Ask for job references in your area that you can call, check the CSLB (CA State License Board, www.cslb.CA.gov), and you can also check with a local supplier like South Coast Shingle/A-1 Building Materials, www.southcoastshingle.com. It’s a good idea to get three comparable bids, and DO NOT TAKE THE LOWEST BID, unless the three are close in price. Make sure the contractor is licensed, properly insured, has been in business for a few years, and has a good reputation. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Frequently Asked Questions
That’s a good question. The biggest difference in the grades of shingles are thickness (weight), and appearance. The lowest level shingle is designed to be functional, and have a low price point. As you move up in grade of shingles, they are thicker (weigh more) and have a more aesthetic look. Besides looking better, the higher grade will last longer. Shingle warranties are prorated, so read the fine print. Generally speaking, warranty claims are minimal, so one should be realistic about what a lifetime warranty is worth.
It depends on a number of factors, i.e., roof size, type of product, pitch of roof, access for equipment, etc. It’s definitely not like buying a car, where you can email several dealers the specs, and take the lowest price knowing you’re getting the same car from all of them. Quite the contrary. For instance, you’ll hope that all the roofers are using the same material—but how would you really know? And what about the workers actually installing the roof? Are they trained employees of the roofer, or men picked up the morning of the job outside the neighborhood home improvement store? Does the roofer carry the necessary insurance, in the event of a worker getting hurt? The worst-case scenarios happen far more often than you might imagine. The simple fact is that the cheapest roofer is NEVER the best roofer. When it comes to pricing a new roof, remember the old adage: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
In our opinion, no more than three. More than that, and you’re not only wasting contractors’ time, you’re also more than likely wind up confused by which one said what.
Anytime you walk on your roof, you’re apt to do some damage, particularly if your roof is tile. We suggest you attach the lights to the fascia with clips from the hardware store so you won’t need to go on the roof at all. Otherwise, you can walk on the roof to install the lights. (Afterwards, be sure to call a roofer to do the necessary repairs.)
Understand that repairing a roof is more of a job than it looks, and it’s dangerous work. In addition, if it leaks when you’re finished, who are you going to call? We don’t recommend it. However, if you’re bound and determined, we’ll give you all the help we can.
Absolutely, yes they should. To verify a roofer’s license, check the State’s website, www.CSLB.CA.gov. For more helpful info, you can also visit the website for the Roofing Contractor’s Association of Southern California, www.rcasocal.org.
They’ll probably have to be removed first. Most are mounted to the existing roofing material. In most cases, you’ll need a licensed electrician to do the job correctly.
Probably. But the definitive word will come from checking with your local government. Your contractor usually takes care of the permit for you, but be sure to ask. If he doesn’t, you’ll have to handle it with the city yourself.
It’s always a good idea to execute any chimney work before doing the roof. All chimney flashing and repairs want to be done before the roofer starts roof repair. You’ll also want to get your chimney mason and your roofer together to coordinate things.