General Homeowners Replacement - Residential Roofing Tips

How to Find a Residential Roofing Contractor

No one wants to hear the news that their home’s roof needs repairs or worse, replacing. But a roof will not last forever and keeping it in top shape is essential to your family’s comfort and safety. If you find yourself in need of roof repairs there are strategies for finding and hiring the best residential roof contractors to get the job done right. 

Word of mouth is a good place to start. Friends, family members, co-workers, and neighbors may have had great experiences with local residential roof contractors and be more than willing to share contact information. Get as many details as you can on timeliness, cost, courtesy, and results. Be aware, however, that all roofs are not the same, so if your sister hired a residential metal roofing contractor, but you have a PVC flat roof, you may not see the same results. Further research will be needed to gauge the options among residential roofing companies. 

Research Residential Roofing Contractors Online

Even with a solid recommendation, doing online research on any residential roofer before you call them, can help you find the best person to do the work required whether your roof is metal or shingle, flat or pitched. 

Do you ever purchase anything online these days without first checking the reviews? Reviews are just as important when looking for roofing services. Read the comments to look for clues as to how easy the roofing company was to communicate with, how fair the pricing was, and what was the end result. 

Do a full investigation of the residential roofing contractor’s website. First check whether they are licensed, bonded, and insured. Most roofing companies will highlight that information on their website, often with the license number listed. If this information is not available from the website, you can also check the Oregon Construction Contractors Board (ORCCB) site which tracks licenses and complaints and shares information on how you can verify the validity of a contractor’s license. Let’s face it, you can’t be too careful these days when fraud seems to be everywhere. 

If your research shows the residential roofing contractor is properly licensed, next check how many years they’ve been in business and what professional associations they belong to. Pacific West Roofing carries memberships with the Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA) and the Associated Roofing Contractor Group (ARC) which allows us to easily access continuing education on safety, products, and practices which not only benefits our team but benefits our customers. 

Questions to Ask a Residential Roofing Contractor

Once you’ve exhausted the information found online, it’s time to contact a potential roofing contractor directly and ask some critical questions. 

Every roof is not the same, so make sure your residential roofing contractor is experienced working with whatever material you have or want. Ask what roofing products the roofing company is certified to install and what type of ongoing training installers and repairers have undergone with the product. If certified, the residential roofing contractor should be able to tell you all the details on the product’s performance, installation processes, and warranties. 

Make sure to ask about product warranties since residential roofing contractors who are certified for specific products are often able to offer the best warranties. For instance, Pacific West Roofing is a 5-star Certainteed SelectShingle Master which means we can offer the highest-rated warranty on this product for the roofs we install. This particular warranty also covers workmanship, which is another area to ask questions. Find out how long the product is guaranteed, but also if and how long the work is covered. 

Gathering Estimates from Roofing Contractors

You’ve asked the basic questions about residential roofing services offered, but what every homeowner wants to know is how much the roof repair or roof replacement will cost. How to get an estimate from a roofing contractor is not mysterious, but there are some fine points to consider. There are many steps and products that go into any roofing project and all of these items should be reflected in an estimate. A few specifics you should see on a bid are the types of ventilation and flashing that will be used, where they will be used, cost, and assurance the materials will be new. Look for all materials to be the same quality. Using high-end shingles with low-rated flashing is sure to eventually produce leaks. Every product used, and every activity the residential roofing contractor will undertake should be written into an estimate so there are no surprises. 

Doing your homework and research before you choose a residential roofing contractor is essential. But while the on-paper results can look perfect, there is always the variable of how well the people who will do the work will perform. While you can never know for sure if the workers pounding the nails are the best in the business, ask about their skills and training well before they are on your roof. The technicians and installers at Pacific West Roofing have undergone extensive training to ensure they are qualified to deliver the best workmanship. We’re always happy to talk to potential customers about our ongoing training requirements because we’re proud of the team we have and the beautiful work they do.  Contact us to see if Pacific West Roofing is an option for your residential roofing company needs.

General Roofing Tips

Nine Steps to Hiring a Quality Roofing Contractor

It is always important to vet any contractor, including any roofing contractor that performs work on your home. It is common knowledge to inquire if the contractor is licensed and bonded, but what else should a homeowner do to ensure they receive the highest quality product and services? In reality, there are many ways you can protect your home improvement investment, especially when it comes to the roof of your home.

By following this simple nine-point checklist for hiring a quality roofing contractor, any homeowner can rest assured they have done their due diligence to protect their family, their home, and their investment.

  1. Licensed, Bonded & Insured

Is the roofing contractor licensed, bonded, and insured? The Oregon Construction Contractors Board (ORCCB) is an excellent resource to research any contractor in Oregon. The Board tracks licenses and complaints, and provides educational services, to help you verify the validity of the contractor’s license prior to engaging them for services.

  1. Number of Years in Business

How many years has the roofing contractor been in business? Make sure any potential roofing contractor is qualified to perform the work you are seeking and ask how long they have been in business. While there are many qualified new contractors, a history of providing quality service and products cannot be underestimated.

  1. Product Certifications

What roofing products is the roofing contractor certified to install? Most homeowners don’t know that roofing contractors can get certified to work with specific product lines whether pitched roofs or flat roofs. Inquire about any product certifications or training the contractor possesses to ensure they are knowledgeable of the product’s performance, installation processes, and warranties.

  1. Warranties

What warranties are available and what product warranties is the roofing contractor certified to offer? Warranties are another variable homeowners don’t always know to ask about. For example, shingle manufacturers like Certainteed and Malarkey offer multiple levels of warranties, and roofing contractors basically earn the right to offer the highest-rated warranties for these products. Pacific West Roofing is a 5-star Certainteed SelectShingle Master and a Malarkey Emerald Premium Contractor, which means we are able to offer the highest-rated warranties for these products on the roofs we install, including workmanship warranties. You can find a deeper explanation of warranties here to learn how to understand warranty agreements.

  1. Professional Associations

What professional associations does the roofing contractor belong to? Professional associations, like the Western States Roofing Contractors Association (WSRCA) and the Associated Roofing Contractor Group (ARC), are great resources for the contractor, but they are also great resources for the consumer. Check to see if your contractor belongs to any professional associations. Association memberships provide contractors with continuing education on products, methodologies, safety, and other industry-specific information, so make sure to ask if they possess any current memberships. Pacific West Roofing is a member of both ARC and WSRCA and we sit as actual board members.

  1. Supplier References

Do suppliers like working with the roofing contractor? Another great untapped resource for homeowners is the contractor’s suppliers. Ask your contractor who their roofing product suppliers are, then contact them directly for a reference. It’s possible to find useful information like if the contractor is current (invoices paid) with their supplier and which contractors the supplier likes to work with. Even roofing product manufacturers’ reps may be able to provide additional references.

  1. Online Reviews.

In the age of the internet, reviews and online forums are a great way to learn about the quality of a company’s workmanship and customer experiences. Don’t forget to use that powerful tool we call Google!

  1. Detailed Cost Estimate and Bid

Confirm any bids you get cover all the details! Most homeowners don’t know everything that goes into installing or replacing a roof or how the total cost is calculated. Here is the list of items you should find on a proper roofing bid:

  • Ventilation – How the roof will be ventilated and the associated cost.
  • Flashing – What flashing materials will be used around any vent, pipe, or skylight openings? Ideally, the quality of the flashing should match the quality of the roofing materials. It does no good to use top-rated shingles and then install sub-par flashing, vent, or pipes–failures (aka leaks) are almost guaranteed to happen.
  • Confirm all materials used will be new: new vents and new flashing. 
  • Does the bid call for peel and stick membranes around penetrations like chimneys, pipes, skylights, and vent pipes? Details like this should be included in the bid.
  1. Qualifications and Training of Crew

Shopping around for the lowest bid may help your wallet in the short run, but a lower price does not always mean a better deal. Labor, which represents the quality of workmanship, should be the biggest deciding factor. There is no substitution for quality labor and training. At Pacific West Roofing, our roofing technicians and installers undergo extensive and ongoing training to ensure they are fully qualified to do the work and deliver the utmost in quality workmanship.

This checklist is meant to be a resource for homeowners so they can protect themselves and have peace of mind that they are investing their home improvement dollars responsibly when they hire a roofing contractor, but Pacific West Roofing is always here to answer your questions. We pride ourselves on our customer service and customer education.  

Don’t rely on just one of these points to make your decision about a roofing contractor. Do your homework, be thorough, and make a fully-informed decision before you sign any contracts.

For more information about Pacific West Roofing, you can check our website, give us a call, contact our suppliers, and ask us for references–we will be happy to provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision. Below you will find a quick list of credentials that will help you immediately answer some of the questions above.

Pacific West Roofing is:

  • A Trained Professional Residential Roof Contractor with 40 Years of Experience
  • Beter Business Bureau (BBB) Accredited
  • Malarkey Roofing Shingle Certified
  • CertainTeed Shingle Certified
  • Duro-Last PVC Membrane Certified for Flat Roofs
  • A Member of the Western States Roofing Contractors Association 
  • A Member of the Associated Roofing Contractor Group 
Pacific West Roofing
General

4 Roofing Scams to Watch Out For | Pacific West Roofing

We learn early on in life that not everybody plays by the rules, and when we grow up and become property owners, sometimes we learn those lessons again. Unfortunately, there are contractors out there who choose to get ahead by cutting corners and deceiving customers. In the worst cases, you may not even know you’ve been duped until the roofer is long gone or the work falls apart. At Pacific West Roofing, we want to make sure you never have to worry about the integrity of your roofer. Here are four shady schemes to watch for when getting roof work done on your home or commercial building.

1. THE BAIT AND SWITCH

To help property owners make quick and easy decisions, contractors sometimes offer roofing materials in packages based on quality, e.g. high-quality package A, medium-quality package B, and base-quality package C. In this scenario, a dishonest roofer might sell a customer on the top-quality package, but then use lower grade materials without their knowledge. A roofer might also sell the base-quality package, then wait until the point of no return to tell you that those products are discontinued or unavailable, sneakily forcing you into paying for upgrades. Either way, you get cheated and the contractor gets rich.

2. CUTTING CORNERS

By skimping in lots of small ways, contractors can save quite a bit of money in overhead.  They’ll try to reduce labor time and/or material cost as much as possible— at the expense of quality craftsmanship— to increase their profit margins. One of the most common offenses involves using fewer materials. They might use fewer fasteners and install fewer shingles than codes and manufacturers recommend, which would leave your home incredibly vulnerable to wind damage. When the wind comes in and blows off a loose shingle or piece of flashing, damage from leaks and pests are likely as well. Using fewer materials and omitting prep work also allows a contractor to put on a roof in record time. This may benefit your schedule, but no amount of expediency will be worth it if you have to get their shoddy work re-done.

3. OVERCHARGING FOR MATERIALS

When you invest in big-ticket home improvements, like a roof, it’s smart to familiarize yourself with the cost of materials. Check to see which manufacturers or suppliers your roofer works with, and inquire directly about their pricing. Then, ask your roofer if he plans to mark up the materials, and if so, include a cap in your contract. If you’re still feeling suspicious you could even request receipts for purchases and ask for credit on anything he returns. You won’t run the risk of being cheated a single dollar on materials.

4. SKIPPING TOWN

The best, most trustworthy contractors are those who have been working in town for decades. They have brick-and-mortar offices, a good standing with the BBB, and a long list of happy customers. A lot of times, these companies don’t have the “newness” that people are drawn to, like a flashy logo and brand new trucks. That’s not to say those things are signs of a shady contractor. But, if a nice guy comes knocking on your door (especially after a storm) representing a new roofing company with fresh, glossy brochures, you’d be wise to turn him down. This roofer out of Colorado was even offering to pay insurance deductibles and file claims on the homeowner’s behalf, and then skipped town after getting paid upfront by several unsuspecting customer. Their website is no longer active and the registered owner is no where to be found.

This is a clear-cut reason to always research potential contractors, and choose the professionals who’ve built a great reputation on years of local service.

HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM ROOFING SCAMS

First, be sure to ask your contractor lots of questions, especially if somethings seems “off.” The right contractor won’t be inconvenienced by offering more information.

You can protect yourself from the bait and switch by including a specific agreement in your contract. Suggest to your roofer that if any product included in your package should become unavailable, a comparable product will be used. If not, ask that upgrades be used at no additional cost.

As the project is carried out, make yourself available as often as possible to inspect the work. Look at things like fastener spacing and note whether the construction looks sloppy or neat. If you aren’t confident that you would be able to spot improper practices, ask a savvy friend or family member or even a professional consultant to inspect your roof as it’s completed. A good contractor will be happy to show their work at any stage of the project.

Being scammed on costly home repairs can be devastating. You’re out hard-earned money and your property still needs help. Avoid these scams by choosing Pacific West Roofing for your next roof project. Contact us today for a fee estimate! Call 503-635-8706 or send us an email.

 

Portland Roofing Contractor Since 1980

CCB# 169414