Client Questions: How do I Select a Roofing Contractor When I Have Hail Damage?

A storm of hail this size can devastate a roof

A storm of hail this size can devastate a roof

A friend recently wrote me a question about how to evaluate roofing contractors to determine who she should use to replace her hail damaged shingle roof: 

Hey Jim,

I have a question for you.

Our house in Colorado Springs needs a new roof due to hail damage. I contacted three Roofers and got their estimates.Two work with USAA and the other with the manager of our house. He has the lowest estimate 6.000$. The other two are the same….around 11.000$.
What do we have to look for when picking one of them? I know one roofer is going to use a thicker pad for underneath….but otherwise….

This is a great question! My response was as follows:

I would be cautious of a roofer with that low of a price. When it comes to hail damage, ensure that you are using an established local company that will be around for years to come after all the storm chasers leave town or you might find yourself paying for repairs in the future that should be covered by warranties of contractors who are no longer in town.

Due diligence:

  • Drive by the place of business and put your eyeballs on it. Is it a legit business? Will they be there in ten years?  You’re about to spend $11,000 on something, don’t you think you might want to visit the business that’s providing it?  Are you concerned enough about your home to knock on their door and ask to be shown around as a part of your process of evaluating contractors? Trust me, the legitimate contractor would jump at the chance to show you their office, even if it’s unannounced.
  • Get online and go to the website of the shingle manufacturer of the shingle they are proposing to use (Certainteed is my favorite). Are they listed as an approved installer? This isn’t a deal breaker but it does indicate how much support you can expect from the shingle manufacturer if there is a product problem. It also is a good indicator as to how committed they are to their trade.
  • In my opinion the BBB is less than worthless, but Angie’s List can be helpful. Also, don’t exclude Facebook or other social media! Put the names on there and ask if anyone has any experience with these roofing contractors. Use your network: it is the best and most honest source of unfiltered info!

 Technical:

I would be less concerned about the felt paper used and more concerned (especially in Colorado) if they are installing ice and water shield at the eaves and valleys. I would also ensure they are removing and replacing all old flashing with new flashing (don’t fall for the “there’s nothing wrong with it” argument- nails don’t go back in the same holes. ) Also: all vents should be replaced, for the same reason as the flashing.

Here are some more articles I’ve written that discuss the technical side in more depth:

Should Flashing Be Replaced When Installing a New Roof?

Should you add a Ridgevent when you have a new roof installed?

Selecting Shingles for Quality and Price

What will it be like when they replace my roof?

Why is checking out roofing contractors so important, especially when it relates to hail damage?

There is an entire contractor industry that is devoted to chasing hail nationwide. Most companies are based out of Texas and have computer monitoring systems that they pay for that alert them to any and all reports of hail nationwide. I have met many of these contractors and their logistics are quite impressive if you can get past the fact that so many of them are scam artists.

 

Comments

  1. Great article, people do not understand most of the time if there is an estimate that is significantly lower then all your other estimate , that should be a red flag. most of your estimates will be right around each other coming from legitimate companies. you just have to compare apples to oranges to decide 🙂
    http://www.americanbuildergroups.com/

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