For most people buying a home is the biggest purchase decision and investment they will ever make. First, there are the endless open houses and home showings to attend. Then you have to come up with a hefty down payment so you can secure the mortgage. Once you have decided on your target neighborhoods you can narrow the search a bit, but there’s still a lot of things to consider and think about. Finally, you make an offer and after some negotiations you are the proud owner of a home.
It’s easy to think of buying a home as a single transaction in time. In reality, though, your house is more like a project that constantly needs care and attention. Every weekend there are things to fix and yard care always needs to be done. While you can put off some projects you have to act quickly when serious repairs need to be done. Perhaps the costliest repair project you are likely to face is replacing your existing roof with a new one.
Choosing Your Roofing Material
A leaking roof can multiply your costs by causing extensive damage inside of your home, so it’s important to take care of things right away. One of the first decisions you’ll have to make with your roof replacement is to select the material you are going to use. Approximately seventy-five percent of homeowners choose asphalt shingles that are fiberglass reinforced when they install a new roof.
Metal roofing is even more durable and boosts the curb appeal but costs more than shingles. Wood shakes are really beautiful but in areas prone to wildfires they are not a good idea. Around five percent of homeowners choose a tile roof, but that option carries a bigger price tag.
What to Ask for When You Hire a Roofing Contractor
When you are screening your potential roofing contractor, it’s helpful to have a checklist of questions ready. First of all, you want to make sure that the contractor is licensed. In most areas contractors are licensed at the state level and you can look online to see the year their license was issued and if it is current. You’ll also want to be sure that they will provide a thorough written estimate and include information about the warranty.
It’s important to also be sure that your contractor carries the proper insurance. They will need to show insurance certificates from both general liability and workman’s compensation policies. Their general liability policy will provide coverage for your property and pay for any damage that might be caused by the contractors or their crew. Worker’s compensation insurance is a must to protect you in case one of their employees is injured on the job. If they don’t have coverage, you may be liable for the employee’s medical bills.
Customer References and Contractor Reviews
Before you hire the contractor and sign the contracts, you’ll want to be sure to ask for and check out customer references. Ask for local customers who have had jobs done that are similar to yours. Ideally, you can even drive by those homes and see for yourself the quality of the roofing work done.
You can also go online and read other customer reviews. Often the reviews provide a wealth of valuable information and some important tips and lessons learned when installing a new roof. If your state licenses the contractor you should also go to the state licensing board site to see if there are any complaints filed.
If you are about to invest in a full roof replacement be sure to do your homework and find out everything you need to know about the project and the contractor you choose. By doing your due diligence, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you made the right choice and that you will be happy with a job well done.