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How to Find the Right Roofer for Your Next Home Repair

by Leonaro Dawson on Oct 2, 2013

Your roof doesn’t need to be replaced often, so when the time has come to invest in a new roof, it’s sensible to take trouble finding the right roofing company. If you don’t already have a trusted roofer in mind, deciding on one for such a big job can be daunting. Don’t let uncertainty about who to use lead to inaction on your part: that can mean more work and expense.

How do you go about choosing?

The usual method of going by personal recommendation from someone you trust is often the first and safest option. Companies don’t like to let down someone who has personally given them a good report. If a company has been recommended to you by a friend, then you shouldn’t forget to mention that when you are hiring them.

Other than that, start with the internet. Use comparison and review websites, leading on to checking out the individual company websites. Make a shortlist of three companies. Then, call the shortlisted companies to get a feel for their character and ethos, as well as their charges.

Local conditions

The right company should be familiar with the area where you live, as well as understanding the construction of your house. In some places, climatic conditions call for particular care. In Hawaii, buildings have to stand up to extremes of heat and heavy rainfall, so roofs need to be particularly tough.

So-called ‘cool roofs’ are a popular concept in these extreme weather conditions. Cool roofs come in various versions, using different materials, but the basic idea is that the roof is coated with a layer of material which will reflect the heat and also provide extra protection against water penetration and storm damage.

These roofs save fuel, reducing expense and emissions, as air conditioning is used much less in buildings with cool roofs. In New York City, it’s estimated that coating a roof with reflective materials can save householders up to 30% on their bills. Not only that, but the technology cuts down on the need for on-going repairs and maintenance.

Try to go local

When searching for roofing contractors in Hawaii, for instance, it’s good to look for one which is ‘kama’aina’, or in other words, based in Hawaii. The word’s literal meaning is ‘a child of the land’ but it doesn’t have any racial overtones, as it’s applied to anyone who resides in the state; even to people who have lived there in the past.

Discounts are often available for kama’ainas, and efforts are made to attract former residents to return to their roots on Hawaii. Supporting a kama’aina business means supporting local enterprise and local people, and it also means that the people you deal with are going to be familiar with local conditions. So a kama'aina builder or roofer is likely to be able to give sound advice on the type of cool roof that’s most suitable for your home or your business in the climatic conditions that exist locally.

Choose a roofer you can talk to

There are plenty of good companies around, but even when you are looking at something as practical as renewing a roof, you shouldn’t just go on price and quality. You also have to look at the whole issue of communication. You should choose a company that does good work at a good price. But you should also choose one that explains things so that you understand exactly what’s going on, and don’t feel embarrassed about asking whatever questions you need to without being made to feel stupid.

Charles Talley is a home repairman. He loves to help homeowners live in safe, happy homes and frequently shares his best tips on home repair blogs.

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