What to Look for in a Roofing Contractor

roofing contractor on roof

A roof is one of the most important parts of your home. Your roof is your first line of defense against weather elements, and it’s one of the most expensive parts of your home to replace. So, how do you find the right roofing contractor to replace your roof? In this article, we’ll touch on eight things you should be looking for in a roofing contractor to ensure you get the highest quality project for the best price.

Does the roofing contractor have the proper licensing?

The first and most important thing you should look for is a Maryland Home Improvement License. The state of Maryland requires all contractors working on a residential home to carry an MHIC License in good standing. This is easy to verify, even if you are at the beginning of your roofing contractor research journey.

All contractors must display their MHIC number on all their marketing materials, vehicles, estimates, and websites. For the purposes of starting your research on who to choose for your roofing project, a roofing contractor’s website is going to be the quickest and easiest way to find their MHIC number. Once you find the company’s MHIC number, verify the license is in good standing by visiting the Maryland Home Improvement Commissions License Search.

Get Your Estimate in Writing

Once you narrow down your search to a few contractors, and we recommend at least three, ensure the roofing contractor will provide you with a written estimate that includes the following. A detailed estimate shows that the roofing company is honest, transparent, and is willing to give you all of the information you need to hold them accountable for the work you are about to spend your hard-earned money on.

  • Scope of Work – A full scope of the work to be completed
  • List of Materials – A complete list of all materials being used for your project
  • Variable Costs – Any variable costs that may come up on your project
  • Project Timeline – The dates your project will start and finish.
  • Project Price – The price of your project, including labor, materials, and variable costs.
  • Payment – How payment will be handled/structured to pay for the project.
  • Warranty and Guarantee – Information regarding the warranty on workmanship and materials used in your project.

Does the roofing contractor have the proper credentials?

To ensure you’re picking the best company for the job, verify the roofing contractor’s credentials before you hire them for a project. Places to verify credentials include the following.

  • Better Business Bureau Rating – Is the company accredited by the Better Business Bureau? What is their rating? An A+ rating is what you’re looking for.
  • Roofing Contractor Reviews on Google – Google Reviews are one of the most popular places for previous customers to leave a review of their experience with a business. This is a great way to get real insight into how a business treats its customers and how good the quality of their work is.
  • Roofing Contractor Reviews on Facebook – Facebook Reviews have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Many customers will look to social media for reviews because of the ease of leaving reviews on those channels.
  • Roofing Contractor Reviews on Angi and Home Advisor – Sites like Angi and HomeAdvisor share client reviews and can be another good source to confirm the roofing contractor you selected has the right credentials to do the best job for you.

Does the roofing contractor have a manufacturer installation certification?

Make sure the contractor is a certified installer with a specific roofing manufacturer, such as a CertainTeed Shingle Master Installer. Knowing you’re using a certified installer gives you peace of mind that the roofing contractor has passed the roofing manufacturer’s background checks and has gone through rigorous training to install the manufacturer’s roofing products 100% to the manufacturer’s specifications. Having this certification gives the roofing contractor the ability to offer extended warranties through the manufacturer. CertainTeed Shingle Master Installers, like Premier Roofing, can offer an extended warranty of 50 years with no prorating!

Does the roofing contractor offer references on previous projects?

Nothing beats the good old-fashioned way of checking out a contractor’s credibility. Ask your contractor if they will give you references and some addresses of projects they’ve done nearby so that you can go and see them for yourself.

Extra brownie points go to roofing contractors who ask their previous customers if it’s okay for you to drive by and look at their project or contact them for a reference. This shows the contractor respects their customer’s privacy and has built strong relationships with their past customers.

Does the roofing contractor personally stand behind their work?

Manufacturer warranties are excellent these days. However, the contractor should stand behind their work with a workmanship warranty backed by them personally. Maryland requires all roofing contractors to offer a minimum two-year workmanship warranty, but a good contractor will offer more than that. A five, eight, or 10-year workmanship warranty is what you should look for.

Bonus Tip #1 – Transferable Roof Warranty

Ask the contractor if their workmanship warranty transfers. Often contractors will charge a large fee to transfer their warranty if you sell your home. Premier Roofing offers a 10-year transferable workmanship warranty, so you and the next owner of your home are covered.

Does the roofing contractor have insurance?

Ensure the roofing contractor you select has the proper insurance. In Maryland, roofing contractors are required to carry insurance to help ensure their MHIC license is in good standing. You always want to verify how much insurance coverage the roofing contractor has to ensure their insurance is enough to pay for any damages to your home, should they occur.

Meet the Roofing Contractor in Person

Meet the roofing contractors you are considering in person before you decide to give them your project. You want to be able to get answers to your questions and get a good feel for who you are going to be dealing with. It’s also important to confirm how the roofing contractor will inspect your roof and attic space to develop the best plan for your home’s roofing system. A good roofing contractor will go up on your roof to thoroughly inspect your roof, gutters, soffit, chimney, and structure on the outside and go into your attic to inspect the roof’s internal structure and ventilation.

Bonus Tip #2 – Check the Vehicle

A roofing contractor that arrives in vehicles with their company name, logo, contact information, and MHIC#, shows they take pride in their company and work. Be wary of what we call the “Chuck in a Truck.” Contractors that arrive in unmarked vehicles can be a warning sign that you need to do more research.

These are the most important things to consider when choosing the right roofing contractor to work on your home.

At Premier Roofing, we love questions about roofing, seamless gutters, professional siding, and storm damage! Feel free to contact us with all your questions and to request a free roofing inspection. Nothing makes us happier than a customer who has done their research and is ready to ask us the hard questions. Call us at 443-713-6002 with your questions!

How do I know when it’s time to replace my roof?

residential roof and gutter

How Do You Know When It’s Time to Replace Your Roof?

A roof, if properly installed, should last its labeled life expectancy, and it should not need to be replaced until it has reached the end of that predicted lifespan. Roofing systems’ lifespans can vary wildly depending on the type of shingled roof system you have and can range from 20 years all the way up to 50 years!

So how do you know when it’s time to replace your roof?

If you were the last person to have a roof installed on your home, then this one should be a breeze. Just pull out your warranty information and check the warranty length on your roof system. Easy, right? In theory, yes… but only if you have owned your home for 20 or 30 years, have impeccable file organization, and were the one that had your last roof installed.

For many home buyers, the roof age can be difficult to determine if the house isn’t a relatively new build. So, how do you know if your roof has come to the end of its lifespan? Here are a few of the most obvious tell-tale signs of roof damage and aging that you can look for right now to help you determine if it might be time to replace your roof.

Five Signs That Might Mean It’s Time to Replace Your Roof

  • Curling Shingles – Age and weather cause the asphalt in the shingles to break down and weaken over time. Changes in temperature over the years can also cause shingles to become brittle, and the corners of the shingles will begin to lift. This is called “curling” or “cupping.” This damage is often paired with cracking and/or brittle shingles.
  • Granules in Gutters – As your shingles age, the protective granules begin to come off. While this can happen right after a new roof is installed, it usually is considered a great indicator of when your roof is at the end of its life. If you see an excessive amount of granules in your gutters or on the ground where your downspouts drop, then it may be time to replace your roof.
  • Moss Growth or Algae Stains – These days, shingles come with copper oxide built into the asphalt granules to prevent moss from growing and to prevent tree algae from staining the roof. As your shingles get older, the copper oxide becomes less effective, and mosses and algae will appear. While a small amount isn’t necessarily a reason to replace your roof, an excess is a sign that your roof may need to be replaced in the near future.
  • Blistering – Blistering occurs at the end of shingle life and is caused by the harsh weather beating down on shingles that have poor granule adhesion due to age. Blisters look like “pits” in your shingles. These can be small (many spots the size of a pen tip) or fairly large (the size of a dime or nickel).
  • Missing Shingles or a Leaking Roof – These two things are paired together because they often go hand in hand. Shingles are designed to handle heavy winds. They vary in strength between 60 mph to 130 mph wind resistance while they are still in their usable life. As the shingles get older and weaker, they are prone to blow off which usually results in a leaky roof. If only one or two are missing, it may not mean your roof is toast, but at the very least, it definitely warrants a thorough inspection by a roofing professional to gauge the condition of the roof. If multiple shingles are missing, then this probably means it’s time for a fresh new roof.

These issues can sometimes be seen from the ground depending on your roof design, but they can often be out of sight or overlooked until it’s too late. Having regular roof inspections from a professional roofer is essential for maintaining the health of your roof through its lifespan. The main goal is to get your roof replaced once it has lived a full healthy life but before it begins to leak into your home, causing further damage to your roof decking and your home’s interior.

Premier Roofing is here to help ensure your roof gets the attention it needs before it causes damage to your home. Call us today at 443-713-6002 for a free inspection and estimate!

Is winter a good time to repair or replace your roof?

roof and blue sky

Is Winter a Good Time to Repair or Replace Your Roof?

You may have heard that you absolutely cannot have your roof installed or repaired in the cold winter months, but is this popular (sub)urban legend actually true? Roofing contractors will overwhelmingly agree that this is a total myth, but with a couple of caveats, of course.

Winter in some regions of the country is very harsh, with constant single-digit temperatures and near-constant snow on the ground and roofs. Now, obviously, you can’t put a new roof on a snow-covered house, and we definitely don’t recommend installing a new roof when temperatures are below freezing for safety and quality reasons. But, luckily for those of us in the Mid-Atlantic region, we generally have much milder winters. Many of our winter days are well above freezing, and if you’re someone who loves a good snowfall as I do, sadly, we don’t get as much snow as we used to.

Now, we do not mean to imply that winter weather in the Mid-Atlantic area does not impact our ability to start and complete roof repairs or replacements. As we said, there are a few caveats.

  1. As we stated earlier, we cannot install if there is snow (or ice) on the roof for safety reasons, we would all slide right off!
  2. We do need to work in temperatures that are above 35 degrees Fahrenheit so that we can properly install the new shingles without them freezing and cracking. This may limit the days we can install if we have an unusually cold or harsh winter.
  3. One last caveat is that we only recommend installing architectural shingles in the winter and not installing traditional 3-tab shingles until warmer weather arrives. The design of architectural shingles and their beefy 130 mph wind rating will keep them right where we put them during a storm until the spring heat comes in to fully seal them. Installing shingles with the “tab” design requires warmer temperatures to seal them, and when paired with their much lower 60 mph wind rating, they pose a risk for blow-offs during a winter storm or high winds.

So after all of those caveats, why on Earth is winter a good time for a roof replacement?

The extremely cold weather actually can limit the number of days we can install a roof, and when that is combined with the myth that we can’t install roofs in the winter, demand for roofing services really slows down in the winter “off-season.”

The winter off-season slowdown can be very beneficial to you due to the shorter turnaround time on the services of local roofing contractors! During the warmer months, when roofing client demand is much higher, it can be a few weeks or more before contractors can get to your non-emergency roof project. In the colder months, client demand is lower, and contractors can usually get to your project much more quickly.

The slowdown in the winter off-season also means that many roofers are prepared to give some heavy discounts on roof replacements to keep busy. It’s usually the best time to get an excellent roof system installed at the best price you will find all year long.

If you’re considering a roof replacement, but are planning to wait until spring, give Premier Roofing a call at 443-713-6002 to see how much you can save on your roof installation this winter!

What Can Go Wrong If Your Roof Is Having Issues?

damaged roof

What Can Go Wrong If Your Roof Is Having Issues?

What is your home’s first line of defense against the extremely problematic issue of water intrusion? Many folks may say the foundation, sump pump, or gutters, but it’s actually your roof!

Your roof is usually the first thing that the rain touches as it starts to fall. If your roof is having issues, not only could it rain inside your home, but it could quickly turn into an indoor downpour!

You may not realize just how much water your roof usually protects your house from, so let’s put it in perspective. A small, 1,000-square-foot roof during a 1” rainfall event is going to have approximately 623 gallons of water running over it during the course of the storm! If you have a large roof or a larger storm, then even more water will be flowing over your house’s roofing system. That’s a lot of water that your roof is protecting you from! If you have roof damage that leads to a leak, those hundreds of gallons of water could be very problematic if they start flowing into your home instead of over it.

So what’s the big deal if your roof has a little (or not so little) leak?

Five Common Issues a Leaking Roof Can Cause

  • Rotted Roof Decking – If part of your roof is damaged, the first thing that will usually happen is the roof decking (the plywood portion of your roof) will get saturated with water and eventually begin to rot. Once the plywood rots, it begins to sag, creating a dip in the roof which gathers sitting water. Over time, that rot and sitting water will most likely make its way inside your attic space. Not only can that create a host of issues in your attic space and below, but the rotted plywood will also have to be removed and replaced. And, let’s face it, the price of wood these days just isn’t what it used to be. Damage to your roof decking can add some extra cost to your roof repairs, sometimes a hefty amount of extra costs if multiple sheets of plywood are damaged, and most of us would love to avoid extra costs when we can. If you become aware of an active leak and are able to identify its location in your attic space, place a bucket or some kind of container under the drip to catch the water and prevent further damage until you can have a local, trusted roofing contractor out to properly fix your roof.
  • Rotted Trusses – If the roof damage has allowed the water to get past the roof decking, there is a good chance that it is going to start damaging your roof trusses. The trusses are the vertical beams that make up the triangular structure of your roof. If these begin to rot, then it becomes a hazardous structural issue for the roof and is a much more expensive fix. And, as we said before, we certainly want to avoid putting out any more money than necessary for, well, anything.
  • Insulation Damage – If your roof is leaking and the water has made its way through the plywood roof decking (hopefully missing your roof trusses) then the next victim of the leak is your home’s insulation. When insulation becomes wet, it turns a brownish color and clumps together. This causes the insulation not to perform properly to keep your home, well insulated. If the water has saturated the insulation enough, then it will have to be removed and replaced in the affected area once your leak is resolved but by that time the water has probably made its way even farther into your home.
  • Ceiling Damage – When the water has made its way past your insulation its next stop is your ceiling. You will notice brown spots, water dripping, or in more severe cases mold growth on your ceiling drywall. At a minimum, the damaged area will have to be dried, sealed, and painted, but if mold has begun to grow or the water has broken through the ceiling, then the drywall will need to be cut out and replaced. Again, more money is down the drain that we don’t want to have to spend. The good news about water stains on your ceiling is that in most cases we have a nice accessible space (the attic) to see if any mold or mildew has begun growing above the affected area. If the water continues to make its way downhill and drips down behind the walls, it can be a bit more expensive to take a peek behind the wall to make sure mold and mildew haven’t formed.
  • Wall Damage – Water damage to your walls usually looks the same as water damage to the ceiling. If it is caught early enough, then it can usually just be sealed and painted. The real pain comes in when the leak has been ongoing without being noticed or fixed for an extended period. Unlike the ceiling where the back of the drywall can be seen from the open attic space, a more exploratory approach has to be taken to inspect behind your walls. The drywall will have to be removed in order to check for mold or mildew damage and then replaced after it has been treated or found to be free and clear of mold/mildew.

While these five signs of water damage are things you can look out for inside your home, we always recommend being as proactive as possible by regularly taking a look at your roof for these damage warning signs before they grow to become big problems. A routine visual inspection can be as simple as just taking a look up at your roof when you’re out cutting the grass or remembering to glance up from the driveway when you’re getting home from the kids’ sports practice to see if you notice any signs of roof damage.

If you do notice any areas of concern from the ground, or if you think you may have an issue, contact a trusted, local roofing contractor as soon as you can to schedule a thorough inspection of your roof.

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