Thursday, September 19, 2013

Does your home's roof need to be replaced?

A roof replacement is one of the most important and expensive upgrades you can do to your home. If you take care, you can improve your home and also avoid some legal trouble. 
Make sure the agreement is a proposal and not an estimate. An estimate is open-ended and you can expect to see additional charges.

The underlayment to shingle and flat roofs is crucial. Shingled roofs usually use synthetic underlayment and flat roofs use a bitumen underlayment. Peel and stick underlayment is preferred to tar paper. It can handle high winds far better.

Some contractors are specialists in certain types of roofs. Make sure you have the right one  is you need a tile or metal roof.

Energy Star shingles can save money, but the color is often limited to white or if you need a better Energy Star shingle, it can add a hundreds to the cost of the job. You can get a Energy star Star Credit as of Oct 1 of up to $500 and Florida Power and Light (FPL) will provide a $325 rebate. In the writer's case, the Energy Star tax credit and FPL rebate was not enough to offset the cost of the Energy Star shingle upgrade.

Make sure ridge vents are installed on you new roof. the ridge vents and the soffits work together to remove heat nad humidity from your home. Make sure the soffits are clear of debris and excess insulation.

If you have a  large chimney, the roof will need a cricket. If a cricket is not installed, roof leaks will eventually develop around the chimney.

Never pay a roofing contractor up front end money. Often contractor will be paid in two or three phases or at the end of the job. It is common to pay the contractor for a third of the job after the initial dry-in (lay down of the underlayment).Once the underlayment is down, your roof is waterproof.

Check with the county licensing department on the roofer. Does the roofer have a license. Roofing contractor license are usually issued by the country or the state. The state license is an "RC" followed by six numerals (Example - RC000001). You roofer minimally needs the country license. Be leery of roofers who only have state licenses.

Does he company have any employees?  If it doesn't you are probably dealing with subcontracted work or independent contractors (day laborers). Some companies have a parent company that has liability insurance but no worker's compensation. If the company doesn't pay the sub-contractors, they can sue you. Likewise, if the roofing contractor doesn't have workers compensation, an injured worker can sue you, too.

Some roofing concerns are shells that have a parent company. If there is a problem, the subsidiary company cannot be sued because it has no assets or employees.

You county or city licensing office can tell you about the contractor and whether they are licensed, have insurance and workers compensation. A reference to worker's comp should be on the general liability policy. Licensing offices can also tell you if any complaints have been filed against the corporation.

Also, check out Angie's List and the Better Business Bureau. The writer used Angie's List to identify A-rated contractors. Roofing is a highly competitive business and many of the local roofing contractors had F-ratings.

Contractors with poor ratings may change their name. Ask a roofing company if they have ever worked under a different name.

Also, Make sure the roof  will meet State of Florida building code and VA and FHA standards.

You may want to hire a different contractor to do the gutters after the job is finished. Ditto, for screen work.

Roofing repairs are important and can be relatively trouble free if you hire the right contractor to make this important and expensive upgrade to your home.


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