The National Roofing Contractors Association highlights a number of Frequently Asked Questions that homeowners should consider when researching roofing contractors and the work they do.
I received three significantly different proposals from contractors. How should I decide which contractor to select?
Clearly written proposals that are detailed and broken down into separate line items are a good sign that the contractor is being thorough and has prepared an accurate estimate. The following is a partial list of items your estimate or proposal should include:
- The type of roof covering, manufacturer and color
- Materials to be included in the work, e.g., underlayment, ice dam protection membrane
- Scope of work to be done
- Removal or replacement of existing roof
- Flashing work, e.g., existing flashings to be replaced or re-used, adding new flashing, flashing metal type
- Ventilation work, e.g., adding new vents
- Who is responsible for repairing/replacing exterior landscape or interior finishes that are damaged during the course of the work
- Installation method
- Approximate starting and completion dates
- Payment procedures
- Length of warranty and what is covered, e.g., workmanship, water leakage
Also, be sure to read the recommendations listed in Buying a new roof and getting your money’s worth and Selecting An NRCA Professional Roofing Contractor for more information.
I received several estimates to replace my asphalt shingle roof system and the prices vary greatly.
If one estimate seems much lower than the others and it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many fly-by-night contractors’ below-cost bids seem attractive, but these contractors often are uninsured and perform substandard work. If an estimate is confusing, ask the contractor to break down the estimate into items/terms you can understand.
My contractor is offering a one-year warranty on my asphalt shingle roof system-is that the industry standard?
Before answering the question, a clarification needs to be made about the different warranties you will come across during your roofing project. First, there will be the asphalt shingle manufacturer’s warranty. In general, this warranty covers defects in the manufacture of the shingle. The period of coverage can range from 20 years to a lifetime. Please read NRCA’s consumer advisory bulletin addressing roofing warranties for more information. Once the project is complete, be sure the contractor provides you with a certificate for your records.
Second, the roofing contractor will provide you with a warranty on his workmanship. Typically, this will cover installation and related issues. The warranty should contain what items are covered and what will void them. Many contractors offer one year or two years of coverage; however, there is no industry standard.
What is the best asphalt shingle to use on my roof?
Asphalt shingle material performance depends of the quality, quantity and compatibility of asphalt fillers, reinforcements and surface granules. There are two kinds of asphalt shingles (based on the type of reinforcement mat used); fiberglass and organic. Fiberglass shingles are more fire- and moisture-resistant than organic shingles. Organic shingles have good wind resistance, high tear strength and can be installed in colder temperatures.
Asphalt shingles should be in compliance with American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) standards and applicable building codes. Fiberglass shingles should meet ASTM D 3462, “Standard Specification for Asphalt Shingles Made from Glass Felt and Surfaced with Mineral Granules,” and organic shingles should meet ASTM D 225, “Standard Specification for Asphalt Shingles (Organic Felt) and Surfaced with Mineral Granules.”
Consumers also should keep in mind a roofing warranty’s length should not be the primary criterion in the selection of a roofing product or roof system because the warranty does not necessarily provide assurance of satisfactory roof system performance. See NRCA’s [consumer advisory bulletin addressing roofing warranties]-(http://staticcontent.nrca.net/consumer/warranties.pdf) for more information.