Storm Damage? Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor…
The biggest obstacle to a successful roofing project is choosing the right contractor. After a damaging storm, you need to quickly get your home back to normal. Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor is critical.
But that doesn’t mean choosing the first contractor that knocks on your door. Finding one that is trustworthy, honest, and professional may seem difficult — but we’re here to help. Check out these important tips to help protect yourself, your home, and your wallet.
1. Get local referrals. There’s a reduced chance of issues or scams when you choose a contractor from your community. They’re more familiar with local rules and code regulations and have an established relationship with area crews and suppliers. Check for local reviews to help ensure you’re hiring a local contractor.
2. Look for manufacturer designations. Manufacturer designations are considered a badge of honor because the contractor must meet certain minimum requirements to be factory certified (although some manufacturers have more stringent requirements than others). For example GAF strictly enforces and verifies a contractor’s license, insurance, and years in business before granting the designation of factory certified contractor. In fact, less than 5% of roofing contractors per market qualify to be recognized as GAF factory-certified contractors.
3. Research Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings. Some contractors blow into town right after a storm looking for work, so it’s important to look them up on the BBB website and make sure they have a good score. Stay away from contractors who don’t exist on BBB.org. GAF factory-certified contractors are required to maintain satisfactory ratings with the BBB in order to retain their certification.
4. Get an extensive warranty. Not all contractors can offer manufacturer comprehensive warranties. Most manufacturer warranties only cover the shingles for a very short time. Comprehensive warranties like the GAF System Plus Limited Warranty and the Alas Signature Select Limited Warranties can cover all the materials against manufacturing defects for as long as 50 years.
5. Be concerned about safety. Contractors without a training or safety program may not be the best option to work on your home. That is why GAF created CARE, the Center for the Advancement of Roofing Excellence, a full- time training and education team dedicated to training GAF factory-certified contractors in safe installation practices and the installation of high-quality roofs. To date, CARE has trained over 200,000 professionals. GAF is the only roofing manufacturer with a dedicated team of trainers in the industry.
6. Check for proper license and insurance. The contractor should have insurance for all employees and subcontractors, and be able to provide a copy of their insurance certificate for validation. Not having adequate insurance could potentially lead to litigation between a contractor and homeowner if a roofing employee has an injury at the home. Florida, like most states require licensing for contractors but that doesn’t stop unlicensed contractors from attempting to do roofing work. Florida, where licenses are required, make sure your contractor provides you with a copy of their license, and confirm their status online. Atlas and GAF factory-certified contractors must maintain appropriate levels of Workers Compensation, at least $1 million worth of General Liability coverage, and have proper state and city licensing where they are performing work.7. Pay your deductible. Any contractor who claims that they can handle a repair without having the homeowner pay their insurance deductible is committing insurance fraud and a felony, and endangering the homeowner. The insurance deductible is the responsibility of the insured, and the contractor should reflect that in the quote without inflating the estimate to cover all or part of the deductible.
8. Handle your own claim. A contractor who says they are “a claim specialist” or can “handle your insurance claim” may be breaking the law. In most states, it’s illegal for contractors to act on behalf of the homeowner when negotiating an insurance claim. Any contractor who opens the door to potential legal action is not acting in your best interest. If you would like help with your insurance claim we recommend hiring a Licensed Public Adjuster. See our article about filing an Insurance Claim (LINK PREVIOUS STATEMENT TO OUR INSURANCE DOCUMENT I SENT YOU)
9. Don’t give in to pressure. Watch out for a contractor who pressures you to sign a contract before the insurance company has estimated the damage. Some contractors say they can work with whatever your insurance company settles upon, however, the homeowner needs to ensure it’s not just any amount, but the right amount. The contractor should thoroughly examine the home and check that the insurance adjuster didn’t miss any damages.
10. Know your material choices. A contractor who doesn’t offer you different shingle options is not looking out for your best interests. The style and color of the shingle you install can affect the resale value of your home. If the insurance company is paying for a new roof, it may be the perfect time to make a change and upgrade to a more unique style that suits your taste. Factory-certified contractors can offer extensive design and color choices for your home. If future storm protection is important, ask about Storm Series Shingles.