How do you evaluate a roofing contractor?

As a professional, state of the art roofing company, we take our roles very seriously when it comes to the installation of a new roof on your home. However, not everyone in our marketplace is up to the task. Here are some things to keep in mind while you are evaluating your roofing contractor options:

1. Insured A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance to protect you in the event of a roofing accident

2. Workman’s Comp Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, the homeowner might be held liable for all costs unless the employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance

3. Builders License This may seem obvious, but its wise to verify the contractor is a licensed builder. You can verify a contractor’s license by searching by their business name at the State of Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs.

4. Products offered Do they offer you 3 tab shingles (not good)? Are they using a specific hip and ridge, or 3 tab shingles for ridge (giant red flag)? Are they offering extended warranties (if not, stay away)?

5. Manufacturer Certified A certification from the manufacturer will show a higher degree of education as well as trust from the manufacturer that the contractor can properly install their product.

6. Professional Attire and Demeanor Lastly, your roofing contractor will be engaging with you and your property. How they present themselves says a lot about how they will present themselves while on your property and in your presence. A new roof is a big ticket item of high importance, don’t waste your time with someone who can’t take the job as seriously as it deserves.

Here in Michigan, what should we be looking for?

What Is An “Ice-Dam”?
An ice dam is a build-up of ice at the eave that may eventually back-up water under the shingles. When snow on the roof melts, the water travels down the roof and freezes when it passes over the unheated eave. As the water continues to flow, it becomes blocked by the newly formed “ice dam”. This water then freezes and the cycle continues. As more water freezes, it begins to back-up under the shingle tabs. As this continues further up the roof, the warmer attic space may prevent the water from freezing and this water may enter the house.

What Precautions Need To Be Taken?

There are 2 primary preventative measures that should be taken:

The first is to install a leak barrier such as StomGuard® or Weather Watch® Leak Barrier. These membranes help to prevent water from entering through the roof deck. Ice dam protection is require by most codes in northern climates and should be installed a min. of 24” beyond the “warm wall” of the house. Additionally, for added protection, leak barriers should be installed.

The second measure is proper ventilation. Heat, moisture and condensation build up under roof decks.
• GAF recommends a continuous, balanced soffit and ridge system that meets the FHA/HUD-1/300 rule that calls for 1 sq. /ft. of net free ventilation per 300 sq. ft. of attic floor space. Adequate ventilation can lower the temperature of the attic, which will reduce the melting of snow of the roof surface.

Other Considerations:

The latent damage from ice dams may not be immediately evident. For example, insulation could be getting wet and over time will lose its ability to perform properly. In addition, mold may begin to grow in the moist attic environment. Although ice dams are more prevalent at the eaves, they can (and do) occur anywhere on the roof, especially where there is a change in roof surface temperatures. These areas need special consideration by roofers, specifiers or builders.