Recently, we had a homeowner that had a few other roofing contractors come out to provide them with a quote before our scheduled estimate. So we got there, measured the roof and inspected the homeowner’s roof in detail, and after doing so we began to explain our roof replacement process, materials and products that we would be using, etc. Our customer seemed to be a little confused because each proposal had different suggestions, prices, and specifications.
If you are in a similar situation, you are not alone! There are several homeowner’s that feel the same way, and it is okay to be confused. Choosing a Roofing Contractor can definitely be a bit overwhelming, but with the proper knowledge and proper evaluation of a contractor’s proposal, you will most definitely get the most bang for your buck. With this being said, today I am going to provide you with 3 things to look for on your proposal when hiring a roofing contractor.
1. Is your contract detailed?
Is your contract detailed? After evaluating your proposal, you should know exactly what you are getting. When comparing proposals, be sure the contractor has typed everything in full detail. Roofing contractors commonly provide homeowners with a generic one page contract that does not reference important specifications.
For example, if you suspect some plywood beneath the shingles is rotted, this should be mentioned in the contract. By detailing every step of the process, you are eliminating any surprises during the roof replacement process.
Your contract should include the following:
• The type of roof covering
• Manufacturer of roof materials (brand of shingles) and color
• Warranty Information
• Materials to be included in work (i.e Underlayment)
• Flashing (using existing or replacing?)
• Payment procedure
• Plywood Replacement
2. Are Quality Building Materials Being Used on my Roof?
Quality building materials should be specified on your contract. Take the time to look up product reviews to assist you in your decision and you can even check online to see that they meet or surpass manufacturer requirements for installation.
Recommended Building Materials to Observe on Your Contract:
a. Starter Strip
Starter row shingles have a special strip of adhesive strategically positioned to increase the hold down power of your shingles along the edges of your roof. Less reputable contractors may state that they will install “approved starter strip,” you want to be sure that you take a look at the warranty specifications because some warranties are voided without the installation of the manufacturer’s product. For example, 96% of our customer’s install the GAF Lifetime Roofing system, which requires the installation of GAF Pro-2 Starters, also referred to as GAF Pro-Start® Starter Shingles.
The perimeter edges of your roof are called ‘rakes’ and ‘eaves’ in the roofing industry. This is one of the most vulnerable areas to leaks and roof failures. The way to address this issue is to properly install high quality starter row shingles.
b. Nails per Shingle
Be sure your contractor is nailing as per the requirements of the manufacturer.
c. Hip and Ridge Shingles
The warranty coverage of hip and ridge shingles commonly varies, depending on the manufacturer. For example, many contractors will cut standard three tab shingles to make Hip and Ridge Shingles, leaving the homeowner with only a 25 year warranty on Hip and Ridge and a 50 year warranty on the shingles. GAF Seal-a-ridge® is less expensive, but thin. GAF Timbertex® is a premium Hip and Ridge cap shingle that accentuates the beauty of your newly installed shingles all while providing your roof with additional protection.
d. Pipe Base Flashing
There are a few different types of pipe base flashing that contractors can use to include plastic, plain aluminum with a rubber collar and lastly, powder coated aluminum with a rubber collar. Plastic pipe base flashing’s are the most price-friendly type of flashing, however, they unfortunately do not last very long. The plain aluminum pipe base flashings with the rubber collar last about 6-7 years but unfortunately this type of flashing cannot be painted because paint will not stay on the aluminum material. Lastly, the powder coated aluminum pipe base flashing’s that we provide our customers with is a thicker grade aluminum and paint will stay on this material. The rubber collar’s that we use are premium grade and are built to last. Each and every one of the roofs that we replace also receive an extra rubber collar for double protection. And for even MORE protection, we also put a 3 x 3 piece of GAF Weather Watch leak protection under AND over the powder coated aluminum pipe base flashing. This is not a common practice, but provides homeowners with 4 times the protection!
3. Is this Contractor providing me with Proper Attic Ventilation?
Your roof is a system that requires both intake and exhaust of ventilation. Replacing shingles without adequate vents puts you, the homeowner, at risk of voiding the manufacturer’s warranty, also. If you are interested in learning more about the importance of ventilation, you can read more here. You can also click here to access GAF’s Attic and Roof Calculator based on the VA/ FHA guidelines.
Summing It All Up
Although choosing a roofing contractor may seem overwhelming at first, I promise that understanding your contract will assist you in feeling more confident throughout the process. Ask questions, do a little research in your free time, and be sure to fully understand the terms of your contract and you can rest assured that the roof replacement process will be hassle-free!