A reader: I just bought a house and I’m not sure I am completely comfortable that my roof is in good shape. I don’t know where to start about finding someone that won’t come out and just pressure me into a new roof. How do I go about getting a roof inspection to make sure that when the rain starts my roof won’t be leaking?
Action Line: You’ve come to the right pace for tips on how to find and hire a company to take care of your roof needs. Most of the time, the age of your roof will help you determine if it needs to be replaced or repaired.
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How well it was installed and maintained can also play a part. According to the Contractors State License Board (CSLB), the average life expectancy of a typical residential roof is 15 to 20 years. If you have leaks, they can sometimes be caused by one shingle or trouble areas like skylights or chimneys. Many times, these can be repaired instead of replacing the entire roof. The weather can also be a factor. You can help with the maintenance of your roof by keeping the gutters clean. Clogged rain gutters can cause water damage. And stay off the roof!
Don’t hire just anyone. To find a roofing company, check with BBB for roofers that inspect and repair in your area. Then check their licensing with CSLB BEFORE you call them for an estimate or go to bbb.org and use Request A Quote. But please make sure you:
▪ Get prices from at least three contractors if the roof needs repairs.
▪ Ask for references and call them.
▪ Make sure you get everything in writing.
▪ Make sure they get permits.
▪ Hire only licensed contractors and make sure that they have workers compensation insurance and general liability insurance and ask for copies of these policies.
CSLB also suggests that you should protect yourself from mechanic’s liens against your home in the event the contractor does not pay subcontractors or material suppliers. You may be able to protect yourself by having a “release of lien” clause in your contract. A release of lien clause requires the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers to furnish a Certificate of Waiver of Lien. If you are financing your project, the bank or lending institution may require that the contractor, subcontractors and suppliers verify that they have been paid before releasing funds for subsequent phases of the project.
If you should experience a problem before, during or after construction, go back and talk to the contractor. If they do not show a good-faith effort to take care of your concerns, you can contact your BBB and file a complaint at bbb.org. Two other organizations that have a information on the roofing industry are:
▪ The Roofing Contractors Association of California www.rcacal.com
Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO for the Better Business Bureau serving Central California. Send your consumer concerns, questions and problems to Action Line at the Better Business Bureau, 2600 W. Shaw Lane, Fresno, CA 93711 or firstname.lastname@example.org.