5 Headache-Proof Tips for Repairing Your Roof

tips for repairing your roof

It started with a nail, then one hammer strike, and then another. Before you knew it, you had a headache bigger than Texas and it’s all because your roof needed to be replaced. Then again, a headache caused by the sound of hammering is much preferred to developing one of those big bulgy veins on your forehead because your search for a roofing contractor turned into a headache of its own.

It’s Not Hard to Find Good Roofing Help These Days

Plenty of homeowners can share nightmare stories about their experiences with roofers who showed up, put a new roof on, and then couldn’t be found when the first leak appeared just weeks later. In some cases, they didn’t even bother to put the roof on, they just took a check and were lost to the ether. Both kinds of roofers are the bad kind of roofers that often show up in a neighborhood shortly after a serious storm and begin knocking on doors to try to sell roofing jobs to hapless homeowners.

Fortunately, not every roofer who happens to be nearby and notices your roof has an issue is of this variety, to be fair, but as a homeowner, it’s hard for you to know who the good guys are. 

Before you even consider paying anyone to fix your roof, run through this quick checklist:

  • Ask for a business card with contact information. Verify it.

  • Check the roofer’s reputation online and with the Better Business Bureau

  • Call your city to see if the roofer is registered and bonded.

  • See if your neighbors have used this roofer.

As sad as it is to have to stress this, never take a door-knocking roofer at their word. Always tell them you need to think about your decision and are interviewing other roofers. This gives you buffer time to see what the roofer at your door will do -- are they going to take what they can get and scoot on out of town, or do they call you in a month and try to arrange another meeting? 

Either way, you have your answer about their legitimacy.

Dealing With Legitimate Roofers

Now that you’ve got the fake roofers out of your way, you can start trying to find a roofer who can and will do the job. This can be a tedious process, with many factors to keep in mind. That’s why we came up with these headache-proof tips for your upcoming bang-up roofing job.

  1. Papers, please. Always ask roofers to provide a copy of their insurance and bonds with any roofing bid. If they’re not covered by their own Worker’s Compensation and general liability insurance, you could be on the hook for any injuries at your home.

  2. Don’t sign if they don’t walk. The roof, that is. Sometimes salespeople will come out to bid your roof instead of someone with roofing experience. This is a major stop sign. If the person bidding the roof isn’t up on the roof, they may miss important damage or details that could seriously affect your roofing costs.

  3. Expect guarantees. Whether the roofer is willing to warranty their work for a year or ten years, having any sort of protection in place points to a roofer who cares about their work. As always, get the warranty information in writing, including what it covers (labor and materials or just materials?) and what it doesn’t.

  4. Always ask for references. “Hey, Roofer! Can I see some references?” You’re definitely going to want to call to find out what the roofer is like to work with and even drive by homes they’ve roofed if the homeowners give you permission.

  5. Who’s on the roof? Some roofing companies are quite large, but still use subcontracted teams. The problem with this arrangement is that they have little control over the quality of workmanship or the behavior of the random people on your roof. If you want to know what to expect from a team of roofers, stick with the companies that treat their roofers as employees.

What Does a Roof Cost, Anyway?

The cost of a new roof is highly variable, due to local conditions, the shape of your roof, the roofing materials you choose, how many layers of shingles are already there, and even how difficult it is to access the roof because of landscaping or other impediments.

But, in general, Home Advisor says that the national average for new roof installation is about $7,336. Angie’s List estimates roof replacement costs between $4,900 and $14,100. Basically, you can be sure that your roof will cost somewhere between a mid-grade used car and a brand new subcompact model.

This is why it’s so important to get written bids for the job, since even the methodology and materials needed can vary from roofer to roofer. Roofing is more of an art than a science, and until the shingles are peeled back, it’s impossible to know what kind of complications your roofer will encounter.

How do you pay for something so nebulous? Roofers take credit cards, but you may find that it’s easier and less stressful to just ask your bank for a home equity loan or a HELOC for the purposes of reroofing.

If you plan on doing other work after the roof is fixed, HELOCs are your best bet, since they’re essentially an open credit line. Your standard home equity loan is a one-and-done situation, meaning you’d have to know for sure how much you were going to spend on each project before you got started with the loan.

A Quick Note for Homeowners with Solar Panels

If your home is generating electricity with the sun, you’ll need to call your solar panel company and have your solar panels removed prior to the roofing job. This isn’t something most roofers will do for you, due to the sensitive nature of your equipment.

In addition, if you’re thinking about getting solar panels installed, but your roof’s looking a little shabby, this is the perfect time to have it checked by a roofer. It will save you a ton to re-roof before you have the panels installed versus waiting and having to have them taken down and put back up again along with the roofing job.

Insurance Only Covers Damaged Roofs

You may have already discovered that your insurance won’t cover your roof replacement if it’s simply due to age. They’re there for the big stuff, like wind- or hail-related damage. But great news! Your home may be able to pay for its own roofing job with a home equity loan or HELOC. Our loan experts are standing by waiting to answer your burning roof-financing questions, just contact us here at Home.Loans.