So, you’ve been putting off getting your roof replaced as long as possible. But you’ve decided that right now is the finally the time. You’ve never replaced a roof before, and you are worried. A roof is expensive, and you sure don’t want to hire the wrong roofing company and get ripped off!
Hi, I’m Brian. I own a roofing company in Boise, Idaho, and I’ve been a roofer for over 37 years. I’ve seen too many homeowners get ripped off by unscrupulous roofing companies. And unfortunately, most of the time this happens when they buy the “cheapest” roof.
My purpose is to educate you about everything you need to know about replacing your roof, so you can protect yourself and avoid getting ripped off.
There’s no doubt that replacing your roof is expensive and most homeowners want to save money on their roof replacement. But picking the cheapest roof may cost you more than you think. A company has to cut corners somewhere in order to be the lowest. Here’s what you need to know about replacing your roof.
- Is the contractor registered with the State of Idaho Board of Contractors? Idaho’s law regarding contractor registration states: “Anyone who provides home improvements in excess of $2,000 must be registered with the Idaho Board of Contractors.” The contractor registration requirement was put in place to protect consumers and to “provide for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of Idaho’s general public.” Protect yourself by making sure the roofing contractor is registered with the state of Idaho.
- Does the contractor have the proper insurance coverage? Registered contractors in Idaho are required to have workers’ compensation and liability insurance for their business as a condition of being registered. This insurance protects you, the homeowner, in case a worker is injured or killed while on the job. If a contractor does not have insurance, then their workers can sue you in case of injury. To protect yourself; ask your roofing contractor to provide a current “Certificate of Insurance” in your name.
- Are they reusing old materials? Reusing roofing materials can save money if the materials are in good condition. However, reusing old materials can void your warranty coverage. To protect yourself from this, make sure your roofing contract states whether the contractor is installing new materials are reusing old ones. And make sure if they are using used materials, that the use of them will not void your manufacturer warranty. Most manufacturers put their warranty information online so it’s easy to find. You can also call the manufacturer directly.
- Does the contractor pay their bills? Did you know that if your roofing contractor doesn’t pay the supplier for the materials they used for your roof, the supplier can demand payment from you and then place a lien on your house if you don’t pay…? Even if you have already paid the roofer! The best way to protect yourself from this is to ask for a “lien release” from your roofing contractor, their suppliers and any subcontractor who worked on your roof. A lien release is a legal document that releases the liability of nonpayment from you to the roofing company and takes away anyone’s right to put a lien on your house.
- What is not covered: Improper or faulty installation of your roofing products. All roofing manufacturers have clear rules about what is and what is not covered under your new roof’s warranty. Here’s what the Owens Corning warranty states: “What is not covered: (a) installation must be in accordance with our written installation instructions and comply with local building codes. (b) Damage caused by improper or inadequate roof ventilation or roof drainage, unvented attics or enclosed roof rafter assemblies (is not covered).”
- Do they employ skilled labor? You’ve heard the saying, “Skilled labor isn’t cheap. Cheap labor isn’t skilled.” Roofing is an occupation much like an electrician or plumber that takes years of training and experience. A skilled roofer is worth their weight in gold, and many of them get paid very well. The unskilled labor may not know the correct way to install a roof and as a result, may do it wrong. As a result, you will have a leaking roof, and no warranty coverage to protect yourself. Make sure the contractors’ labor is skilled and experienced.
- Know your contract: Mary S. called me last year because she wanted an independent roof inspection. She had just gotten a new roof and it was leaking everywhere. She was mortified! When she called the roofing contractor who installed the roof to fix it under warranty, they did not answer her calls. She decided she would sue the roofing contractor. However, a lawyer looked at her contract and advised her that nowhere in the contract did it state they were “providing her with a watertight roof installed according to manufacturer’s specifications.” In fact, her “contract” was merely an order for with a bunch of materials on it. Mary had no legal recourse in this case. She ended up having to pay for a whole new roof!
A contract is a legally binding document and should clearly state what you are paying for. To protect yourself, make sure your contract states the following:
- Brand name and whether materials are “new” or “reused.”
- The roof will be installed according to “manufacturer warranty requirements.”
- The roof will be watertight at all times during the roofing process and after.
- Cancellation and refund policy
- Additional costs
If you are a homeowner in the Boise, Idaho area and it’s time to replace your roof, contact us for your free roof replacement estimate.