Your roof is one of the most important parts of your house. Its main function is all tied to protecting you and your family – from providing protection to the interior and exterior of your house to keeping you safe from different elements (snow, storms, scorching heat, sleet, rain, etc.) It also helps with the insulation efficiency, as it keeps warm or cool air inside, and of course, reduces the vulnerability of your possessions from being looted. With it being the first line of defense for your home, deflecting all potentially harmful elements, it sustains damage and the normal wear and tear is inevitable. It is not meant to last forever and installation of a new roof or repairs will surely be one of the things that you should be prepared to face as a homeowner. And with this comes a major decision — choosing the right roofing contractor.
If you are looking for a roofer in your area, most likely you will have plenty of options. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 150,000 in the roofing industry. We also have about 100,000 roofing companies, which is expected to steadily increase over the next five years with the rising value of residential construction. However, choices don’t always translate to satisfaction guaranteed. We have heard many stories of homeowners signing a contract with roofers promising them to finish a job in 5-7 days plus a steal for a charge, ending up with a finished job with shoddy workmanship (we were called countless times to fix this scenario) or just simply not being done in the pace that was promised. There is a lot of horror-fest when it comes to bad roofing jobs with some affecting the very structure of homes involved. This is not only stressful and inconvenient for homeowners but also detrimental to their budget especially when they end up calling another roofer to fix the botched job. This article will help you navigate in dealing with a bad roofer and how you can protect yourself from this type of contractor. We will also throw in some tips on how you can find the best roofer to fit your requirements.
Cost of Roof Installation and Repair
Roof installation and repair are worth careful consideration, it should be as it usually comes with a hefty price tag. According to Forbes, the “national average cost to replace a roof is around $8,000, with people spending in the range of $5,500 to $11,000”. The price of the roof will depend on the materials, square footage of your home, and even the type of property you own. Roof repair isn’t also exactly cheap, example of cost for a flat roof repair could come to $400, while a metal roof repair could cost you about $1,300. Again, the cost will depend on different factors. These figures further stress the importance of choosing the right contractor and why you should make an extra effort in hunting for a good one.
Homeowners and the Danger of the Internet
If you look back from 10 years ago, hiring a roofing contractor would either mean recommendation from friends and neighbors or the help of good old Yellow Pages. A list of contractors in your area will surely be there. Nowadays, with the digital age, while recommendations remain, the internet is the go-to source for searching for your roofer and just about anything.
Is this a bad thing? It is indeed easier and faster to scout for a roofing contractor via Google but the pitfall is that the internet wouldn’t be able to segregate and just show the trusted and reliable roofers. Even if they top the rankings in a search engine, it doesn’t exactly equate to their workmanship. 5-star reviews on some sites could also be fake, written by companies, or manipulated by the owners themselves.
We are not saying that it applies to all the reviews or top-ranking companies that you see, but it means that homeowners should take everything with a grain of salt and be extra mindful with their decision making (Continue to read through and will give out some helpful tips)
How can I tell if my roofing job is bad?
Even if you are not a professional, there are several ways you can spot a bad roofing job. Your roof will show the evidence sooner or later. Here are some of the signs that you should look out for:
- Stains on your roof – after a roofing job, make sure to check your attic or the highest ceiling in your home. A black stain is most likely a leakage. Also make sure to check if your roof had drip edges or roof underlayment, as they work as a protection against water damages.
- Easily damaged shingles after a storm – damages or losing a few shingles could certainly happen during a storm, but if you have a new and quality roofing job, it should not be easy and would be able to withstand the typical weather. You can gauge this by checking out the roofs of your neighbor. If you don’t notice any big damages elsewhere, then either the materials used on your new roof are substandard or it is a product of bad workmanship.
- Uneven wear and tear – as we’ve mentioned, wear and tear happen with your roof protecting you from different external forces. However, most likely, the wear and tear will be mostly even. If only one side is showing more wear than the other side, this could be an indicator that your contractor either used poor techniques or cut corners using inconsistent materials.
Aside from wear and tear, if your roof lacks uniformity ( e.g. mismatched materials, asphalt shingles with different colors, sloping rooflines) then this again is a subpar job or an attempt to cut corners.
Once you notice these signs, don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that your roofing issue is caused by an irresponsible contractor and not an honest mistake.
The next steps that you can do are:
- You can call a reputable roofer to further assess your roof and give recommendations.
- Review your contract if there is an existing warranty and what are the terms of replacement or repairs (If you don’t have a contract then this is a major red flag).
- Directly liaise with your roofer after reviewing your contract. Do this ASAP. If your contractor is a reputable one, they will surely get back to you immediately and resolve the issue especially if the warranties are still valid.
Note that if the problems mentioned are not applicable in your case, and the job is still ongoing but you are not satisfied (e.g. the timeline is not being followed, you get the sense that the job is not being done properly or there are workmanship issues), call your contractor immediately.
Do not wait until the project is finished before airing out your complaints, as this will be a waste of time and effort.
If luckily you have a good contractor, they will surely listen to your issues and provide a game plan on how they will address your concerns.
What if your roofer turns out to be a bad one and won’t cooperate?
- You can call the Better Business Bureau if your contractor will not cooperate. They will be the ones to mediate and contact your contractor for you. Think of them as third-party help.
- Post a review. No business would like a negative review, and hopefully, this will put them into their senses and resolve this issue.
- If contacting BBB did not work, you can file an official complaint with your state’s licensing board. Note that all legitimate roofing contractors should have a license. They should also be bonded and insured. As long as your contractor is licensed, they will be able to help you.
- Consult a lawyer – this is probably the worst-case scenario or your last resort. Seek for professional advice so that they could you if you should consider suing for damages or filing in a small claims court.
Red Flags in a Roofing Contractor to Watch Out For:
- Red Flag # 1: They have no license – this is probably the biggest red flag and could surely cause you future problems. No license and no registration number is a sign that they are not professional roofers (Make sure to verify if their license/registration number is active).
- Red Flag # 2: No portfolio and solid reference – if you are a smart homeowner, you will surely want to check out their previous works and ask for references for confirmation (past clients). If they can’t provide this, proceed to other roofing contractors.
- Red Flag # 3: They are pushy or use high-pressure sales tactics – just a tip, never sign anything if you are not 100% absolutely sure and ready. If you still have questions or have reservations, and your potential roofing contractor is pressuring you to sign up immediately, don’t go for it. A responsible contractor is open to answering all your concerns, and questions and is willing to provide you with a clear scope of the project without pushing you to sign the contract immediately.
- Red Flag # 3: They want you to pay upfront – this will only be okay if you as a customer want to do it. But it is a red flag if your roofer wants you to pay full even if the work is not yet completed or has not even started yet. Note that asking for a downpayment is normal. This will be a portion of your total quoted price.
- Red Flag # 4: Too low bids – as they say “if it’s too good to be true, it probably is”. If you asked for a quotation from several contractors and noticed a too low bid, think again. Some will give you a very low bid or price estimate to bait you, but you’ll end up paying more as the project is ongoing because of hidden charges.
How do I avoid a bad roofing job in the future?
If you see red flags, do not entertain. Always ask for a license, proof of insurance, and safety records. You can also check for online reviews, references, and business stability (find out how long they are in the industry as this is an indicator of their level of expertise).
It will also be a plus if they have a 24-hour emergency service, as this would assure you that if anything goes wrong, they will come ASAP.
And lastly, ask for several contractors before deciding and always choose a local roofer near you, as it will be easier to check out their references plus, they are more familiar with your area and the building codes.
Let Same Day Pros help you. For a reliable local and professional roofer near you, click here.