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Choosing a Roofing Contractor

Things to check into before you sign the contract:

Have you SEEN a copy of the contractor's insurance certificate?

Many illegitimate contractors will tell you they have Liability and Workman's Compensation insurance. But, to protect yourself against loss or lawsuit, should someone get injured on your property, you need to ask to actually see a certificate of insurance before signing anything. All legitimate, insured contractors will be pleased to present theirs. A-1 Construction of Yakima, Inc. will even have their insurance agent mail or fax you a personal copy upon request.

Have you SEEN a copy of their contractor's license?

Illegitimate contractors will claim to be properly licensed, but you need to ask to see an physical copy of their Washington Contractor's License and Bond. Holding a contractor's license in Washington is required to do construction work under contract. You may check on the validity of any contractor's license in Washington by contacting the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries website.

Have you CALLED the Better Business Bureau and asked if they have any complaints on the contractor?

The Better Business Bureau receives hundreds of inquiries regarding roofing contractors. Is the contractor that's bidding your home a member of the Better Business Bureau in good standing? Call the BBB and find out at 800-356-1007.

Familiarize yourself with terms

Many contractor’s proposals contain specific terms and conditions. Such terms have advantages and obligations for both parties, so read them carefully. Be wary of forms that are extremely lengthy or vaguely worded. A roofing contract should easily be contained on one page, front and back. Payments terms may vary but most will require payment in full upon completion of work. Do not pay for the work until you are sure the contractor is through with his job. Reasonable down payments prior to the start of the job may be expected. Excessive down payment should constitute a “DANGER” signal to the homeowner.

Be Informed

Before agreeing to any work, require a written proposal describing in plain language the procedures that will be performed and materials to be used. A total price should be as inclusive as possible with any unforeseeable work or unit prices clearly addressed.

How to hire a Roofer

A new roof is a serious investment, here are some helpful hints

Provided by Today's Homeowner Magazine. Written by Danny Lipford

Whether you're considering slate with copper flashing or something a little more modest, a new roof is a major investment that typically runs into the thousands of dollars. The materials themselves represent a relatively small portion of the bill. The bulk of what you spend goes for the skilled labor involved. And that makes choosing an experienced pro the best way to protect your investment and ensure a leakproof job. Simple, right? Unfortunately, roofing is an easy entry business that requires little more than a pickup truck, a ladder and some basic tools to get started.

Finding And Qualifying

First check with friends, workmates and neighbors, call a local home builder's association. Get at least two prospects. Make sure each has been in business at least 5 years - roofers who do shoddy work don't usually last that long.

Start with checking availability. There's reason to waste time if he's booked into next year. Get names and address of references, and drop any contractor who balks at providing them

Then do a drive-by inspection of a few jobs. Check the looks of the job are all the lines and cut straight and trimmed clean. Ragged lines mean slipshod work. Look for neat clean cut lines.

If the roofs stand up to scrutiny, call the references directly and ask them the following question:

  1. Would you use the roofer again?
  2. Did the roof leak? If so, did the roofer respond promptly, was he courteous and did he charge for the repairs?
  3. Did the job come in on budget? If not, by how much? Were the extra charges justified?
  4. Did the roofer damage and flowers or shrubs? Did he leave nails and debris in driveway and lawn? Good roofers pick up all nails in lawn, flowerbeds and driveways with a rolling magnet.
  5. Did they do a good job of general cleanup? It's not your job to cleanup after the roofers
  6. Was a designated forman available to address your concerns?

When a roofer comes by to look over your job and work up a price, note his appearance. pride extends beyond the job site. If he isn't clean enough to sit at you breakfast table, do you really want him working on your home? Now begin detailing your full range of expectations. Get everything in writing.

Making The Deal

If you like what you see, it time to ask about insurance: Are employees covered with workman compensation? If an employee gets hurt and there is no insurance provided by the employer, you will end up paying for the employee's medical bills. Make sure the roofer has at least $1 Million of Liability Insurance, incase of a leak from a storm or he starts your home on fire.

Now get the estimate, which should be free. Roofing is a short-term job break up payment into two payments: one-third or less up front (10% is better) remainder when the roofing and cleanup are done to your satisfaction. Also insist on a warranty that covers all the labor related defects. One year is the minimum, though two or three years is preferable. Make sure all these thing are in the contract.

Shingle manufacturer's back their products for 20 to 50 years and beyond. Request the longest and highest-rated shingle you can afford, all the felt paper, metal flashing and labor are the same cost. There are two warranties provided life of shingle, and wind warranties these come in 70 to 110 MPH warranties. be sure all these items are in your contract. After the job is done get all the paper work, roofers warranty, manufacturers warranties and all other paper work you need.

Getting A Quality Job

Several other quality checks will also help you insure a good roofing job.

  1. Make sure all flashings, starter metal, plumbing vent flashing and others are replaced no.
  2. Now is the time to add ventilation, make sure ventilation is up to code if not make sure it is done. Without proper ventilation attic could get up to 130 degrees and in winter moisture in attic could destroy the roof sheathing. Proper ventilation will solve these problems.
  3. The may be damaged plywood that needs to be replaced or the sheeting may be spaced apart it will be necessary to replace this or cover over spaced sheeting. Make sure the roofer checks this out and includes this as a line item so if not needed you don't have to pay for it.
  4. Ask how roofer will protect plants (plywood is usually used) Draw clear lines of responsibility for any damage. Get it in writing.
  5. Find out how roofing shingles and debris is to be handled, where is the truck or dumpster will sit, how is the lawn or driveway to be protected. If the truck or dumpster is not able to get close to the house expect to pay for the debris to be hand carried to the truck or dumpster.
  6. One major point to ask about is cleanup, make sure roofer will clean up not only the nails left behind but all the little pieces of shingle and paper on the lawn and in flower beds.

Finally, trust your intuition. If you are not comfortable with the roofer even up to the signing of the contract. Back out and start your search again. Remember this is a major investment in your family's home.

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A-1 Construction of Yakima, Inc.
1901 E. Mead Avenue, Yakima, Washington 98903
Tel. (509) 248-7339 • Fax (509) 469-2779

A1 Construction - Yakima's Roofing Contractors