What goes into the project of replacing my roof? I live in a Bothell rambler.

What goes into the project of replacing my roof? I live in a Bothell rambler.

What goes into the project of replacing my roof? I live in a Bothell rambler.

Most homes in Bothell are fairly new. Those that are old are more like rural dwellings because Bothell was, for the longest time, a country town of sorts. It was not an expensive area, and houses had a disproportionate amount of land, certainly compared to further south inside the Seattle area. Today, land is at a premium price, so new homes tend to be bigger and also sit on an ever decreasing piece of land. Why is this important? Well, firstly, many of those older homes were relatively cheaply made. The infrastructure under the roof tiles did not have to meet today’s more stringent building codes, and this means it is often wise to replace what’s under those tiles, too. Besides, the whole house is older and nothing lasts forever. It might be time to replace at least some of the rafters, and likely the plywood under the waterproof sheets.

Always begin with a roofing company inspection

Before you take on the project, get a complete roof inspection. They are often free, because they can lead to business for a potential roofing company. Even if they do charge a small fee, it is often discounted later from the job cost should you go with that roofing company for the work.

Because of that likelihood of new business, a roofing company will find every problem there might be with your roof. That is, because they may be getting the business of fixing anything they find, the incentive is there to find it.

Even if you have no immediate plans, or are not worried in any way, a roof inspection is always a good thing to do every two or three years. Even when the roof is just a few years old, its first inspection after a new installation is one of the most important. If mistakes were made during the installation, it may take a year or two for them to manifest themselves. Two years after the installation is the perfect time for an inspection.

Understand the local covenants before ordering or doing any work

Many people are not aware of their neighborhood’s covenants. They get their house painted, a new fence installed or a roof replaced, only to discover a knock on the door by a neighbor who is pushing for the roof to be replaced again, or the house to be repainted.

It’s good for the value of your home when it fits into the neighborhood. Covenants are agreements meant to benefit all neighbors’ properties. Some time in the future, you will want to sell your home, perhaps. How the other homes in your neighborhood look will affect the sale of your home. While mathematical formulas often dictate how real estate agents calculate the value of your house on the market, how it and your neighbors’ homes look can affect how fast it sells, how many offers you get to receive on it, and how fast and reliably it will close. Covenants are there for your protection.

Check that your roofer is fully qualified

Some say that the actual work involved in replacing the average roof is not complex. It’s hard work, all right, but it’s not rocket science. Still, any job can be messed up, and when a roofing project is messed up, it can lead to serious damage throughout the house, not just the roof. Your roofer must be experienced personally. It’s rare that a single person operates alone in a roofing company. Most home owners need to know that the roof will be replaced in a day or two and for that promise, most homes requires perhaps sixty to hundred person hours to complete the job. If a sole person is doing it, it may take a week or more. To get it done in a couple of days means the team must be three people or more, usually. Still, it does depend on the house. A very small house might be completed quickly by one person. Whoever you choose, be aware that they must have experience. Ask for and check their references. Look at Yelp, Houss and Google reviews. Angie’s List and other sources will also help. Any business that’s been around for a number of years will have reviews online. Take the time to peruse those before you settle on one roofer in particular.

Is your roofer licensed, bonded and insured?

It might seem unimportant whether a contractor working on your home is insured or not. The problem is, if they do have an accident – let’s say they fall off your roof and end up in a wheelchair for the rest of their days – in Washington State they do have the right to sue you because it was on your property they were injured. Roofing is one of the most dangerous jobs in the country, not surprisingly, so it is in your own interests to hire someone who is fully insured. Then, should the unthinkable happen, their insurance with the state is what they have to draw upon. Any contractor that has such full insurance may charge slightly more for their work, but it is worth it if you own your home and want to keep it that way.

Licensed means that they have a license to do that actual work in the state. For most service type operators, they must display prominently their state license number on all materials provided to the consumer on the company’s behalf. That means you can find their license on their website, their business cards, work estimates, etc.. That license number can be used to look them up on the Washington State’s department of licensing website and get the scoop.

Help your roofer to be successful by getting out of his or her way

Knowing that there are no kids wandering around the outside of the house while the roofing work is in progress is very helpful for the roofer. A simple tile might be accidentally dropped during the installation of the new roof, and it doesn’t bear thinking about what that could to if it fell on a four year-old’s head. Keep your kids, pets and everyone else away from your house while the work is being done, if at all possible. Talk to your roofing company about what exact times of the day they will be working, and plan to take the kids from school and then to the library for the rest of the day if necessary. Be careful, too, about roofing materials lying around. They don’t make safe toys, so keep kids away.

Some dogs take exception to anyone working on your home. Not all contractors feel safe around dogs, so play it safe and plan ahead there too with your contractor of choice.

See you next week!

Image by Gus Ruballo

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