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How to Spot Good Roofing Contractors

Roofs don't last forever. Time, heat, cold, snow, sun, rain, and wind all take their toll on your roof. Eventually it will come time to repair or replace it. If you're not the handy homeowner type or don't like heights, you will find yourself hiring a roofing contractor.

Not All Roofing Contractors Are Created Equal

We have all heard horror stories about fly-by-night roofers who take a homeowner's money and leave their roof in the same condition or worse. To avoid this, you should check out any contractor you consider using with your local Better Business Bureau (BBB) and your state contractor's board. The National Roofing Contractors' Association (NCRA) has also put together some guidelines to use when selecting a roofer.

  • Are they legitimate? Do they have a street address, local phone, contractor's license, business license, and tax ID number?
  • Can they provide copies of insurance coverage (liability and workers' compensation)?
  • Do they offer client references and a list of completed projects?
  • Are they bonded?
  • Do they belong to an industry association?

To make it easy for you, the NCRA has even put together a downloadable roofer qualification form.

Tim Johnston of the Reno, Nevada BBB adds that you should always follow up with references. "Trust, but verify is the saying we use," said Johnston. He recommends getting copies of insurance policies and visiting the sites of completed jobs to see the quality of the work.

Select Your Roofing Contractor with Competitive Bids

Using the above guidelines, select and get written estimates from at least three roofers, but don't necessarily go with the lowest bid. You want to get the best quality you can for a fair price. Before you sign a contract, make sure that it spells out the roofing materials, firm start and end dates, payment schedule, and warranty terms. You might also want to have an attorney review the contract before you sign it. The BBB's Johnston adds that you also need to make sure the contractor takes care of any permits or inspections required by local building codes. Don't be afraid to ask questions, such as the contractor's method for handling notification and billing for additional work that may be required after the job begins.

Selecting a roofing contractor is not a task to be undertaken lightly. Johnston says that if you take your time and do your homework, you will be a much happier homeowner in the long run.

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Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt Shingle Roofing

Asphalt shingles are the most commonly used roofing material in North America mainly because they are economical and versatile, work well on steep-sloped roofs, are sunlight and weather resistant, require little-to-no maintenance and are reasonably priced. In addition, asphalt shingles are also easy to cut, fasten, and fit, as well as being compatible with many different kinds of flashing and edging products.

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