Home Improvement Special Section: Local roofer says spring is time to plan for repairs

Published on Thu, Mar 17, 2011 by By Tara Nelson

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The National Contracting Roofing Association reports that four out of every 10 homes have roofing problems that are not noticeable to the eye.

According to one local roofing expert, spring is the best time to begin considering roof and gutter repairs or start planning for a complete roof replacement.

Chuck Elashkar, owner of Rainshield Roofing in Ferndale, said as the season heats up, roofing repair businesses tend to book their logs with projects and, in order to ensure availability, homeowners should start consulting with contractors now.

“It’s the time of year when the weather is on your side, and most reputable companies will have a backlog of projects to it’s good idea to give them a call now.”

According to statistics from the National Contracting Roofing Association (NCRA), four out of every 10 homes have roofing problems that are not visible to the eye. Water can also damage decks and adversely affect seam performance. Poor maintenance can cut the lifespan of a roof by as much as 50 percent, he added.

Elashkar said while roofing repairs are often the largest repair cost to a homeowner, it is important to ensure the job is done correctly without cutting corners. This, he said, is vitally important to achieving long-term savings from energy efficiency and prevention of toxic mold.

Elashkar said he’s noticed a trend by some contractors offering below-market estimates in an attempt to undercut more reputable companies, but usually those offers are too good to be true.

“We know homeowners have concerns about cost and that the economy is bad,” he said. “But now is the perfect time to do business with a reputable company because they’re also bidding with a competitive price structure. We’re bidding our work at about 20 percent less than we have during the past few years.”

Elashkar offers the following tips when considering an investment in roofing or gutter replacement:

1. Always look for a contractor who will provide you with thorough advice and information on the products that will be used for the project. A contractor who takes the time to prepare a professional proposal is more likely to do a quality job.

2. Beware of bids that are noticeably lower. The difference may be because of the quality of the materials, the lack of experience of the crew, or details missed in the initial bid.

It could also mean the contractor is not covering all legitimate business costs, such as insurance, or paying bills on time.

3. Obtain a written contract and make sure the terms are understood. If there are any change orders, put them in writing.

4. Be wary of contractors who ask you to pick up the building permit. There could be reasons they don’t want to show themselves.

5. Check with the Better Business Bureau (206/431-2222) to see if the company is in good standing.

6. Request the contractor show you copies of the bond and insurance coverage.

7. Check with the Contractor’s License Board (800/647-0982) to see if there are any liens against the contractor.

8. Call their suppliers to find out about their financial status.

9. Make sure they provide customer references.

10. Ask what inconveniences might arise from the job.

11. Look over your proposal and makes sure you understand what will be done to your home.

12. A good contractor will ask for payment upon completion and only when you have looked at the roof and are satisfied.

13. Be cautious about paying for work not yet completed.

14. Make sure there are written warranties on the proposal.

15. Remember when hiring an unlicensed contractor, it places you in the position of being liable for unpaid taxes and workers, who, if unpaid, can place a lien on your property to recover their expenses. You will also be responsible for medical and time-loss costs of employees who are injured while working on the project.

About Rainshield

Rainshield offers a variety of roofing (composition, cedar, metal, torch down, and pvc), windows and doors, siding, decking, gutter and handyman services, as well as hauling and removal services for yard, trash and construction waste.
Rainshield Roofing and Handyman Services is located at 6067 Portal Way in Ferndale and can be reached by calling 734-4645.