Whenever times get tough, the one thing almost anyone with a home will tell you is that they’re just happy to have a roof over their head. That’s because the roof protects you and your family from rain, snow, hail, and lightening; it literally keeps you safe. That is why it’s so important that your roof is in good condition. Though it’s also worth mentioning that a new roof can increase your home’s value thanks to new shingle technology and curb appeal.
If your roof does need to be replaced or repaired, it’s important to know what to ask before you sign a contract. We spoke to Joe Janssen at Quick Roofing, a full-service residential and commercial roofing company in Keller, Texas and a highly rated business on Thumbtack, to find out everything that happens during a roof repair or replacement and all of the questions you should ask to make sure you’re hiring a reputable company who will get the job done right.
What are the signs my roof needs to be repaired?
Janssen warms that a lot of times it’s hard to see the signs that your roof may need to be repaired from the ground. “But, if you see granules on the ground that look like cat litter, if there are shingles missing or laying on the ground, or if your neighbors are getting new roofs, you should have yours looked at.”
If you have a ladder, you may want to use it so that you can see the roof straight on, as that will give you a better perspective. In that instance, Janssen says to look for “darker spots on the shingles where there may be a bruise from hail” and also to check if the shingles are ruffled up from wind damage.
Whatever you do though, Janssen says after a big storm, you should have your roof inspected before you file a claim with your insurance company because best case scenario there isn’t any damage at all. And worst case scenario, you have all of the information and the estimate.
When does a roof need to be replaced, not just repaired?
“Shingles are typically made to last for 25 to 30 years,” Janssen says. “But a 30 year roof will probably only last about 20 years. Regardless, you should have someone look at your roof once a year as proper maintenance. If the shingles look bare and granules have fallen off, it may be time to have it placed.”
That being said, Janssen says that most roofs are usually replaced because of storm damange. If you’ve just experienced severe weather, it’s a good idea to have someone come out to do an inspection. The inspector will provide you with an analysis of the condition of the roof, a recommendation of what needs to be repaired or replaced, estimated costs, and details about the warranty that will come with the work.
How much of an inconvenience is it going to be to have my roof replaced or repaired?
“It takes about two to three days to replace the shingles on a roof,” Janssen says. And while you can stay in your house, you’ll need to be prepared for noise and you’ll also want to relocate any pets that stay in the yard. “You don’t want your pets to get out or get hurt,” he says. If you park in the garage, you’ll also need to move your car to the street as the roofing crew will likely take over you entire driveway with a dumpster and roofing materials.
What should I expect the roofing company to take care of during repairs?
Janssen says most roofs have three layers. The top layer is the shingles, the middle layer is tar paper (felt), and underneath all of that is the plywood or decking. “Most of the time, we just take off the shingles and the felt and replace them both, but if the decking is thin and flimsy or is rotting, we’ll replace that as well.”
Janssen says it’s actually very important that when you’re having your roof replaced you make sure the roofing company strips it down to the decking. “Some roofing companies are lazy and leave the felt up there,” he says. “But then you can’t see if there’s any rot or damage to the decking. It’s a lazy short cut.” And one that could end up costing you thousands and thousands of dollars in the long run.
You also want to make sure the crew is using nails and not staples. “Staples are cheap and worthless,” Janssen says. “It saves maybe $50 or $100 on the roof, but they don’t work well and can just tear out.”
Do I need to worry about my landscaping getting damaged?
Having your roof repaired or replaced should not have affect your yard in any major way. “We install tarps over the bushes and landscaping—everywhere singles are going to be thrown over the roof—to protect the landscaping,” Janssen says.
However, it’s a good idea to talk to the roofing company before they start work to make sure they have a plan in place so that bushes and flower beds don’t get trampled.
What type of warranty should I expect?
The first thing Janssen says is that you don’t want to go with generic shingles for your roof. They have limited lifetime warranties and the product just isn’t as good. “We don’t use generic products because it gives us a better roof in the end,” he says. And the manufacturer is the one who covers the materials, while the roofer covers the work. “What you really want to worry about is the installation warranty. We have a seven year workmanship warranty because we do good work and we stand behind it.” Keep in mind though that it’s not uncommon to see installation warranties for anywhere from two to five years. It’s up to you to decide how important that warranty is to you.
What questions should I ask before hiring a roofer so I know I’m hiring someone who will do a good job and is trustworthy?
Janssen suggests you find out how long the roofing company has been in business. “Anywhere from 10 to 15 years is good. You just want to make sure they have a real history as there are roofing companies that pop up and disappear or switch names after being in business for two or three years.”
He also recommends you make sure they have a good rating with the BBB and websites like Thumbtack. Check reviews and ask your neighbors for recommendations and don’t be shy about asking for homeowner references.
You also want to make sure the company is licensed in your state and has both general liability and workman’s comp insurance.
Is there anything I should keep in mind before signing the contract?
Janssen says to look carefully at the disclaimers in the contract. “Some roofing companies will put a disclaimer that if they damage the Freon, gas, or electric lines that they aren’t responsible.” What should really happen though he says is, “If there’s an accident like that, they should take care of it quickly and at their expense.”
You also want to make sure the contract is very detailed. Janssen warns, “If it just says to install shingles on the roof, that doesn’t hold them to doing all of the detailed work.”
Joe Janssen is a project manager at Quick Roofing, a full-service roofing company that’s been in business since 1984, and specializes in new residential and commercial roof installations, roofing projects, and roof repair in Texas, Oklahoma, and beyond. For more information, visit Quick Roofing’s website or find them on Thumbtack.