The decision to repair a roof can be boiled down into two steps. First, becoming an informed consumer. Second, using the acquired information to select the best contractor for the job.
Step 1: Becoming Informed
Becoming an informed consumer requires understanding that there are a great number of decisions to be made in the roof repair process. To make the choice that best suits the households needs and constraints, it is critical to know what options are out there.
First, it is important to learn about the types of materials available for the project. Used on about 90% of houses asphalt shingles are, by far, the most commonly used roofing for residential properties. These provide a durable, long lasting and economical option. Commercial properties, on the other hand, generally favor decorative stone or mopped tar. This is also very durable material, though slightly more expensive. The one stipulation to the durability of each of these options is that they good care and periodic maintenance.
Although these are by far the most popular options, other choices include metal, terracotta and slate stone. Metal, is a relatively new material that offers a great durability at a significantly higher cost. This cost must be calculated with the consideration that metal roofs typically last as long as the house to which it is connected. They also require little to no maintenance. Terracotta, or clay tiles, can offer a very attractive appearance. If purchased with concrete fiber they can offer a reasonable durability. Slate stone is known for its longevity and aesthetics. Though they require very little maintenance they are the most expensive option.
Step 2: Choosing the Contractor
After having some understanding of the options out there, homeowners are ready to begin the search for a contractor. Along with selecting the right material, this is the most important decision to be made in the entire process. It can even be argued that this is of greater importance, as a good contractor will steer his or her client towards the best material option.
When choosing among contractors it is prudent to follow several guidelines. First, always perform a background check. Determining the number of jobs a contractor has previously performed and questioning former clients about their satisfaction is one of the best proxies for experience. Second, understanding the contractor’s insurance coverage can have great implications in the event of an accident. Choosing contractors with the most coverage translates into less risk for the homeowner. Third, making sure the contractor offers at least a ten year warranty is essential. As part of that warranty periodic maintenance and inspection should be included. Ideally each house should be inspected twice a year. Finally, obtaining at least three quotes from three different contractors is crucial. This step not only allows the homeowner to price shop, but also pits contractors against each other, ensuring the best deal possible.