I recently had some damage to my home’s roof, and that got me doing some roof research. If you own a home, roofs are an important topic. Learn what you need to know about roofs and roof repair. Here are some tips!
Visually examine your roof after storms
This seems obvious, but! I don’t think I had ever done it. Storms can loosen shingles and missing shingles cause leaks. Believe me, you do not want a leak in your ceiling. Bad, bad, bad.
Visually examine your roof after every storm. If you notice anything off but it’s too high to see well, you may need to have a roofer come inspect your roof. And speaking of…
Know a good roofer
There’s no time like the present to look up roofers in your area, so that you can be prepared in the event you need a roof repair.
Best ways to find a good roofer:
- Ask for recommendations from friends. You might even ask your realtor!
- Check the companies recommended by your local Better Business Bureau.
- Look for recommendations from your neighbors, on Next Door or other sources familiar to you (your local hardware store, perhaps).
Least effective ways to find a good roofer
Google Search. You can find local businesses by doing a Google search, but skim over the first couple pages and go right to pages 3 and 4 (and beyond). The first 2 pages of Google are largely ads and those big businesses who have the funds to hire SEO experts. The larger companies have more employees and so, theoretically, could help you sooner, but I didn’t find this to be the case.
Company Websites. I read some great copy on company websites, but they didn’t deliver in terms of answering the phone and calling back. A great copywriter does not a great roofer make. You want someone who answers their phone, treats you kindly, and schedules an appointment within a reasonable timeframe. There again, I spoke to some wonderful receptionists, and that’s a big plus; but no good if their sales people never return your call. I also read some nice reviews on company websites, praising their responsiveness, that didn’t pan out. Look for serious reviews like those on the BBB website.
Tips for locating a roofer
The current boom in the building trades due to COVID-19 really weeds out the competition in terms of customer service. They’re busy, so they’re only interested in big, expensive jobs? There will be a day when business isn’t as good, and they won’t be getting mine. This is not only a great time to support small business, but if you have a small job, it’s much more likely only a small businessperson will do it.
When researching and contacting roof repair companies:
- Look for a guaranteed 24-hour contact return. Note when you called. When you speak to a receptionist who is passing your name on to someone else, ask when, specifically, you can expect a return call. If you don’t get a return call, well, you can cross that company off your list for-ever.
- Look for up-front information about costs.
- Sadly, you’ll get further if you mention the magic words “storm damage” and “insurance” as in “I’ve had storm damage to my roof and am wondering if I should make an insurance claim.” Take it from me, the words “minor roof repair” do not engender a great deal of interest.
Know when (and when not) to call your insurance company
Should you call your insurance company? If it looks like it might be a small repair, consult a roofer first. There’s no point in making a claim that comes in under your deductible. That just ends up hurting you in the long run. If you’ve got a serious situation, call your insurance company right away.
Roof repair: who can do it?
An experienced handyperson can do minor roof repairs. However, it seems most handymen and women do NOT do roof repairs. They may not be insured for it, not have the specialized experience, or just not want to get way up there on your roof, and I don’t blame ’em. In the unlikely event you can find a handyperson to do the repair, it will be a bit less expensive. Any minor roof repair by a roofer will likely cost a bare minimum of $250. The higher your roof, the higher the cost.
Personally, I think the way to go is to head right to a roofing pro. You won’t waste time contacting handypeople only to find they do not do roofs. Professional roofers know what they’re doing and how to do it safely. It’s not the cheapest option, but keep in mind that not doing or postponing the repairs could end up costing you a lot more. If you get a leak, you’re looking at repairing ceilings, replacing attic insulation, and possible damage to interiors and furnishings. Ouch.
If you have to get a new roof, really do your research to make sure you work with a reputable company. Look at more than the cost of the bid as well. You’re not saving money in the long run if they’re saving nails and not pounding in as many as they should. A roof is a major expense and it should last a good long time. More information about new roofs will be in an upcoming post.