According to the Better Business Bureau, in 2011 it received more than 3.3 million consumer inquiries from consumers who were trying to find a reputable roofer. While roofing was the No. 1 industry that consumers asked for Bureau guidance and referrals, other exterior improvements such as siding, windows and doors were not far behind.
The Bureau identified several excellent tips, but getting everything in writing is the most important part of the work to be done. Make sure everything is in writing. Here are some guidelines to be followed:
1. Require a written contract, and make sure the name, address and license number are included on the proposal. Never sign a blank contract, and make sure you understand what you are signing. If you don’t understand a clause, ask for clarification.
2. Make sure the proposal is clearly written and broken down into separate lines for scope of work. This will make comparison of proposals from other contractors easier to decipher, and you will be able to compare apples to oranges. For instance, for a roofing contract, the scope of work to be done should include removal or replacement of existing roof; flashing work (specifically whether new flashing will be used rather than reusing the flashing material currently in place). This is an important clause because reusing the existing flashing is not recommended: think of the potential for leaks if metal has been reworked rather than replaced.
3. Make sure that the contract contains the type of materials to be used, including the manufacturer, color and warranty. Contract should also list materials to be included such as underlayment and ice dam protection. How will ventilation be handled?
4. Warranty information: workmanship and manufacturer.
5. Who is responsible for damage to landscaping or interior damage that may occur during the installation?
6. Payment procedures.
7. Who is responsible for hauling away the old roofing materials and other debris?
8. Make sure you read the fine print: there are many fly-by-night contractors who are able to undersell established contractors because they are not insured and perform substandard work or use substandard materials. Keep in mind that you get what you pay for. Protect yourself!