Protect Yourself and Your Home and Get Multiple Bids from Roofers Before you Put on Your New Roof!

I tell my clients repeatedly, “please get multiple bids when you go to replace that roof.”  Only to find out that they went with a friend’s husband because they just wanted it to be completed and felt like that was a safe bet.  Wrong!  You will be kicking yourself when your brand new $8000 (that’s the low end cost for a new roof these days) roof begins leaking into your basement and when you tell the roofer they say that they have nothing to do with that.  Trust me, when it comes to a big expense like a roof, you will be so glad after you have done your research.  So a few things to keep in mind when you are getting those bids:

1.  Cheaper doesn’t always mean better.  If one roofer comes in significantly cheaper than another, ask them why.  Are they using less materials?  Do they employ less workers so that it may take a little longer but costs you less in the end?  Do they not have insurance?  The last one is a big one.  Please make sure they have insurance and always check with the Oregon Construction Contractors Board to make sure they have no actions against them and to ensure their license is even active.

2. Get references! So few people do this and it is so important. Thankfully sites like Yelp or Angieslist exist to make this part easier. It’s easy for a roofer to give you pictures of roofs they have completed. And yes they all look nice but did they install them properly? Did they remove the existing three layers of roof before adding your new layer or just throw it on top of the others? Did they install enough ventilation into the attic? Did you know that you can cut the roof life expectancy by 20%-30% with a poor ventilated attic?

3. Get a detailed contract in advance that includes any provisions for changes in price that should arise during the job. I’ve watched that happen before where a roofer is mid job and they discover something that has them coming back to the owner and saying they need an extra $2000 to complete the work. Seems insane but when you have only half a roof on, what would you do?

4. Never accept a verbal bid. Always demand that a roofer (or any contractor) give you a written bid that details costs for materials, costs for time, start time and end time of project, warranty (if there is one) and any changes in price that could occur during the job as stated above. It gives you the chance to really compare all of your bids line by line to see where the differences are. And if a roofer says that they will do something that is not in the bid/contract, GET IT IN WRITING! PLEASE!

by Betsy Ballantyne

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