Let’s face it; the roofing industry doesn’t always have the best reputation. In fact, home remodeling is the most complained about industry, according to the Better Business Bureau. But at Brothers, we have found that many of the issues that arise are actually communications breakdowns.
When homeowners are informed beforehand, and roofing contractors communicate well throughout a project, things go much more smoothly. That’s why we’ve pulled together ten things that every homeowner should know about the roofing industry. That way, you’ll be more prepared when you need work done on your roof.
The majority of states, including Maryland, require roof replacement contractors to be licensed and insured. However, you shouldn’t just assume that a company is insured. Always confirm that they are licensed in the state of Maryland, not a neighboring state before signing a contract. Without proper insurance and licensing, you may be held liable for worker injuries or require additional home repairs.
Sometimes it can sound like roofers are speaking a different language. Knowing basic roofing terminology can help you better communicate with your contractor, and it can also help you spot a problem more easily.
Many roofing companies only employ full roof replacement teams. They don’t even have the tools to complete basic roof repairs like repairing nail pops, replacing flashing, and resealing vents. So, they will try to sell you a new roof, even if your home doesn’t need it! If you think you may only need a roof repair, make sure to contact a full-service remodeler who can handle any size project.
In Maryland, where extreme weather is less common, many homeowners aren’t aware of storm chaser scams. These predatory contractors travel the country to areas hit by bad weather looking for homeowners and insurance companies to exploit. Most of the time, the roofs they install are low quality, barely meet code requirements, and will fail quickly, meaning your roof is not restored to its pre-storm condition or modern standards. What’s more, they disappear once work is done, or sometimes even while subcontractors are doing the work!
Most roofing companies have experience installing asphalt roofs, the most common roofing material in Maryland. However, when it comes to more rare materials like cedar shakes or metal roofs, make sure the company has a service record that you can trust. If installed incorrectly, even the highest quality roof will fail and leak.
It can be tough to admit, but there are patterns as to why some roof replacements fail. Less experienced roofers, or those trying to cut corners, may do things like trust caulking for water resistance, add roofing layers in the wrong order, or even skip certain things like starter strips and the ice and water barrier.
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for. Not all underlayment, shingles, and ice/water barriers are created equal. If a roofing estimate is suspiciously lower than others, the company is likely using inferior products. Sure, they are less expensive now, but your roof is more likely to fail faster, meaning you’ll be paying for repairs or even another replacement sooner than you should.
These salesmen will use high-pressure tactics with great urgency to get homeowners to sign as quickly as possible. However, these companies only consist of an office with a few salespeople, who, once a homeowner signs a contract, will then bid out the job to the lowest cost contractor. While these companies may seem legitimate with a great website and professional sales associate, you will have no way of knowing how much experience the crews have that will be installing your new roof. Make sure to do your research on the company, especially if the sales associate seems pushy.
There are two types of roof warranties – manufacturer and contractor. A basic manufacturer warranty will cover roofing materials, usually up to 25-30 years. However, these warranties don’t cover workmanship, and incorrect installation tends to void this type of warranty. Some contractors will also offer warranties, but they will vary from company to company. In most cases, contractor warranties only cover workmanship.
There is nothing inherently wrong with using subcontractors for most standard roof replacement projects. In fact, they can help speed up the project and keep homeowners happy. However, problems can arise when subcontractors are not well managed. Ask your roofer if subcontractors will be used, and if so, how they will be managed. There should be an on-site project manager employed by the company you are purchasing your new roof from to ensure that the work is being done correctly.
Is it time for a roof replacement or repair on your home? If so, schedule a consultation with a Brothers roofing specialist. Our experts will thoroughly inspect your roof – inside and out – and provide you with a comprehensive and fair estimate.