There’s nothing as disheartening as relaxing in the comfort of your own home only to have water drip on your head from a leaky roof.
The worry of the unknown may send you into emergency mode, causing you to make rash decisions like rushing to find the first or cheapest new roof option.
However, hastiness may lead to making two of the most expensive mistakes in the process: choosing the wrong contractor and choosing the wrong roofing materials.
Here’s how to avoid those mistakes.
Choose the right person for the job
While you love your home and see it as your biggest personal investment, home repair may not be your thing. Many contractors take advantage of this by charging unreasonable prices and doing shoddy work. In fact, the Better Business Bureau in northeast Ohio reports hundreds of fraud claims each year from consumers about roofing companies.
In 2015, the BBB warned to steer clear of a few roofing and home repair companies it said failed to deliver products, produced shoddy workmanship, and failed to complete projects, costing consumers almost $95,000.
To avoid bad companies, the BBB offers the following tips:
· Always check with the BBB before doing business with any company, to ensure it is reputable.
· Verify the contractor is properly licensed, bonded and has met insurance requirements in compliance with state regulations.
· Obtain at least three written estimates or bids for the work you are planning.
· Never sign a blank or partially completed contract.
· Never pay for the entire job in advance or pay cash to a salesperson or contractor. Typically, a down payment of 30 to 50 percent of the total contract price is made before the work is started, with remaining payments to be made after completion of each phase of work. Final payment should not be made until work is completed, and you have inspected the work.
· Pay with a credit card. That way, you can dispute the charges under the Fair Credit Billing Act, should the contractor fail to complete the job. Disputes must be filed within 60 days after the first bill containing the disputed charge.
A contractor has to meet strict criteria every year to maintain certifications, said Kevin Campopiano of Campopiano Roofing in Cleveland.
"This criteria is usually in categories like training, customer service, and installation excellence," he said. "By using a certified contractor you can assure yourself that you are using a high-quality contractor who is in the top 2 percent of their industry.”
Know not all labor and products are equal
Just like any product on the market, roofing materials and labor vary in quality. What you need depends on the slope and complexity of your roof, the style of your home and even the climate. A reputable roofing company will know which products are best for your particular home.
“While the cheapest option may sound good right now, getting a high-quality roof that fits your home and climate from a reputable company will save you thousands in the long run,” Campopiano said.
With multiple quotes, you can choose a contractor you like, even if the bid is not the lowest price. In that case, don't be afraid to negotiate, as there may be something a contractor can take out of a quote to match exactly what you need.
"It doesn’t hurt to ask because, in the end, if you don’t ask and end up with a contractor who you really were not comfortable with, you could really end up with a bad experience," Campopiano said.
For more information on roofing or to get a free estimate, visit camporoof.com.