At Roof Authority, one of the questions we hear most from our customers is “what is the cost of a new roof?”. Since this topic is very involved we decided to split it into a 3 part series:
- Cost of a New Roof – Part 1: Choosing the right roofers
- Cost of a New Roof – Part 2: Chosing the right materials
- Cost of a New Roof – Part 3: Warranty, Maintenance, Expected Life and Future Costs
This post is part 1 of this series. After digesting all 3 parts of this series, you should be comfortable with all the factors that go into the cost of a new roof. You should also be an informed buyer, which is our ultimate goal at Roof Authority. If you’d like to be notified as soon as we release the next part in our blog series, please sign up for our email list, and you will get a short email whenever we post the next article in the series. You will also receive our monthly newsletter with very important maintenance reminders, special discounts and referral rewards.
Cost of a New Roof – Part 1: Choosing the right roofers
Are you in the market for a new roof and wondering which roofing contractor you can trust? You’ve seen trucks in your neighborhood. You’ve seen the yard signs. You’ve heard several roofers’ commercials on the radio or on TV. In addition, you possibly have a few phone numbers from roofers that you saw working in your neighborhood. Even with all this information, you are still not sure who to call. So, you hopped on the information superhighway, researched the cost of a new roof, and searched for roofing contractors in your city. Maybe you even searched for the “best roofers in Atlanta” and found the Roof Authority website. At this point you’ve been overloaded with roofers’ ads and marketing. The websites begin to look the same, and you’re still not sure who you should call. Here are some very important factors to consider:
- Are the roofing contractors licensed and insured? Your prospective roofers should have a business license from the city where their business operates. They should also have a copy of that license, and it should be attached to their estimate. They should carry general liability insurance as well as worker’s compensation policies for your protection as well as their own. They should provide copies of their policy without you having to ask. If you choose a roofer who is not insured or licensed, you may be liable for any accidents or property damage. Nothing could make the cost of a new roof more painful than having to pay it twice!
- Are the roofers local? Atlanta is a big city, and everyone here is used to being extremely mobile. When we say ‘local’ your roofing contractor should be based in the Metro Atlanta area. Sometimes the question can be as simple as “Do they have an Atlanta phone number?” or “are the license plates on their trucks from GA?”. Several times a year we get phone calls from homeowners with leaks due to poorly installed roofs. Often those roofs were installed by companies that flood Atlanta after storms with the promise of a free roof. We call these companies “storm chasers” and they are notorious for doing shoddy work. Those companies don’t know the local crews or roofing codes, and once they get their check, they are gone. A reputable local contractor will know all the good crews, suppliers, building codes and much more. They will also be much more conscious about their reputation since they live and work here. Choosing a reputable, local roofing contractor can reduce the long term cost of a new roof by thousands.
- Does the roofing company have reliable references?– You should look for more than just a few online reviews. Sometimes it can be hard to know if online reviews are even real. A reputable roofer should be able to provide you with phone numbers and addresses of local customers they have serviced. You should reach out to those customers and ask about their experience with that roofing contractor.
- Do the roofers have relationships with manufacturers? How well does your contractor know his material manufacturers? Have they been certified to install their products? Shingle manufacturers offer training and testing for contractors, but many roofers do not take advantage of this knowledge. Just like anything else, there are advances in roofing technology and changes in installation methods that are critical for a roofer to understand before installing your roof. Roofers who complete these programs are familiar with the specifics and nuances of the products they are installing. These certifications cover everything from how the shingles are made to best installation practices. They also require these contractors to do continuing education yearly to stay abreast of changes to their products or best installation methods. Roofers who complete these courses can provide additional warranties in excess of the standard manufacturer warranty.
- Did their sales rep actually get on your roof? – Did your sales rep actually take his ladder off the truck and get on your roof? If not, you should be very skeptical. You see, there are several services out there that can get your roof measurements via satellite. They are pretty cool if you ever have the chance to look at one, and they definitely make life a lot easier for roofers in a pinch. However, those programs only tell a part off the story. Often their measurements are incorrect. They also fail to identify what kind of decking, flashing and ventilation you need. Even if your roofer utilizes one of these services, they should still get up on your roof to identify all the proper materials needed and to get the correct scope of work for the crews before they arrive for installation. Many delays or excessively long installations can be avoided by roofers who perform a proper pre-installation inspection.
- How detailed is the roofer’s estimate? Does it identify what kind of decking you have? Does it indicate the kind of flashing that is currently installed, and does it need to be replaced? Do you have the correct ventilation setup on your home, and if not, what is the solution? Does it detail the kind of shingles that are best for your home and why? Will the pipe boots be replaced and will they have rain collars on top of them? Are decking repairs extra, or are they included in the bid? Drip edge is required by GA building code, but not all drip edge is the same. Will they be putting two different kinds of drip edge on your home? These are all details that an experienced roofer will list in their estimate. Additionally, the representative of the roofing company should have explained all of these items in detail to you during the initial inspection. If you have received an estimate that just has a shingle color and price, throw it in the trash and call Roof Authority.
- Warranty – Is the warranty detailed in your estimate paperwork? If so, are they offering the old “shingle manufacturer’s warranty”? Those basic warranties are very limited in their coverage. A good roofing company that has a relationship with their manufacturers will be able to offer you several options on warranty coverage. These extra warranties will cover things like labor, material, tear off and disposal should their product have an issue. Workmanship (proper installation) is also a major factor in ensuring that your roof is protected by the warranty. Being certified by the manufacturer is very important, but the best roofers will offer extended guarantees on their workmanship.
- The process – A professional roofing contractor will walk you through the install start to finish. They will detail when the materials and dumpster be delivered. They will detail special preparations for installation day such as whether or not you should move your vehicles to the street. They will set expectations for when the crew will arrive, and will they knock on your door to let you know when they are ready to start. The sales rep or a foreman should stay on site during the install. Finally, your roofer should give you a point of contact and let you know when they have finalized the install. These are all things that you should be told up front. You will also notice that a good contractor will have great rapport with their crew. This is a sign that they have been together for a long time and usually indicates that the job should move smoothly.
Roof Authority is the roofing contractor you are looking for. From start to finish our professionalism and technical knowledge shows in every facet of the process. From quote to clean up, our commitment to quality and to our customers is what drives us. Give us a call!
Finally, if you enjoyed this article, check out our other articles in the Knowledge Center. We have lots of great roofing information to help you better care for your home. Also, please don’t forget to share this article with your friends. Convenient buttons appear just below this post.
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