by Marcus Pickett
Is it time to replace your roof? Are you feeling overwhelmed by the process of choosing both a new roof and a contractor for the job? Don't fret. Here are the steps you should take to ensure that you get the most cost-effective roofing for your budget as well as the most reliable roofer in your area.
Too many homeowners immediately start calling roofers without the least idea of the choices involved or what to look for in a roofing company. Some homeowners even cold-call roofers from the phone book. You need to start your roofing project by familiarizing yourself with basic roofing considerations. You don't need to become a certified roofer. What you should do is make a list of informed questions to ask prospective roofing contractors. Asking the questions below will help you learn which roof is best for your home and will also help you to identify contractors with whom you can easily communicate.
Part of your research should also focus on the pros and cons for various roofing systems, such as composite roofing, metal roofing, and tile roofing. To read more about types of roofing systems, read this article about Roofing System Types. Finally, look for useful details, tips, and common problems associated with residential roofing. Know how attic ventilation helps prevent ice dams. Know that metal sheet roofing is easier and cheaper to install, but is also more vulnerable to thermal shock than metal tile roofing. You should also find out everything you can about your old roof. When was it installed? What type of roofing surface, pitch, ventilation, and insulation does it have? Knowledge is power.
These are just a few of the possible questions you might ask roofers during preliminary phone conversations or face-to-face when you are soliciting estimates. By the time you solicit estimates, you should have a pretty good idea of the kind of new roof you want. This way, you can make an apples-to-apples comparison of different estimates. Conventional wisdom suggests that you get at least three estimates.
Once you've had a chance to talk to each of your prospective roofers, it's time to review the estimates and sign a service contract. Sometimes the right answer will jump out at you - one contractor in particular seemed to share your roofing vision, philosophy, and budgetary constraints. Often, two contractors seem to make comparable offers with impeccable credentials. In this case, you may need to take a second look and split hairs. Just don't underestimate the importance communication; finding a contractor who is easy to communicate with is valuable in the long run. And don't just read, but make sure you clearly understand the implications of the service contract.
-- Marcus Pickett is a senior home improvement writer with ServiceMagic.com. He has written more than 1200 articles on managing your home and home improvement trends.