5 smart tips for choosing the best metal roofing contractor
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With a hot U.S. housing market and still-favorable interest rates, the Metal Roofing Alliance (MRA) is predicting a heavier-than-usual demand for qualified metal roofing installers and contractors for spring 2018.
Planned renovations and budgets overall are on the rise. According to Builder Magazine, more than half of homeowners are planning to spend money on renovations this year and those planning to spend $35,000 or more doubled from 2017.
Even with the flurry of activity predicted for this spring, MRA cautions homeowners to take their time and do their homework to vet contractors thoroughly before embarking on any re-roofing job. Inexperienced installers may prey on homeowners’ impatience and the high market demand, using it as a means to overcharge or push sub-quality services and materials. Inadvertently or not, rushed contractors under pressure or anxious to get to their next job may cut corners or overlook key details, so it’s up to homeowners to make sure the job is done to their satisfaction each step of the way.
“No matter what the material, a new roof is a major investment, so homeowners will want to take the necessary steps now to ensure their home is protected, comfortable and will perform reliably for many years to come,” said MRA’s Executive Director Renee Ramey.
For homeowners seeking a quality metal roofing installer, MRA offers these tips:
Don’t assume all roofers are equally skilled
Some contractors push homeowners towards a specific roofing material, not because it's the best or most appropriate for their home, but because it may simply be the option with which the installer is most familiar. Make sure your installer is properly trained, experienced and skilled in installing metal roofing. Ideally, look for a roofer that has been in business for at least five years; roofers who don't do quality work usually don't last that long.
Reputable installers are typically involved in the industry and are committed to keeping abreast of the latest trends and techniques. Check to see if the prospective installer is a member of MRA and other reputable trade alliances. Contact references and ask if they were satisfied with the work, if the process went smoothly, if the installers were careful and courteous and they did what they promised, including sticking to the estimate and change orders. Also, drive by a few recent job locations so you can check out the work. While pictures may be helpful, there’s nothing like seeing how a roof looks first-hand.
Do your homework
Metal roofing offers hundreds of different options, material types, finishes and installation techniques. Request the highest-rated, the longest-lasting material you can afford and always research your installer's product recommendations to verify it's what you want for your home.
Make sure that installers are licensed, insured and carry workers’ compensation coverage. Ask for proof-of-insurance certificates and the insurance agent’s name. A reputable installer won’t hesitate to provide you with that information. Don’t pay the full amount of a job upfront; ideally, pay one-third upfront for materials, and the remainder when roofing and clean up are completed to your satisfaction. Also evaluate the warranty to make sure it covers not only materials and finishes, but also leaks, flashing failures and other labor-related defects.
Putting on a new roof is only part of the equation. Replacing eaves, flashing, pipe boots and roof jacks are less complicated when re-roofing, so have it done at the same time if needed. Also, your contractor or HVAC provider should verify proper attic ventilation. Inadequate ventilation can cause significant damage, high utility bills and can lead to serious safety issues.
“Metal roofs are one of the best and most reliable ways to protect your home for the long run,” said Ramey. “Invest some time and effort upfront before your re-roofing project begins, and it will pay off with many years of loving your home’s roof.”
Read more about roofing products for your home.