When the Roof Comes Down
Having a roof replaced is certainly headache, but if you follow these simple tips you’ll end up having to take fewer aspirins.
Like it or not, at some point in your life you are going to have to have a roof replaced. Maybe not today, but at some point the time will come. If you’re anything like me, though, you’re probably thinking you can put it off indefinitely. After all, a roof’s not like a car. It’s not like anyone looks at it. It’s just a roof, right?
The subject of roofing is a touchy one, as we all know, one that most of us prefer to put off until we wake up with raindrops falling on our heads. That’s because roof repair is always an expensive undertaking – usually costing hundred or even thousands of dollars. It takes forever to finish, and the work is really noisy. And let’s not forget about the roofing professionals, those smooth-talking wheelers and dealers who speak a language we normal folk can barely comprehend. Maybe they’re the reason that popular magazines and newspapers frequently run how-to roofing tutorials that make shingle replacement seem like riding a bike.
Even though publications like Popular Mechanics would have us believe that replacing our roof shingles is as easy as reciting the alphabet, that is simply not the case. Don’t be deceived. You really don’t want to be climbing out on your roof with a potato fork, thinking you’re going to save yourself thousands of dollars. For one thing, the work is incredibly labor-intensive and, for another, it’s not a job that you want to mess up. When it comes to roofing, a man-made disaster is always harder to repair than one caused by nature. There are also safety considerations and even building code issues involved. Do the work incorrectly, and you can find yourself paying a hefty fine down at city hall. So if you’ve never fixed a roof before, it’s probably best that you don’t start with your own.
Finding the Right Roofing Professionals
The job of replacing roof shingles is one that should be left to roofing professionals. Sure, the job’s a costly one, but that’s not really their fault. They’ve got to buy the roof shingles out of pocket, after all. Plus they’ve got to be bonded, which also costs money. And so what if they use too much of that annoying roof talk? That’s their job, after all. Do you really want your roofer showing up talking about French bulldogs?
If you’re going to be shelling out all of that money, however, there’s still a few things you’ll need to know up front, the most important of which is how to choose the right roofing professionals. After all, you can’t just hire the first gum-chewing yokel who shows up with a ruler in his back pocket. At the very least the roofing professionals you hire should have a local operating license. That way you can get some help from the local authorities if the job isn’t done right.
They really should be bonded, too. Having a bond will create additional costs for the roofing professionals, which they will pass on to you of course, but if the work turns out to be substandard at least you’ll be able to get your money back from the roofer’s bonding company. And while you’re at it, you’ll need to make sure the roofing professionals you hire have workmen’s compensation and liability insurance, just in case someone takes a tumble from your rooftop. You don’t want to be the one shelling out hospital costs and paying liability damages, after all. At the most, you should just be sending flowers and a get-well-soon card.
The proper paperwork’s only half the picture, though. You’ll want to play private eye for a few hours, as well. At the very least, you should check with your local Better Business Bureau to see how many complaints – if any – have been filed against the roofing professionals you have in mind. Also, hit the library and go through old phone books or city directories to see how long the company’s been in business. The longer the better. If they just opened their doors last week, I’d probably look around a little more.
Now that you’ve gone to all that trouble to find the right roofer, it certainly won’t hurt to explore your roofing options. You may not be aware of it, but new advancements have been made in the roofing industry over the previous years, and there are now a variety of available alternatives to traditional asphalt shingles. These new roofing methods offer a number of different advantages. Some are more eco-friendly. Others are longer lasting or safer.
One alternative comes in the form of metal roofing. There is still much consumer resistance to it, however, since the initial costs are higher than the costs associated with traditional roofing methods. In fact, coated metals can run as high as $600 per square, though more modestly priced materials are readily available. Even so, despite the higher price tag metal roofing still offers several advantages over traditional shingling.
In the first place, metal roofs are considerably lighter than ordinary roofs. They place less strain on a building, which is important for long-term structural integrity. What’s more, a metal roof comes with exceptional life expectancy – greater than 30 years, in fact. Then there’s the fact that metal roofing is low maintenance, and more resistant to damage from falling branches and other debris. Finally, and perhaps most important, metal roofing is fireproof. So even though it may be a little costlier on the front end, metal roofing is an investment that pays better dividends in the long run.
Whether you go with metal roofing or traditional shingles, though, the most important thing is that you find the right roofing professionals to find the job. And for goodness’ sake, whatever you do, don’t climb out on the roof yourself, thinking you’ll be able to figure it out. That’s a battle that many have fought but few have won. When the roof comes down, don’t let it be on your head.