Your roof is absolutely essential both for curb appeal and for keeping everything inside the home safe.
A roofing repair or replacement is expensive, even when insurance is involved, and it’s something you shouldn’t have to deal with very often while you live in your home. This is why it’s so important to do your homework and find someone skilled and reputable to help you and your house.
The best roofer for your project may depend largely on the work to be done. Consider several options.
For example, if some of your shingles are damaged, the others aren’t terrible, but the roof is 25 years old, you need to weigh your options. Spend the money to do small repairs and a few new shingles? Or is it time to put a completely new roof on your house? Consider the newer roofs are generally more energy efficient and withstand Florida’s inevitable storms better than older versions.
Some repairs or replacements to think about include:
- Emergency roof repair
- Roof installation
- Shingle, metal, or tile roofing
- Flat roofing
- Hurricane help
There are many ways to vet a roofer to be certain they’re up to the job. You have to do your homework.
Never sign a contract with someone going door to door trying to drum up business. Especially if their vehicle has out-of-state tags. This is a common issue following big weather events where many people sustained roof damage.
A roofer working out of their truck with only a cell phone can pick up and leave quickly. Protect yourself by ensuring they have a physical preference in the community and a couple of different ways to contact them.
There are many platforms where consumers can tell others about their experience with a roofer or other tradesperson. You may find excellent reviews by happy customers. Be especially wary if there’s a pattern of complaints about the company.
The Better Business Bureau, Yelp, Google, Facebook, and Angie’s List are popular sites where consumers share their thoughts on service-related businesses.
In Pinellas county, you can check for complaints against contractors on the PinellasCounty.org website.
The Florida Attorney General also publishes a list of complaints and settlements regarding companies doing business in Florida, including roofers.
The “contact us” link on a company’s website can provide another way to reach your roofer.
It should also include before and after photos of previous jobs along with details about the company, management, and handling of complaints.
You may also be able to find out on the website whether the company is properly licensed, bonded, and insured. It’s critical the roofer be able to show you proof of all three.
Florida law mandates all roofing contractors be licensed by the state. The Pinellas County Contractor Licensing Department handles licensure for any company offering roofing services in the county.
The license is also dependent on the roofer showing proof of safety precautions and construction laws in place in the community.
The company must also post a $5,000 surety bond to be considered for a license.
Taking out liability insurance is also a licensure requirement.
Any company representative who won’t, or can’t, show you proof of license, bond and insurance are not on the up and up.
Once you’re certain the roofing companies you are considering are licensed and properly insured, it’s time to check into what previous clients think. Consumer protection experts say get the names and phone numbers of at least three business references. Call them and have a conversation about their experience with the company.
Get quotes from two or three companies. Ask that all quotes be broken down by materials and expected labor costs. If it’s a big job with some options to consider, ask that the quote be broken down into sections of work.
Generally, a roofer must be experienced to receive a license to work in Pinellas County. Someone who’s worked in roofing for many years should be able to provide references proving it.
Some of the key safety measures a roofer should take include using safety ropes, securing ladders, and rules about working only on appropriate weather days.
Beyond that, your roofer should be able to tell you how they’ll dispose of trash daily and how they ensure they’ve gathered any dropped nails that could cause damage to your home or vehicle.
Verbal promises and handshake deals won’t protect you in the unfortunate event you have to hold the roofer accountable for the original deal. A written contract is necessary, so all pricing, start and completion deadlines, materials, and warranty information is clearly spelled out for both sides.
You don’t want to end up in a position where the roofer is cobbling together some sort of agreement as the work goes along. All of the details should be spelled out in the contract before the first day of work.
A good rule of thumb when checking out the warranty included in a contract is that it should stay in place for a minimum of two years. Also, check out the manufacturer’s warranty in case there are any problems with the quality of materials.
It’s never appropriate for a roofer to suggest it’s okay to get a permit after the work is complete. It’s against the law and could land you in trouble. All permits should be acquired and posted before the job begins.
- Check out Google and Yelp Reviews
- Asks friends and neighbors in St. Pete about their experiences. Often your insurance company is a great resource. They have a vested interest in you hiring someone legitimate who does a good job on the home they’re insuring.
- You can also search on Angie’s List and ThumbTack.