For some reason it seems like the roofing industry has been saturated with companies actively advertising how they will provide you with a “free roof inspection” or “lifetime warranty” or a broad plethora of other very intriguing selling points to say the least.
But how do we determine which roofing contractor is the best option to place our time, hard earned money and inevitably trust in?
Having a team of workers climb on your home and repair your roof is a big decision. One that cannot and should not be taken lightly.
We are aware of this, and decided to create this guide to help you making this very important investment. Our hope is to provide you with all the tools necessary so that whichever company you decide to go with, you will have made a well thought out and informed decision.
Here are a few fundamental components to help you find, do your research on and contract with a quality roofing contractor in your area.
Familiarize Yourself with the Type of Roof You Have
Truses and Pitches and Frames oh my! The infinite supply of roofing terms and jargon can seem like taking a trip to the Wizard of Oz in search of a collegiate course roofing linguistics on its own. But there is no need to learn all of it or feel overwhelmed by any of it.
What we are suggesting is learning about the type of roof you own and the general roofing terms that are related to it.
Breaking it down in to small, bite sized chunks will help you retain the information for when you need it most. Sort of like saying “how to you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” We hope that this
Familiarize Yourself with Roofing Lingo
Just about every microcosm of society has its own languages and idioms. Roofing is no different in a lot of ways and knowing the basic lingo used can help you understand the type of roof you have and more importantly the value or lack thereof in pricing. You may never need know all types of roofing, but here is a list of commong roof types and an image to help you identify your roof:
- Skillion and Lean-to
- Open Gable
- Box Gable
- Hip and Valley
- Interscecting Overlaid Hip
- Dutch Gable
- Hexagonal Gazebo
- Cross Hipped
- M Shaped
- Pyramid Hip
In the event that you do not see the type of roof you have listed, not to worry. Ask your prospective roofer if they can tell you so that you can do your research and price comparison.
Hiring a local roofing contractor near you has numerous benefits seen and unseen. In addition oo supporting your local economy, often times it just adds that extra little bit of reasurrance knowing that someone who attended the same school as you, or enjoys swimming at Cromwell's, jumping at Kapena falls, relaxing at Kanaha Beach Park (Nascas), Hookipa or watching the sunset at Black Sands is working on your roof.
Does Malasadas, Manapua's Musubi's, Bento plates and Pickled Mango have any reflection upon the technical abilities of a roofer? Absolutely not. But, they are definately great items to sit down, snack on a get to know the roofing contractor before you hire them.
Verify Cited Licenses
Although a majority of roofing contractors are truly licensed. The reality of the matter is that unfortunately, there are individuals out there who are operating without a license. These individuals are often not properly insured and or may take unnecessary risks that can injure themselves and or their workers.
It also goes without saying that their quality of work is not held to the higher level of standard that a authentic licensed contractor is held to.
The reason that licensed contractors are held to a higher standard of workmanship is that they are held accountable for their actions and risk losing a license that often took them years to obtain.
What we recommend is very the license you are cited. Here is how to verify whether or not the contractor you are investigating is licensed:
- If they do not advertise their license number, ask for it.
- Once you have their license number go to https://pvl.ehawaii.gov/pvlsearch/ and enter their license in the “License Number:” search field (see below)
You may be asked to confirm that you are not a robot.
Once you have done that click on the Submit button
- Next you will be presented with the name of the contractor who trained, tested and successfully passed the exam requirements needed to be license. See example below:
- Next Click on the contractors name so that the page with take you further into the details of the license the contractor hold. In our example below, you can see that our contractor has a license that is active, current, valid and in good standing until 9/30/2018:
There are a variety of other details about the contractor’s license readily available to the public on this website. In most cases, you will see the contractors name, his license number and the company he is associated with.
As a general rule of thumb, it is a safe bet to avoid allowing an unlicensed contractor to do work that requires a license for you.
In most states there are laws and city ordinances that contractors and their customers must follow less they be held accountable. What many do not know is that knowingly combining or conspiring with an unlicensed person may be considered “aiding or abetting” in violation of the Hawaii Revised Statutes §444-9.3.
This is a lengthy read, but here is a link with further details about this law for your reference if you would like to look it over: http://files.hawaii.gov/dcca/pvl/pvl/hrs/hrs_pvl_444.pdf
Disclaimer, we are not attorneys and this in no way shape or form is considered to be constituted as legal advice. In the event that you do require legal advice, please consult with an attorney.
We can not reiterate it enough, please verify that the individual you are hiring to perform work requiring a license actually has an active license.
The Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) Hawaii sums it up in this great promotional video:
With review sites like Yelp, Google, Bing and Nextdoor in todays day and age, getting a good recommendation is often just a click or tap away. For the computer savvy this may be a reliable method of obtaining quality recommendations. However, we understand that not everyone is comfortable with computers.
As such, consider trying the following:
- Look at previous work done by the roofing contractor you are interested in.
- Ask for references from the prospective roofing contractor. and
- Call the references provided.
Once the repair or rebuilding of a roof is completed, many owners are proud to talk about the experience they had with their hired roofers. For many this is more compelling than a four or five star review.
Whichever method or medium you choose, having a reference point for the purposes of taking a recommendation is always a plus. Going into a project blind can cause havoc and hurt financially and sometimes physically if the work is not done right.
Ask About Certifications
Even in the roofing industry it is easy to lose track of all the different certifications involved in and related to the roofing industry. Anyone can tout an Unknown Certification hoping that no one really pays it no mind.
Being aware of the significance of various certifications means can be very helpful in determining whether or not the roofing contractor is a good fit for you.
A few certifications we hold or are familiar with are the following:
The CertainTeed SureStart Plus warranty goes beyond the basic warranty. This product is only available through contractors who hold advanced qualifications from CertainTeed. https://www.certainteed-ssplus.com/en/details.asp
A Certainteed Certification ensures that your the workmanship and materials used on your roof are of optimum quality and guaranteed. HAAG Certified inspectors are required to undergo lengthy training prior to being certified. This type of certification ensures that your roof is recieving a national standard of quality with the seal.
Ask for Small Job References
This reminds us of the quote “Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” from Albert Einstein.
For large companies, sometimes the smaller projects may not seem important to their bottom line. On the contrary a smaller job may mean the entire world to a smaller company just starting out trying to build their reputation on quality and merit.
If your home or business is of any size, it is always a safe bet to ask to see a few of the smaller projects they may have completed to get a better understanding of their standard of workmanship.
Looks and Cleanliness Matter
Thinking about it, there is a very good reason why roofing was classified as and made it into the series Dirty Jobs.
Although the episode highlighted tar roofing, one of the dirtiest types of roofing there is, cleanliness does matter.
Clean trucks, workers, and tools are often a direct reflection of the pride a company and their employees take in getting a job done in a neat and safe manner.
For example, there is a great deal of organizational skills that goes into the removal of old and dilapidated roofing materials without damaging a roof. This tear down process must be done in an orderly fashion to minimize residual damage to good or neighboring portions of roofs.
A chaotic and unorganized dexterous dismantling of a roof can equate to excess manpower hours being applied to cleaning up the excess debris.
You may find that keeping tidiness in mind as you do your research may come in handy in the long run.
Be Patient When Possible
We once met a customer who asked a numerous questions then came back to us almost a year later ready to hire us. When the subject of time came up, they explained that they had talked to five different roofing companies and were most impressed by our customer service, responsiveness and how open we were to answering questions that in some cases meant our larger competitors had an advantage in price.
At the end of the day, being able to take your time, mull it over and weight out the information that is most attractive to you is one of the most practical bits of information you can use to get the most value out of your investment.
If you try some or all of these above steps and still have a few questions, we are more than will to talk to you and go over your options.