Roofing Contractors in Philadelphia, PA (Pennsylvania)
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Questions to Ask Your Roofer
Before you hire a roofer, prepare a list of questions to help you better understand each provider's skills, workflow and capabilities. The answers to the questions will help you compare different roofing companies and will prevent costly repairs down the road.
In addition to asking about their services and experience, you should also ask for two to four references so you can check with people who have hired them in the past. Create questions for previous clients, as well, so you'll know what to expect from the provider's service.
What Types of Roofing Materials Do You Work With?
The roofing material your roofer uses will impact its cost, longevity and appearance. For example, if you have a Mediterranean-style home, you might prefer clay shingles because they accent the architectural qualities of your home. By contrast, an Arts and Crafts or Craftsman home might pair best with wood shake shingles, but you'll have to devote more time to maintenance.
Many different types of roofing materials are available, including:
- Wood shingles
- Shake shingles
- Asphalt shingles
- Ceramic tile
- Clay tile
- Thermoset membrane
- Solar shingles
Ask your roofer what materials he is most comfortable using. Since asphalt shingle installation works differently from steel roof installation, you'll want to know this information in advance. Ask to see photographs of jobs the roofer has completed using the type of shingles you prefer. You can also ask the roofer for recommendations based on his or her experience.
Will You Tear Off or Reroof?
When your home needs a new roof, your roofing contractor can offer two primary solutions:
- Tear off the roof, which means that he or she removes the old roof before installing the new one
- Reroof the house, which involves installing the new roof over the old one.
A tear-off job tends to cost less money, but it doesn't allow the contractor to inspect the structure underneath the existing roof. In some cases, mold, mildew and pest damage can jeopardize your home's structural stability. If those problems exist under the old roof, reroofing might hide them for another 20 years while your house incurs more damage. Talk with each roofing candidate about his or her plans and ask why he or she makes a specific suggestion.
Are You Licensed, Bonded and Insured?
Verify all the legal and due-diligence details before you sign a roofing contract. A roofer that doesn't have the proper license and insurance could inflict damage on your home and leave you with no recourse. Furthermore, you might have to supply this information to your own insurance company or to the homeowner's association that governs your neighborhood before work can begin.
- License: States issue licenses to qualified roofers and keep track of complaints and other issues
- Bond: A bond protects the customer against unfinished jobs and other problems
- Insurance: An insurance policy protects the roofer and the customer from unforeseen problems
Each state imposes different rules and regulations about roofing licenses. For instance, in Arizona, contractors need a roofing license if they want to bid on or accept jobs that net more than $750, while Utah requires all construction workers and contractors to obtain a license from the state. In some areas, local and not state licensing boards make the rules.
Ask for the roofer's license number, then verify that it is current and in good standing through the proper governing body. Next, ask to see proof of bonding and insurance. A bond protects you if the roofer leaves the job only partially completed, while insurance protects you from negligence and other situations that cause damage to your home.
You'll also want to hire a roofer that carries a worker's compensation insurance policy. This form of insurance covers medical treatments and other expenses incurred by a worker who gets injured on the job. If your roofer doesn't carry worker's comp insurance, you could find yourself liable for injuries a worker sustains while on your property.
Will You Outsource the Work to Subcontractors?
Find out whether your point-of-contact with the roofing company will actually perform the work. Some roofers use subcontractors to cover all the jobs they take. If this is the case, ask to speak to the subcontractor so you can ask these same questions. The subcontractor should:
- Carry the same insurance, bond and license as the contractor unless he or she is covered under the primary contractor's policies
- Have a contract with the homeowner or the primary contractor
- Agree to speak with the homeowner about specific details of the project
What Type of Warranty Do You Offer?
Ask about warranties on both materials and labor. Generally, the manufacturer establishes the materials warranty, so this will remain standard regardless of the contractor you choose. However, individual roofing companies set up their own warranties on labor. For example, if a clump of shingles falls off your roof, will the roofer charge you to come back and replace them?
Most labor warranties last for about five years, while materials warranties might last 20 to 40 years. Since some materials have better longevity than others, you should consider the projected lifespan of the roofing material before you make a decision.
How Will You Prevent Damage to My Landscaping, Gutters and Roof?
Your crisp, clean new roof won't look nearly as nice if it's surrounded by bent and broken gutters or flattened shrubs. Ask the roofer what steps he or she will take to protect these elements of your home. Additionally, a rainy day can damage your exposed roof deck if your roofers don't take steps to protect it.
The best roofers will take these precautions:
- Use ladder stabilizers to keep the weight of extension ladders off the gutters
- Place ladders strategically to avoid damaging bushes, flowers and other greenery
- Bring tarps and other coverings to keep your roof safe from rain while the workers aren't on site
If inclement weather lasts for an extended period, ask whether you will receive top scheduling priority once work can recommence. You should also find out what recourse you can take if your gutters or landscaping suffer damage. For example, will the company replace a strip of gutter that incurs a dent in the middle or plant a new Agapanthus to replace the one you lost to a worker's boot?
How Will You Dispose of Trash?
Make sure your roofer will bring a trash receptacle, such as a dumpster or trailer, so they don't leave you with a yard full of refuse. Ask whether the disposal of trash is included in your contract. You'll also want to find out where they will position the trash receptacle. For example, if it will sit on your lawn, it might damage the grass.
Ask your homeowner's association whether the community imposes any rules about trash receptacles. You might have to put it in the backyard or out of sight of the street to comply with local regulations. While the driveway might seem like the ideal spot for a dumpster, keep in mind that concrete and asphalt can crack when placed under stress for long periods of time.
How Much Do Average Roof Repairs Cost?
If you're interested in having your roof repaired by a professional, you'll want to know how much you should expect to pay. Most homeowners who hire professional roofers to repair their roofs spend between $316 and $1,047, with an average cost of $674. The highest price points for roof repairs hover around $2,000, while some homeowners only spend $150.
The cost depends on several factors, including:
- Contractor experience
- Geographical location
- Roof height and complexity
New Roof Installation: What to Consider
When you need a new roof for your home, you'll want to consider several factors before you make decisions on materials and contractors, including:
- Roof Pitch: A roof's pitch describes the number of inches the roofline rises vertically compared to the number of inches it extends horizontally. A steeper pitch accommodates more attic space and sheds precipitation faster.
- Roof Quality: No roofing material ranks as the highest quality because each offers benefits in different circumstances. Some roofing materials, such as metal and asphalt, get the most attention because of their longevity and durability.
- Roof Style: You don't want to choose a roofing material that contrasts with your home's style. A Victorian manor's roofing needs might be completely different than those of a Spanish Colonial.
- Longevity: Metal and clay roofing shingles tend to last longer than asphalt and wood shake shingles.
- Climate: You might need a roofing material that withstands sun or precipitation exposure better, depending on your geographical location.
- Insulation: To increase your home's energy efficiency, ask your roofer about a roofing material that provides superior insulating properties.
- Color: A light-colored house might look great with a contrasting dark roof, and vice versa. Clay, metal and asphalt shingles offer the greatest variation in color and texture.
A new roof requires considerable thought before you sign on a dotted line. Talk with your roofer about your options and look at the roofs on surrounding homes to get ideas. Once you select a roof, you'll have to live with it for 20 years or more, so don't rush the process.
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