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Hiring a Roofer? Do Your Research!

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Getting your roof replaced can be a major expense, so you want to make sure you are getting a high-quality product. Of course, most homeowners are also price-conscious, and they want to get the best value they can. There’s nothing wrong with looking for a deal. But before you go all in on a cut-rate roofer, make sure you know what you’re getting.

A Stubborn Leak

Your roof is the most important part of your house. If a house is meant first and foremost as a shelter from the elements, the roof is the forward guard. When your roof is in good shape, the rest of the house is protected. But if your roof starts to have problems, you can be sure that those problems will cascade, literally, into the rest of your house.

That was the case with homeowner Bill Johnson. Bill had a new roof installed, but after just 5 years he developed a stubborn leak in his ceiling. The leak was smack in the middle of his bedroom, and every time it rained, the water would leak directly onto Bill’s bed! Bill brought out a roofing company, but after multiple visits, they still couldn’t find the source of the leak.

That’s when Bill called TrustDALE.

The Wrong Shingles

TrustDALE brought out one of our certified experts, Dr. Roof, to take a look. When the roofer from Dr. Roof got up on the roof, he quickly found a whole bunch of bad news.

It looked like the roofer that had installed the roof just 5 years ago had used the wrong type of shingles! 

There are literally hundreds of types of asphalt shingle. The two main styles are three-tab shingle and architectural shingle. Three-tab shingle is the classic flat-looking, regularly-shaped roofing you’ll find on millions of suburban homes. Architectural shingle is a newer product. It is made of layers of asphalt built up to create a three-dimensional shingle. The shingles are also manufactured in varying shapes and sizes. The thicker shingles, sometimes call dimensional shingles, mimic the look of more natural materials.

Within those two main categories of shingle, there are countless varieties. Shingles come in many different shades and colors. They also vary significantly in quality. Some cheap shingles are warrantied for only 15 years. Other shingles, especially architectural shingles, can be warrantied for as much as 50 years. Shingles are also made for specific environments. Some shingles are manufactured with extra adhesive and specialized features to withstand high winds. Other shingles are built with unique reflective features to reduce heat absorption in warm climates.

In Bill’s case, his roofer had used the wrong type of shingles for his home. The way his home was built, the top of his roof was practically flat, with a very gentle slope. Unfortunately, the shingles that the original roofer installed were not intended for flat roofs. That was the root cause of the leak. And although the original roofing company touted a lifetime warranty, when Bill tried to contact them he found that they had gone out of business.

Poor Attic Ventilation

To make matters worse, the plywood decking underneath the shingles was in bad shape. As the roofer from Dr. Roof moved around the roof, the decking creaked under his feet with every step. Some of the damage to the decking was due to overheating in the attic below. Bill’s attic was heating up to 140 or even 160 degrees in warm weather. The overheating was likely due to inadequate venting. With poor ventilation, hot air was accumulating in the attic with nowhere to go. All that heat was literally cooking the decking, weakening it over time.

Protect Yourself from Bad Roofers

In Bill’s case, there was little he could do about the bad roofers he had hired. They were out of business, and it was unlikely he would ever get repairs based on his ‘lifetime warranty’. But one thing Bill’s case has demonstrated is that you really have to do your research when hiring a roofer.

Roofing is one area about which most homeowners know very little. It’s not their area of expertise, and it is unlikely that they will ever get up on the roof or in the attic to get a good look at the roofer’s product. Most of the time, homeowners won’t know that there is a problem with their roof until a leak or some other obvious problem crops up.

Because so many homeowners know so little, scammers and shoddy roofers have been able to flourish. Just type ‘roofing scam’ into your favorite internet search engine. You’ll see dozens of stories on roofers who underperformed or just stole people’s money. It’s just the unfortunate reality of this type of work.

Finding a Reliable Roofer

With so many scammers out there, how do you find the good ones? The answer is that you have to do your research. Before hiring a roofer, look for reviews online. Many websites allow homeowners to rate and review companies that do work for them. Read the reviews, especially the bad ones. Find out what problems people have had with them in the past. In addition to reviews, ask for references. A reliable roofer who has been in business for a while should easily be able to produce 10 references upon request. You don’t have to call al 10, but try to contact two or three to verify that they’ve had a good experience. You can also check the Better Business Bureau to see if the company is rated. Good roofers usually have an A or A+ rating with the BBB.

If you really want to make sure you get a good roofer, you’re already in the right place. We always suggest you do your research. But TrustDALE is a one-stop shop for vigorously researched companies that have a history of reliability and quality. Every business certified by TrustDALE has gone through Dale’s intensive 7-point investigative review. Dale has checked for past complaints, verified testimonials and previous customers, and done lots of other research. All of this is done with the goal of recommending only the best businesses to consumers. So if you need a roofer, check our list of roofers here. You can rest assured that you get a great roofer and a great value.