What should I look for in a roofing company in the Kirkland or Seattle area?

What should I look for in a roofing company in the Kirkland or Seattle area?

What should I look for in a roofing company in the Kirkland or Seattle area?

The Pacific Northwest, and the Puget Sound / Seattle area in particular, has one big challenge when it comes to roofs: Rain. Sure, there are places in the world that get more rain, but on the continental United States, it’s considered one of the wettest. Perhaps more important than that level of actual precipitation is how “damp” it is. Seattle is green because of the rain and because it stays wet often for a long time. “Staying wet” are not good words when it comes to the average roof, and this brings me to a central point relating to selecting a roofing company: Experience with protecting a roof investment from the elements is essential:

  1. Experience with damp weather installation. Installing a roof in the Southwest is a different job than installing one in Kirkland, Washington. If your roofer has installed a hundred roofs in Albuquerque – where damp is certainly not a problem – that experience might not completely transfer to installing a roof here in Seattle. So, the first question you need to ask is, how many have they installed locally?

  2. Experience with similar types of roofing materials. Over the past several decades, countless new types of roofing materials have emerged onto the market. There are what looks like a shake roof but what is actually a 100% What should I look for in a roofing company in the Kirkland or Seattle area?synthetic material. When these materials first emerged onto the market, they were generally a little more expensive than their tradition, real-wood alternatives, but they offered advantages: a predictable behavior over a longer product life time, and easier and consistent installation. But, they take a slightly different type of skill to install. They might look like the real thing from the vantage point of your driveway but underneath, they have a structure to support better fastening and security. Your roofer should know how to use this new type of roofing material.

  3. Pictures of previous work. A picture paints a thousand words, as they say, and no where is it more true than on the roof of a house. Most roofing installation and replacement companies will have taken photos of recent jobs they’ve worked on, so this is a good place to start. Check out their website for that, and imagine yourself under one of those roofs.

  4. References. To this day, many people still rely on their own personal contacts – you are more likely to trust a friend’s recommendation than a coupon in the mail – than anything else, but if you don’t know of one, ask for the number of some references. You don’t need to call all three references from four different roofing companies, but once you have narrowed it down to your favorite candidate, make a few phone calls just to be sure. Most roof installing companies will have some preferred customers you can call.

  5. The right staff for the job. Some roof companies are seasonal. That is, they essentially let their staff go during the winter or other off-peak times, then round them up again – or new staff entirely – when the new busy season arrives. The latter type of organization might not always have the most experienced staff. And mike everything else, experience does a better job, all else being equal. So, you might ask the question, do you keep your staff all year round?

  6. Capable of installing a new roof in the dead of winter? Installing a new roof in the middle of winter is a special task unto itself. While the old roof is off and the new roof is not yet in place, your house interior is vulnerable to the weather and everything else. In the middle of summer, even if it rains a little, everything can dry out quickly and you can install the new roof with confidence. No so in the middle of January in Seattle, or during the famous ‘wet season’ in October and November. You need a roofing company that know how to – and has the equipment for – a bad weather installation. That involves materials, tools and the right experience. The experience includes being able to do the roof possibly in sections. That means they do not have to cover the entire roof for all of the project duration. It’s quite fascinating to see this type of installation in progress. You see the left half of your house with the new roof, the right side with the old, and people furiously working under a tarp in the middle!
    Some roofing companies specialize in mid-winter installations. They’ve learned that working off-season offers them a few advantages, including helping them retain their valuable staff in the off-season without having them also sit idle for the entire winter. And because of the lessened demand, you might get more affordable pricing. Don’t be afraid to ask ahead of time if there is any type of ‘winter discount’.

  7. Fully licenses, bonded and insured. It might sound corny to check this, but if an uninsured worker slips off your roof, they can come back later and sue you for untold sums of money. Make sure the company your hire is fully up to snuff when it comes to state licensing and insurance. Workers fall off roofs every year in the state of Washington, so make sure you are not caught in a corner on this one because you wanted to save a few dollars with a too-cheap-to-be-believed roofing vendor. In fact, every roofer (and many other types of business owners) must display their WA state license on their website if they have one. With that, you can easily do a search to see that they have their paperwork in order. It’s easy, and you can do it from the safety of your kitchen table.

  8. A detailed quote, including the specific materials to be used. There is quite a difference in quality – and price – between the cheapest and the most expensive materials you can replace your roof with. If specific roofing materials are not identified on the contract, you are presenting your roofer with an invitation to use the cheapest. Agree on materials, get in into the contract, and ask your roofer why that is the best choice for your roof. Personally, my recommendation is to use long-life, synthetic materials. They are now more fire-resistant, environmentally friendly, as well as having the potential to outlive you.

More next week!

  • twitter
  • fb
  • stumble
  • linkedin
  • reddit
  • email