Business Columns & Blogs

Make sure you’re covered when you hire a roofer

Need a roofer? Columnist Blair Looney of the Better Business Bureau shares tips to make sure you hire a reputable one, and ensure that you don’t get stiffed by an unscrupulous one.
Need a roofer? Columnist Blair Looney of the Better Business Bureau shares tips to make sure you hire a reputable one, and ensure that you don’t get stiffed by an unscrupulous one. Sacramento Bee file

A reader: I made it through the hot, dry summer without losing my lawn and now I think my roof is in trouble. I notice that a couple of the shingles are loose and I want to have it looked at before the weather turns. How do I go about finding someone that will do an inspection without trying to sell me a new roof if I really don’t need one?

Action Line: You’ve come to the right place 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. How well it was installed and maintained can also play a part. According to the California Contractors State License Board, 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!

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;

▪ ask for references and contact them;

▪ get everything in writing;

▪ ensure that the contractor you choose gets the proper permits;

▪ hire only licensed contractors who have workers compensation insurance and general liability insurance and ask for copies of these policies.

CSLB also suggests that you 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 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, contact your BBB and file a complaint at bbb.org.

Action Line is written by Blair Looney, president and CEO of 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 info@cencal.bbb.org.

More resources

Contractors State License Board: www.cslb.ca.gov, 800-321-2752

Roofing Contractors Association of California: rcacal.com

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