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How to Find a Great Roofing Company

To everything, there is a season.  That premise goes double for the roofing industry during hurricane season.  Whether you’re wondering if your roof has what it takes to survive a named storm, or whether you just want to know if it’s better to repair or replace your existing roof, there are a few things you need to know before you start searching for local roofers.

1.      Who you gonna call? – Finding listings for local roofers isn’t all that difficult.  Making sure a roofer is honest, conscientious, courteous, and experienced is another matter.  That’s because it’s all too easy to advertise online these days.  Everyone from experienced roofers to brand new roofing companies and even roofing brokers vie for visibility on the web.  While you can look for reviews and testimonials online, the only way to know whether you’re dealing with a reputable roofer is to ask for and contact previous customers.  Ask them if the roofer they hired did the job on time and on budget.  Ask if the crew was neat and courteous or if the customer spent days cleaning up the yard and picking up nails.

How Do I Find A Good Roofing Company?
  1. Should you ask your neighbors? – If you see any homes in your neighborhood that have a new roof, not only can you get a sense of the quality of work done by a roofing company, but you can also ask your neighbors what kind of experience they had with the roofer.  How professional and timely was the company?  How responsive was the staff to any concerns?  Would they recommend the roofing company to their family and friends?
  2.  How low can you go? – While nobody wants to spend more than they need to when it comes to replacing a roof, that doesn’t mean that the lowest bidder always represents the best deal for the consumer.  Just as there is no one-size-fits-all roof, the same can be said for roofing contracts.  The last thing you want to do is hire a roofing company only to find out after the job is started that flashing, insulation and replacement of rotten wood that lays beneath your old shingles cost extra.  You also want to make sure that the roofer uses quality fasteners instead of the cheapest that money can buy.  This last fact alone could mean the difference between a roof that lasts for decades, as opposed to one that needs to be replaced in ten years.  You should also find out who is going to pull the needed permits, you or them.
  3. How much should you have to pay for a roof? – That depends on the size and complexity of the project.  Of more concern to a homeowner should be how much they need to pay in advance for the project.  Most roofers will require up to half of the quoted cost to be paid in advance.  A consumer should never be required to pay the balance until the job is finished.   This also provides the roofer with an incentive to complete the job.

5.      Who’s responsible for accidents? – Roofing has risks, both to the crew as well as to you and your home.  You need to find out upfront who is going to be liable if a worker falls off a ladder or the roof.  Are the workers required to wear safety harnesses while the job is underway? What happens if someone falls through the roof or is hit on the head by something dropped from it?  Who’s responsible if your home or your car gets damaged by the crew?  What is the company policy regarding the policing of castoff nails on your property?  Make sure the company is licensed and insured with both liability and worker’s comp before you let anyone up on your roof.

  1. Smooth operators – Need I remind you that the well-dressed young man or woman who shows up to give you a roof quote isn’t going to be part of the crew that performs the actual service.  You need to ask how long the roofing company has been in business.  If you Google the company name followed by the word “complaints,” how many negative reviews pop up?  If you query the Better Business Bureau, what kind of rating does the company have?  A flashy website does not make for a quality roofing company.
  2. What’s in the warranty? – Not only is a warranty vital to the longevity of your roof, but it could also have a more immediate impact on your home should a leak pop up shortly after it’s replaced.  In actuality, a roofing job should contain two warranties: one for the materials and one for the workmanship.  As for material warranties, make sure they not only include the shingles, but the labor and installation costs should any part of the roofing system fail before the warranty runs out.   Also, be wary of “Lifetime Warranties,” since this can be defined a number of different ways, including as short as 5-years.  Look for exclusions and any other conditions that can cause the warranty to be voided. 

8.      The devil’s in the details. – Just like a home warranty, you need to carefully read the roofing
contract before you sign on the dotted line.  Some of the things you should be concerned with are the start and end date of the project, a list of all included material and supplies, building permits, scheduled inspections, the schedule for every stage of the project, the cellphone numbers of the supervisor, construction manager, and the general contractor, plus the terms of payment, right of cancellation and any potential liens that could be placed on your property.

  1. Will my homeowner’s insurance pay for my roof? – That depends on how your roof was damaged.  A typical homeowner’s policies will only pay for sudden damage done to a roof.  If a tree limb was to poke a hole in your roof, or a windstorm strips the shingles from it, your homeowner’s policy would pay to repair or replace the damaged roof minus your deductible.  However, if the damage to your roof is determined to be the result of age or general wear & tear, then the insurance company will not approve your claim.  Either way, it takes an insurance adjuster to determine whether your policy will or won’t cover the damage to your roof.  That means you can’t take a roofing representative’s word for it that your insurance will cover most of the cost to replace your roof.
  2. Get at least 3 quotes. – Once you’ve found several companies that pass muster, then it’s time to get them to compete for your business.   Because that’s how you find a great roofing company.

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson, and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters…and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for all our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.

Prolonging the Life of Your Roof

When it comes to owning a home, nobody likes to do maintenance.  Yet it’s routine maintenance that helps make a home last longer.  One of the things every homeowner wants to last the longest is the roof, since it’s one of the most expensive parts of a home to replace.  Yet for the most part, all too many homeowners ignore their roof.  Maybe it’s due to the fact that the roof is out of sight that it’s out of mind.  At least it is until they detect a leak, or worse when the homeowner finally gets around to replacing their roof and the roofing company finds a lot of rotted roof timbers under the shingles.  To help your roof last longer and reduce the incidence of rot, below are the top maintenance steps you need to take.

1.      Leave me alone at your peril – Leaves and tree litter might not seem like such a big deal, but it’s the number one cause of water intrusion on any roof.  That’s because leaf litter and twigs can act like a dam to back up water.  When shingles can no longer shed rain efficiently, the water will try to find another way out, usually by slipping under shingles.  Secondly, wet leaf litter adds unneeded weight to your roof which can eventually cause it to sag or even fail.  If you do nothing else to maintain your roof, make sure you sweep away the leaves and twigs that pile up on your roof every autumn. 

Can Gutters Cause Roof Leaks?
  1. Is your mind in the gutter? – If not, it should be.  That’s because clogged gutters can also cause leaks and add stress to your roof system.  Just as with leaf litter, clogged gutters can and do cause water to back up into the house.  If left unchecked, your home’s gutters will turn into terrariums where everything from grass to shrubs and trees will take root and begin to grow.   Once the leaves turn into dirt, the water that should run down the downspout will have nowhere else to go but out on the roof.  Worst still, this could eventually lead to the gutters collapsing under their own weight.  If you haven’t checked your gutters in a year or more, don’t wait until it causes your roof to leak.  If you live in a heavily wooded area, you might also like to consider getting gutter guards installed to keep your gutters from clogging.

3.      Are you out of your tree? – Another way you can protect your roof from unnecessary damage is to have your tree limbs trimmed every year.  In Florida, some trees can grow as much as two feet in a year.  If any of the branches of your shade trees happen to touch your shingles, you can rest assured that in no time they will begin to scour or even scrape the shingles they touch right off your roof.  Don’t think that because a tree limb isn’t in direct physical contact with your roof that it’s no threat.  The next time you have a passing thunderstorm, watch how your trees whip around.  If limbs are within 3-6 feet of the roof, a windstorm can cause them to come into contact with your shingles. 

  1. There’s a fungus among us. – Algae, fungi, and moss love damp places.  When it comes to a roof, these slimy green or black growths are prone to take root under the eaves where there’s less direct sunlight or in places that remain wet the longest.  If you see any kind of growth on your roof, mix up a solution of equal parts water and bleach to spray on the offending areas.  An even better solution is to install a zinc strip along the ridge of your roof. As the rain washes over the strip, zinc particles are released to coat the roof with a protective layer that prevents fungus, moss, and algae from growing. 
  2. A flash of brilliance? – Roof flashing needs to be undamaged and properly installed to prevent leaks around chimneys and vents.  If you notice even minor damage to the flashing, ignoring it is only going to make things worse.  Most minor flashing damage can be repaired with a polyurethane sealer.  If the damage is more significant, call a roofer to repair or replace the flashing to prevent or stop a leak. 
  1. Skylight, sky bright – Skylight seals are notorious for cracking over time.  Since they live in direct sunshine, you can’t expect them to last forever.  Before water starts to drip, drip, dripping from a compromised seal, it would behoove you to inspect any skylight on a yearly basis and repair or replace any cracked seals.
  2. Here comes old flattop – If you have a flat roof, you need to be cognizant of any cracks, blisters, or seam failures that can give water easy access into your home.  For smaller cracks or holes, you can buy roofing sealer from any hardware store.  While it won’t last forever, it can prolong the life of a flat roof.  For blisters or seam failures, your best bet is to call on a professional roofing company to assess and repair the damage.
  1. Inspect the roof for obvious signs of damage. – Bent or missing shingles are the quickest ways for a leak to get started.  After the next passing squall, go outside and take a look up at the roof.  If you see any missing, broken, or bent shingles, you need to have someone replace them sooner rather than later. 
  2. Do it yourself or hire a pro? – While every homeowner is looking to save money, depending on the size and pitch of your roof, you should always assess whether or not to attempt a roof repair on your own.  Better to pay a professional a few dollars to do the job right than to do a less than perfect repair or wind up falling off the roof.

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson, and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters…and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for all our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.

Repair or Replace Your Roof?

Into every life, a little rain must fall.  Or so the story goes.  The problem is when the rain falls on a leaky roof, your life can get complicated in a hurry.  That’s because leaks can be more than a nuisance.  If left unchecked, they can cause everything from structural damage to electrical short circuits to black mold.  That being said, the first sign of a leaky roof doesn’t necessarily mean it’s time to have your roof replaced.  Sometimes all that needs to be done is to seal the leak or replace damaged or missing shingles.  To help you assess the state of your roof, I’ve come up with a checklist that can help you get a handle on what to do when you detect a leak.

1.      Look before you leak. – While leaks are indeed a sign that your roof system is less than ideal, before you jump to the conclusion that the stain on your ceiling is due to faulty shingles, you need to determine what really caused the leak.  Nine times out of ten that requires climbing onto the roof.  Unless you look up at your roof and notice that some shingles are cracked, bent or missing, it’s time to take to the roof.  Once up there, it’s important to look not only at the shingles, but at everything else atop the roof.  Sometimes leaks aren’t due to shingle failures.  They can also be caused by faulty flashing or worn seals around skylights.  1.      Are your gutters the source of the leak? – Another thing that can cause water intrusion is something as simple as a clogged gutter.  If your gutters can no longer shift the rain off your roof, they can let the precipitation back up to the point where it can get beneath shingles that are otherwise in perfect working order.  If you see any standing water on the roof or your gutters are full of leaves and debris, you need to resolve the issue before you point the finger at your roof.

What To Do If Your Roof Is Leaking
  1. Are tree limbs too close to your roof? – If you go outside only to find a tree limb lying atop your roof, it’s pretty obvious what created the leak.  However, if you do detect bent, broken, or missing shingles without finding evidence of what did the damage, you need to try to figure out what caused the damage in the first place.  While old shingles are more apt to fail, if you have trees that stand near your home, it’s possible that limbs whipped up by a passing squall did the damage.  That means if you replace the shingles without pruning the offending limbs, you could wind up with another leak the next time a passing thunderstorm rolls through your area.
  2. How old is your roof? – A properly maintained roofing system should last 20-years or more, provided it was installed properly using quality material.  However, if the roofing company decided to use substandard material, or if your roof is more than a couple of decades old, chances are it’s probably time to replace rather than repair that old roof. That being said, depending on the extent of damage, sometimes it’s a better bet to replace rather than repair a newer roof, particularly if the damage was done suddenly.  Sudden damage caused by wind and weather is usually covered by your homeowner’s insurance, whereas gradual degradation caused over time isn’t covered. 
  1. Are tree limbs too close to your roof? – If you go outside only to find a tree limb lying atop your roof, it’s pretty obvious what created the leak.  However, if you do detect bent, broken, or missing shingles without finding evidence of what did the damage, you need to try to figure out what caused the damage in the first place.  While old shingles are more apt to fail, if you have trees that stand near your home, it’s possible that limbs whipped up by a passing squall did the damage.  That means if you replace the shingles without pruning the offending limbs, you could wind up with another leak the next time a passing thunderstorm rolls through your area.
  2. How old is your roof? – A properly maintained roofing system should last 20-years or more, provided it was installed properly using quality material.  However, if the roofing company decided to use substandard material, or if your roof is more than a couple of decades old, chances are it’s probably time to replace rather than repair that old roof. That being said, depending on the extent of damage, sometimes it’s a better bet to replace rather than repair a newer roof, particularly if the damage was done suddenly.  Sudden damage caused by wind and weather is usually covered by your homeowner’s insurance, whereas gradual degradation caused over time isn’t covered. 

4.      What’s a reroof and can it save you money? – Reroofing is the process of laying shingles over an existing set without scraping off the initial layer.  While legal in Florida, there are several things you need to know before considering a reroof.  In the first place, if you already have two layers of shingles atop your roof, it’s illegal to install a third layer.  If your existing roof is waterlogged, blistered, or badly deteriorated, it’s illegal to reroof.  If the roof structure isn’t designed to sustain the added weight of the second layer of shingles, reroofing isn’t an option.  The biggest issue with reroofing is that it doesn’t allow the roofing company to detect damage below the initial layer of shingles.  That means if there’s any rotted wood lying beneath the shingles, you’ll never know it until the roof collapses under the added weight.  It can also make it more difficult for you to sell your home when the time comes to put your home on the market.

5.      Can I replace damaged shingles on my own? – While replacing damaged shingles with new isn’t all that complicated, before you climb up on your roof to do the repair yourself, there are a few things you need to know.  There’s a big difference between a few damaged or missing shingles and a leak that has caused damage to several layers of your current roofing system.  A licensed roofer will not only be able to assess and repair the affected area, but he will also be able to determine the extent of the damage and how to mitigate it.  Plus, working on a roof is a dangerous environment for an amateur.  That’s why professional roofers wear safety harnesses.

6.      Patch or replace?  – Some homeowners wonder if they can patch a worn section of the roof rather than having it replaced, or they want to replace only part of the roofing system rather than replacing the entire roof.  Again, this is something that only a licensed roofer is going to be able to determine.  Depending on the age, condition, and cause of damage to your existing roof, it’s possible that only the affected area will need to be repaired or replaced.  It’s also possible that your insurance company will decide to have the entire roof replaced once they assess the damage.  If the leak was the result of sudden jeopardy, you should contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to determine the best course of action.  If the leak was the result of age, a roofer can let you know your options

7.      Why it’s important not to wait if you detect any damage to the roof. – Water has a way of finding its way into all sorts of things.  Not only can it cause unsightly water spots on ceilings, it can damage furnishings, cause electrical shorts, and undermine a building’s structure if left to its own devices.  That’s why it’s important to detect and nullify a roof leak as soon as possible.  By the time you detect a leak, the water could have found its way to other areas of your home.  The longer you wait to deal with a leak, the more serious the repercussions can be. 

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson, and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters…and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for all our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.

How Much Value Does a New Roof Add to My Home?

When it comes to roofs, there are plenty of reasons to replace one.  A leaky roof can do more than put a few spots on your ceiling.  Since it can take weeks or months for a spot to appear after a leak gets started, the water can percolate between walls or soak roof timbers until they begin to rot.  A leak can also cause electrical short circuits or be a source of black mold.  What’s even worse is that water damage caused over months as opposed to that caused in a moment isn’t always covered by your homeowner’s policy.  So, there are many reasons why you should consider having your roof replaced if it’s more than a couple of decades old.  However, there is another reason to think about replacing your roof, especially if you’re looking to sell your home.

1.      Eye appeal is buy appeal. – While new kitchen appliances and a remodeled bathroom make a property more appealing to home buyers, so does a new roof, especially if your current roof is the worst for wear.  Nothing makes a house look more appealing to prospective buyers than a bright exterior.   That’s why many home sellers slap a fresh coat of paint on their homes just before they put it on the market.  However, if the walls look shiny as a new penny, but the roof looks as dreary as a funeral shroud, that’s a deal killer for many buyers.  And even if the buyers don’t notice that old roof initially, when they have the house inspected prior to the sale, the home inspector is certain to notice and note any deficiencies in the roof system.  It’s far better to bite the bullet before the closing gets quashed when the buyer demands you either replace the roof or reduce your asking price.  Besides, on average the return on investment for a roof is a whopping 68.2%.  This means that instead of reducing the asking price, chances are a house with a brand spanking new roof is going to command a higher price in the first place.  

How Do You Know If You Need A New Roof?
  1. Collateral Damage – As I pointed out earlier, a leaking roof does more than create cosmetic issues inside your home.  It can cause collateral damage that could cost thousands to repair.  Water damage to ceilings, walls, carpets, cabinets, flooring, and electronics is fairly common if leaks are left to their own devices.  So too is the spawning of black mold which can pose health issues to you, your family, and your pets.  But what most homeowners don’t realize until after the fact is that patching an old worn-out roof doesn’t save a homeowner money.  It actually costs them a lot more when it comes time to finally replace the roof.  That’s when the roofer will discover how much damage, water has done to the wood that’s lies just below the shingles.  Had the homeowner replaced the roof a year or so earlier, the cost to replace roof timber would have been much, much less. 
  2. What does your roof mean to you and yours? – I’m sorry to say that most homeowners don’t give their roof a second thought until it fails.  That’s when companies like RoofCrafters gets a frantic call for help.  After Hurricanes Matthew and Irma rolled through a few years ago, every roofing company had more work than they could handle.  That’s due to the fact that a worn-out roof that’s hanging on by a thread is going to fail the minute a named storm blows through town.  If you drove through Jacksonville after either hurricane, you saw blue tarps covering numerous roofs.  While some of the damage done was caused by falling trees and limbs, all too many were the result of neglect.  As a result, many homes that were damaged by either named storm wouldn’t have been damaged at all had the homeowners replaced their old roofs with new before the storms hit.  The saddest part was due to the high demand for roofers, some of the homes that had their roofs done immediately following either hurricane had them replaced by transient roofing companies that are long gone.  Good luck getting them to honor their warranties if their roofs were to spring a leak. 
  3. How can a new roof increase the enjoyment of your home? – Aside from stopping leaks that can cost you big down the road, redoing your roof gives you a chance to improve your quality of life.  If you feel your home is too dark inside, have you ever considered adding a skylight or two to increase the interior illumination?  Adding skylights to your home is as simple as talking to your roofing representative.  Tired of paying through the nose for sky-high electric bills during the dog days of summer?  Again, your friendly, local roofer can come to the rescue by adding attic fans and helping you choose brighter shingles than those currently on your roof.  Adding ventilation and/or increasing the reflectivity of your home’s shingles can dramatically reduce your home’s cooling needs.
Do Solar Panels Void Roof Warranty?

5.      How else can a new roof save you money? – Speaking of reducing your electricity bills, if you’ve ever toyed with adding solar panels to your roof, there’s no better time to consider the possibility of doing so when you’re getting ready to replace your existing roof.  In fact, if you’re considering adding solar panels of any kind to your roof, you should speak to a licensed roofer.  That’s because if you aren’t careful, improperly installed solar cells can negate your roof warranty and even possibly your homeowner’s policy.  That’s right, solar installations need to be done to the manufacturer’s specifications.

Hi, my name is Nicole Corson, and I am the owner of RoofCrafters Roofing and a very blessed mother of two beautiful daughters…and a handsome dog! In 2013 I decided to pivot when I had an opportunity to take my 12 years of experience in property management, property maintenance, and my passion for helping others by applying it to the roofing industry. Coming into a predominantly male industry, I am very proud to say I have created some much-needed structure for all our team and an exceptional customer experience for my clients.