Are The Roofing Materials Comparable?
There are literally hundreds of different shingle manufacturers selling their products in Florida and they aren’t all created equal. If you’ve received quotes on premium shingles for your roofing replacement, make sure when you compare them you are comparing apples to apples. If the price is a few thousand dollars cheaper, make sure the shingles are the same type from the same manufacturer. And if they are, Move onto the following points to see where the difference might lie.
Proof Of Insurance?
We are a fully insured contractor, we are proud of this fact. However, we are amazed at the amount of customers who never even ask us for proof. Obviously they must trust us, which we are very happy for, but, from a homeowners standpoint, this is one of the first questions that should be asked. It’s fairly common for fly-by-night companies to operate without insurance, it keeps their overhead lower because insurance to work on other peoples homes isn’t cheap! By avoiding this cost they can charge lower.
The problem of not having insurance only happens if there is a problem / accident on the job, and for that you can turn to almost any courthouse in America on any day of the work week and you’ll see court cases involving contractors and homeowners, many of whom were operating without viable insurance in place. These are ugly, lengthy and very expensive proceedings that could easily be avoided.
No insurance means that any damage they do to your home, vehicle, property, municipal property, your neighbors property, YOU would be liable for. It’s as easy as one of their crew tossing a bunch of shingles off the roof and they whack the neighbors new car, then your cheaper new roof just got a lot more expensive!
Many roofing companies have product warranties of 25-50 years on their premium shingle lines. These warranties are generally only honored if the roof installation meets a few strict qualifications. Those qualifications could be:
A: That the roof was installed by factory certified technicians.
B: The the roof was installed as a “complete system” put together by the manufacturer. This could consist of proper venting, roof underlayment, shingles, ridge caps, and flashing for chimneys and dormers or anywhere that two surfaces meet on your roof.
There are many standards to which a roof can be installed, from an installation with plenty of strength that will stand the test of time to a cheap and fast installation that might have shingles blowing off in the next large windstorm.
Whichever standard your roofer has installed to, it’s almost completely invisible to a homeowner, such as how many nails are used to hold down each shingle. Did they just reuse your old flashing? Was the flashing even installed correctly? Was proper venting installed? Were drip rails installed? These are all questions a manufacturer would ask you about your roof if you had a warranty claim.
Will they Honor the Warranty?
Even with the best contractors sometimes mistakes can be made, or failures can occur from a defective product. How these problems are handled when they arise is what separates the good contractors from the bad. Does the contractor have the time to attend to any minor details that need to be fixed? A piece of flashing out of place or missing? Maybe they forgot to lay a shingle over the fascia board? Maybe it’s some debris they’ve left on your property? If you’ve already paid your bill, good luck getting them to come back!
Make sure the company you’ve hired has an excellent reputation in the community and you can be confident they’ll probably put their best foot forward immediately, should any issues arise from their work. It’s really tough to be that responsive if you’re the lowest bidder.
The Myth Of The “Free” Roof From Your Insurance
There is no shortage of local contractors who advertise that they can get your insurance to “pay for your roof”. Usually this involves an inspection by said company, usually following some type of hail storm or other severe weather. Don’t fall for this trick! While insurance can always cover the roof if there is actual damage that cannot be repaired, you as the homeowner can bet you’ll be paying for it as increased premiums and higher deductibles for your next claim. Not just for you, but every other insurance rate-payer feels the brunt of fraudulent claims.
While it can be tempting for the homeowner without a lot of excess cash (to pay for a new roof) a roofing claim is not going to make your next insurance claim easy or cheap (god forbid there is one) should it happen again. The idea behind home owners insurance is it’s there for our protection, but ideally we’ll never need to use it!
Insurance companies aren’t in the business of providing anyone with a free roof replacement and they have strict policies in place that deal with this type of deceptive advertising practice. If you’ve been told by a roofing contractor that your roof has suffered irreparable damage from a storm and needs to be replaced and they are encouraging/demanding you file an insurance claim, you might just want to get a 2nd opinion from another reputable roofing company just in case.