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Old 09-13-2011, 07:00 PM   #1
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How do I find a good roof installer


I know that this is a DIY chatroom, but I am not ready to install my roof that was damaged in a tornado. Needless to say, I have been deluged with roofing contractors ringing my doorbell all claiming to use the best materials and have the best installers. What questions should I be asking them and what should their answers be to those questions so I can be assured that the company I choose will do a good job. From what I have read, the installation is almost more important that the shingle that is used! And I know nothing about roofing and wouldn't recognize a poor job from a good job.

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Old 09-13-2011, 08:04 PM   #2
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Call someone local. Anyone going door to door, or calling you is the scum of our industry.

Ask them how many jobs they've done in your area. Are they licensed, insured. What about the crew? Have they been in business long?

There is a company around here saying they have 10 years experience, 10 year warranty, and the fastest growing storm restoration company around.
A little digging and I found it was a kid and his GF. Been in business for 40 days.

Two other companies that are actually local.....their crews just started when they came up for the summer from Mexico. NO license, no insurance, working for cash. They have big marketing, fancy pickups, and salesmen that will give you a "free" roof if you sign here. All that means nothing when the installers are worthless.

Do you want your installers to be a migrant worker making $5/ an hour or a local person making an American living? Who would have more pride in their work? Who would take the time to make sure you have the best possible roof, siding, house, etc???


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Old 09-14-2011, 12:33 AM   #3
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How do I find a good roof installer


I would...
1) Use the local phone book, BBB, personal references, etc...
2) Get at least three proposals (making sure that they are identical in scope.)
3) Insist on a signed contract
3) Verify insurance, warranty and performance clauses before signing a contract.
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Old 09-14-2011, 12:43 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1910NE View Post
I would...
1) Use the local phone book, BBB, personal references, etc...
2) Get at least three proposals (making sure that they are identical in scope.)
3) Insist on a signed contract
3) Verify insurance, warranty and performance clauses before signing a contract.
I second...other than references, they are useless. Contractors will give you what they want. I would ask for the contact information of the last 5 jobs.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:55 AM   #5
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I second...other than references, they are useless. Contractors will give you what they want. I would ask for the contact information of the last 5 jobs.
Agreed, I also wouldn't place much faith in the BBB's recommendation.
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Old 09-15-2011, 06:59 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MJW View Post
Call someone local. Anyone going door to door, or calling you is the scum of our industry.

Ask them how many jobs they've done in your area. Are they licensed, insured. What about the crew? Have they been in business long?

There is a company around here saying they have 10 years experience, 10 year warranty, and the fastest growing storm restoration company around.
A little digging and I found it was a kid and his GF. Been in business for 40 days.

Two other companies that are actually local.....their crews just started when they came up for the summer from Mexico. NO license, no insurance, working for cash. They have big marketing, fancy pickups, and salesmen that will give you a "free" roof if you sign here. All that means nothing when the installers are worthless.

Do you want your installers to be a migrant worker making $5/ an hour or a local person making an American living? Who would have more pride in their work? Who would take the time to make sure you have the best possible roof, siding, house, etc???
Agreed mostly.

It should be noted that not all broken English speaking, light skinned persons are migrant workers.
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Old 09-15-2011, 10:35 AM   #7
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I read something recently that suggested to go to a distributor (not big box store) and ask them "Hey, if YOU were going to have this done, who would you get?" They tend to know who is good, who pays their bills, etc.

I wouldn't end my search there, but it might be a good place to start.
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:24 PM   #8
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I agree with sticking locally. Talk to neighbors, guys at the 'local' lumberyard (not big box stores), etc. When I started getting quotes I wouldn't call any company here that had a 1-800 number.

Related note: we had one incident of light, small hail during a storm this summer. Within 24 hours we had 2 different guys show up at our house giving pamphlets on how they could give us a 'free' roof. They turned and walked away when I told them my insurance co wouldn't approve a roof claim in the first 6 months of the policy. Not even a 'goodbye'...
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Old 09-15-2011, 12:26 PM   #9
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First thing you should do is ask friends and family if any of them have anyone the recommend.
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Old 09-15-2011, 09:43 PM   #10
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Here is something that I created as a handout for my potential customers.

Ed



Roofing is Not Brain Surgery. There are many Wrong ways to roof a house. But…There is only…One “Right Way”, By Following All of the Manufacturers Specifications. Over 90 % of All Roofs Done - DO NOT Qualify for the Manufacturers Long Term Warranty!!! ( According to studies by GAF Roofing Corp., Air Vent Inc., & Alcoa, etc… )
10 Tips On

“What You Should Know Before Hiring Any Contractor!!!”

1) RELIABILITY: Verify that the contractor you call has been in business in your area for At Least 10 Years. Over 85 % of all roofing contractors are out of business in less than 5 years, way before the warranty expires and before many roofing problems begin to show up and cause problems. 85 % of those remaining do not last till the 10th year. (Department of Labor Statistics)

2) INTERVIEW: Make time to meet with any contractor you call, in person, at your home to review the proposal and detailed specifications. Try to select a Knowledgeable, Organized, Experienced, and Locally Established contractor who will take a personal interest in your roofing project. Choose one who has an established track record of many similar roofing projects done in your local area. If they will farm out your roofing job to an unknown subcontractor, you should interview them as well.

3) REFERENCES: Insist on a minimum of at least 20 - 50 recent job references & also several from each year they say they were in business. Ask for customer testimonials. Drive past several of the jobs to check for proper venting, flashing details, and general appearance. Ask previous customers if they were satisfied and if they would use them again. Contact your local building inspector for verification. Be wary if all of the references are very recent. Check out their work from several years previous.

4) BUYER BEWARE: Be suspicious if any contractor requires you to get the roofing permit. The party who applies for the permit is responsible for building code compliance. What happens when the roofing specs do not conform to the local codes? Why won’t they be responsible for it? Also, Do Not Ever pay more than 50 % when paying a deposit.

5) ADDRESS AND PHONE NUMBER:Make sure that the contractor actually has a physical location that you can find if you need to locate them in the future, not just a mailbox etc., drop box. Do they have an actual office and material storage shop or just work out of the back of their pick up truck. Make sure they have an actual local telephone # and not just a cell phone. When problems occur, it is much easier to find someone if you already know how to, in advance. Check out his drivers license address.

6) LICENSE, INSURANCE AND BONDS: Insist on receiving a copy of the Contractors State of Illinois Roofing License, General Liability Insurance, Workers Compensation Insurance and their Roofing Bond. Don’t just assume they have it because they tell you so. They should have enough pride in themselves to include a copy for each customer.

7) PROPOSAL AND/OR CONTRACT:Insist on a very thorough and detailed written proposal and examine it for complete descriptions of the work and specifications, including approximate length of the job and payment procedures. Verbal agreements should be added to the written agreement. You MUST, by law, be advised in writing of your 3-Day “Right To Rescind” if you change your mind and receive all of your deposit money refunded to you.

8) EMPLOYEES OR SUB-CONTRACTORS: If your contractor farms out the job to a sub-contracting crew, they too must supply you with their Roofing License, General Liability and Workers Compensation Insurance and Roofing Bond. If they don’t and someone gets hurt, you may be liable. The sub-contractor should be interviewed as well. Dedicated trained experienced Employees are more desirable due to continuing training and experience rather than the lowest paid new start-up subcontractor.

9) CONTRACTOR TRADE ASSOCIATIONS: Quality control begins with dedication, the amount of proper knowledge and previous training from past projects and from advanced learning through many contractor trade associations. Memberships in any related trade association and certificates of completion from manufacturer’s product training classes authenticate the more dedicated professional.


10) USE YOUR NOGGIN: 85 % of all construction lawsuits involve roofing related problems. You only have one chance to make the “Right 1st Choice”. If one contractor tells you something extremely different than another contractor, then, either do your own research, or have the contractor provide documentation to justify and support his analysis, especially about Intake & Exhaust Ventilation, Plywood vs. OSB Particle Board, Ice & Water Shield & Flashings.
You need to be concerned with the initial price only once… But you are going
to be concerned about Quality…for many years to come!!!
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Old 09-16-2011, 06:56 AM   #11
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That should be a sticky (post 10).
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Old 09-16-2011, 01:13 PM   #12
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That should be a sticky (post 10).
Thank You Very Much.

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Old 09-16-2011, 04:27 PM   #13
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+1

Solid advice all around.
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Old 09-16-2011, 05:32 PM   #14
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What an awesome display of on target solid professional advice.,,,,,,,,,,Oh yeah I forgot,,,,IMO
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Old 09-18-2011, 06:37 AM   #15
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I've been scammed twice by people I thought would be doing the job right. Posts throughout this thread have helped me a lot and stopped me from making a third mistake. Your post especially was very useful in taking the decision where it belongs - with me, with proper research and documentation and a solid base to work from. This whole roofing forum has opened my eyes as a consumer who needs a new roof. And, given me the skills to make that decision right. Thank you.

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