My home suffered damage from a severe hail storm this year. It broke out our two street facing windows and our upstairs window. It totaled the exterior of our cars and even destroyed the rosebushes my wife had tried to keep alive through the summer. And the hail damaged roof? The roof was wrecked, even I could tell that and I am no roofing expert.
My doorbell was ringing almost before the rain had stopped. It was an “Invasion of the Roofing Guys.” I talked to no less than five on the first day. So who do you choose? They all pretty much say the same thing. Some guys seem more professional than others, some were very pushy and applied a lot of pressure for me to sign a “no obligation” contract. I felt like I was in over my head. Who was going to rip me off the least? That was the pessimistic thought that kept coming back to me.
I eventually picked a roofing contractor that seemed like a decent kind of guy. He talked to me about his family and he convinced me he was on my side. I have a pretty good BS detector and even though I thought he was a little too pushy, overall he seemed trustworthy. He had testimonials from other home owners whose roof installations he had done. He seemed knowledgeable. Based on my limited knowledge, I felt like he was the best guy to go with out of the many I had talked to. So I didn’t take the time to call any of his referrals and I signed a contract. Things started well. We got the paperwork done and he received his first check and went to work. A large group of workers descended on my house and had the roof stripped before 10:00 am on the first day. By the morning of the second day it was done and they were gone. I was amazed at how fast the job went.
Right away, I saw some things that bothered me. They left nails in the yard and a pile of shingles for me to remove. I felt like full cleanup would include nails but I let it slide. I’m sure they assumed the shingles were mine so I would want the extras. I didn’t need them, and how was I to dispose of them? But the roof itself just didn’t look exceptional; it bowed in some areas and had some uneven spots. Basically, it looked like a poorly done job.
The roofing company also contracted to repair the windows. Once they had my check they were far more difficult to reach than before. The windows finally got done 2 months later. Then we had problems with the final payment. Somehow it worked out that I owed him more money. I refused to pay and they eventually faded away. So I would give my roofer experience 4 out of 10. I’m sure others have had much better and much worse experiences.
Here is some key points that I learned that I hope will help you when you need your roof replaced:
1. Get a local roofing company to examine your house before you call your insurance company.
2. Get at least two quotes from local roofing contractors. Unless your live in a very rural area, there should be no shortage of roofers to contact. Make sure you get referrals from them.
3. Follow up on these referrals and talk to their customers about the job they did.
4. Be careful what you sign. The “no obligation” contract may be more than what you are told.
5. Make sure the quotes spell out exactly what will be done. If not, you won’t be able to compare an apples to apples quotes. Be sure it includes cleanup and haul-off.
6. Contact your insurance company and schedule an appointment with the adjuster.
7. If you have found someone that you feel comfortable with, I would suggest you have the roofing contractor on hand when the insurance adjuster is there.
8. Do not pay for the entire job in advance. Make sure everything is completed per the contract before you make your final payment.
9. And finally – to repeat – take your time, use a local roofer and ask for references.
Next time I will take my time to find someone I am totally comfortable with. Always ask questions. Make sure your contract spells out exactly what will be done. Find a roofer who takes the time to make the job clear to you before he collects the check, or your sign a contract. Take it from me, the little bit of extra time it takes up front will pay in a satisfactory job and peace of mind later.