeze / thaw cycle, capable of breaking apart large rocks, concrete slabs and roofing material for that matter. And just to throw a final jab at our home’s roof, along comes record breaking summer heat, literally baking the homes most important protective layer.
So if you believe a quality roof is important to your home, then you can understand why it is so critical to select the right material and the best roofing contractor to install this home improvement project correctly. The next few paragraphs will cover: how to a select a quality material and how to find a trustworthy roofing professional to make it all come together. It may take a little time and effort on your part, but the purchase of a quality roof system installed correctly is well worth your time and money.
SELECTING A QUALITY ROOF MATERIAL:
There are many types of roofing materials available today, such as cedar shake, tile, metal, asphalt composition and several types of composite materials. Generally, most reroofs installed stay with similar materials that are used within their neighborhood. Sometimes the reason is weight and other times it fits the look of the house. However, there are some trends that tend to be true. Because of fire ratings and quality issues, shake roofing is seldom installed anymore. Tile is a long lasting material, but due to weight restrictions, homes that do not currently have tile will often need an engineer’s report to confirm their use. Metal roofing is up and coming, but here in the Portland area, it is not often installed on residential roofs. Talking about new technology, there have been may variations of composite roofing materials that use rubber, cement blended with wood fibers and recycled plastics. The results of these roofing products have been mixed here in the Pacific Northwest. Our weather conditions have left many of these roofing products with reduced or failed promises. The most common roofing material used in the Portland, Beaverton, Milwaukie and Tualatin areas are asphalt composite roofing shingles. There are several reasons why: Price and Durability are the two most prevalent ones. All roofing materials are expensive now, but asphalt shingles can often cost thousands of dollars less expensive than other types of roofing materials. Keep in mind, that there are many types and qualities of asphalt shingles to choose from, ranging in warranties from 25 years to a lifetime, from a flat profile to a shake like thick profile and from the color green to four shades of black.
For our discussion today, let spend some time diving into the most popular roofing material used in the Portland Metro area: Composition Asphalt Roofing Shingles. As you can well guess, there are many different styles, qualities and manufactures to choose from. Let’s start with the various styles that are available. Basically, as the shingles get more expensive, they get thicker and offer more texture to the roof. These are generally called architectural shingles, made up of several layers of composition roofing material. These products will also come in different cuts, some looking rather uneven like a wood shake roof would appear, others with a Diamond pattern and still others with a scallop and crescent pattern. Some of you may remember the old 3 tab style of roofing shingles, quite flat and each shingle broken into three pieces. These are still available, but only in limited colors and warranties. A practical way to pick a shingle is to drive around your neighborhood and look at the various roofs installed. Then go to the internet and search composition roofing shingles. Find the ones you liked on your drive around the neighborhood and mark those. When your roofing estimator comes out, these will be useful in learning availability, pros and cons, and cost.
OK, so you now have some ideas about what you may want for a roof in like in terms of colors and style. Now it is time to find a contractor to discuss the project with. So listed below is the guide to “Selecting the Right Roofing Contractor” written by The Vigilant Roofer. In this article are “22 Critical Questions You Must Ask” your prospective roofing contractor. It covers everything from Lien Protection to Roof Specifications to Bathroom Facilities.
Selecting the Right Roofing Contractor
“22 Critical Questions You Must Ask.”
One of the most important decisions you will make for your home is who will put on your new roof. The quality and longevity of the finished product will depend by and large on the experience and integrity of the installer you select.
We present to you 22 Critical Questions which will assist you in evaluating the professionalism and performance of a roofing contractor.
But before we begin, ask yourself these two preliminary questions?
A) Was it easy to contact them and schedule an appointment, either through their office staff or website?
B) Was your estimator on time, was he knowledgeable and did he clearly explain what he was proposing?
C) Is your estimator LBPR Licensed, which allows him or her to provide you with a roofing / renovation proposal?
If you answered “No” to any of these questions, select a new roofing candidate and begin the checklist again.
Now on to the List.
“22 Critical Question You Must Ask Your Contractor.”
1) Does the contractor provide a comprehensive written bid?
Expect to See on the Written Proposal:
A) Material being proposed – Product? Brand? Style?
B) Warranties and brochures. Also a range of options and price points.
C) Roofing Details: This section should be fairly inclusive, including:
- How many layers are to be removed (it should be all of them)?
- Are trucks used to haul away the debris (preferable, since they
- can be moved each night) or are dumpsters used?
- Are all the dumping fees included in the proposal?
- What is the cost for decking repair – per sheet / per foot / per hour?
- How is my yard protected from damage?
- How are the gutters protected and are they cleaned?
- If new decking is needed, what type and thickness is specified? (Stay away from OSB board.)
- Flashings – replace or reuse? / Where are they being installed? / Gauge of metal and finish?
- Type of felt underlayment being bid?
- Ice & Water Shield being used where?
- How is the house going to be vented to meet the manufactures and local requirements?
- Type and number of fasteners, wind rating?
We can’t cover all the details here, many are job specific, but a good roofing proposal will have a detailed specification sheet.
Make sure you go over the specification sheet item by item with the contractor and ask lots of questions. A good estimator will gladly go over the specifics point by point with you.
2) How many years have they been in business?
Many roof problems don’t show up until years after the job is completed. Choose a company that is established and financially stable. Consider the fact that most roofing companies telephones are disconnected long before their warranties expire.
3) Are they licensed with the State of Oregon?
Each contractor in Oregon is assigned a CCB# that can be verified with the state as to being current and incompliance with state and regulatory requirements. Check for complaints filed with the Contractors Board against the contractor.
4) Ask to see a current copy of these four insurance coverages:
Workmens Compensation Insurance
Performance Bond Insurance
There are a variety of reasons why adequate insurance may not be carried by a contractor; the inability to qualify for the insurance policy or the extremely high costs or roofing insurance – these are the most common.
5) If a worker is injured, how will the company protect my personal property from being held liable?
Because homeowner insurance normally excludes such accidents, the only way to be assured that your installer has the correct insurance is to verify their coverage for employees and subcontractors.
6) Ask the contractor if they use their own employee for the majority of the work?
If the contractor uses subs, you will need to confirm that all four insurances listed above are carried by each and every subcontractor involved in your roofing project.
Consider this scenario. You hire a contractor and pay him upon completion of the project only to find a “lien” placed against your home over a dispute with the installer, material supplier, hauling company or other some other subcontractor. A lien can affect your credit rating, prevent you from selling or re-financing your home until the Lien is settled, or force you to pay for a portion of your bill a second time. This is a State law that was not designed to protect you, the homeowner.
7) How will they protect you from a Lien being placed against your property?
Your best protection is as follows:
Get a written wavier of lien from the supplier.
Deal with only an established roofing company.
The less subcontractors involved the better.
8) Are they listed with…?
A) Check with the BBB.
B) Check for Reviews on Google, MSN, or Yahoo
C) Check Angie’sList.com or Kadzu.com.
D) Call their Suppliers.
E) Read Recent Testimonials.
F) Drive by several recent jobs and examine their Workmanship – they should have jobs close to your home.
Contractor provided references are great, but unedited reviews found at places like Google or Angie’s List can be very enlightening. The more reviews the better, it tells you the company is actively installing new roofs and any future reviews from customers like you are important to them.
Remember, every company can run into a discontented customer, so read the reviews carefully and compare notes.
Choosing a Pro:
If you choose the right materials, you have about a 1 in 4 chance of getting a long lasting roof installed. The question is, why do less than 25 percent of completed roof installations meet the manufactures specifications when the same material is used? It’s all about the men on your roof.
9) Are their installers employees or subs?
10) How long have most of the employees been with their company?
11) Are they trained and how?
12) What certifications do they hold? How about the company?
13) How is the supervising of my project handled?
No supervisor? / A supervisor comes by once or twice a day? / The supervisor is on your job through-out the installation?
14) What about Safety? Harnesses? Scaffolding?
15) What about bathroom facilities?
16) How will you protect my Yard? Plants? Pond? etc…?
17) What about the clean-up?
18) What about a smoking policy? Music policy?
19) Who will I communicate with during the job? / Is there a final inspection made once the roof is complete – is it in writing?
20) What are the details of the warranty – Labor & Material – are these in writing?
21) How much down payment is needed? How is the final payment handled?
22) Last question, do you recycle our old roofing material?
Congratulations, if you’ve done your research and follow the outline listed above, your no longer leaving one of the most expensive and important home improvements to chance. A new roof installed correctly will protect your home for years and years and the experience of getting it installed will be a good one. Cascade Roofing after 60 years of service to the Portland, Beaverton, Tigard and Tualatin area looks forward to helping you with your roofing project.