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How Landlords Can Choose a Roofing Contractor

Key Takeaways

  • When your roof has endured damage due to long periods of an icy winter or sudden structural collapse caused by torrential downpours, you need to act fast. By being prepared with a list of vetted roofers, you can expedite the repairs and minimize further damage.
  • Once the contractor inspects the roof and interior ceiling, they should provide a detailed description of the timeline and costs for labor and materials.
  • Always coordinate with your tenant in writing when scheduling inspections or alerting them when they can expect the contractors to begin work on the roof.

Published on Nov 23, 2023 | Updated on Nov 23, 2023

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A damaged, sagging, and worn roof could signal to potential tenants that other parts of the home may be in disrepair.

The maintenance of your roof should be at the top of every landlord’s list. Over the years, a run-down, leaky, and neglected roof can cause poor ventilation and water damage, leading to other structural damage to your property.

Working with professional roofers

Severe and freezing weather conditions can be punishing on a roof. Over time, your roof shingles can begin to crack and break. Roofing professionals will inspect the gutters, seals, grout, and chimneys. They will also examine the ceilings inside your home and attic.

If there are any signs of decay or water damage, a roofer will advise you on whether or not you need a new roof. If you notice chipped or broken shingles, water stains, or leaks coming from your ceiling, it’s a sign that you need to hire a roofer to conduct an inspection. Scheduling regular inspections is ideal, especially if you live in northern climates where your roof may be prone to ice dams. Learn about proper maintenance in preventing ice dams during winter months.

What type of roofing materials are there?

Various roofing materials range from affordable, low maintenance, durable, and recyclable.

Asphalt shingles

Asphalt shingle roofing is the most common type in Canada and the United States. It’s affordable, recyclable, durable, and compatible with most weather conditions. The disadvantages are that it has a shorter life span and the color will fade under the sun.

Slate roofing

Slate materials are built from natural stone. Some pros of long-lasting slate roofing are its curb appeal, durability, fire resistance, and environmentally safe inherent qualities. The downside of slate is it can be slippery to walk on, costly, and require special installation.

Metal roofing

Metal roofing is less common but has been available for ages. It ages well, is low-maintenance, recyclable, and is energy efficient. Unfortunately, they can be double the amount of asphalt shingles or more. During heavy rainfall, they produce more noise if the attic isn’t sufficiently insulated or sound abated.

Clay roofing

Clay roofs offer a beautiful visual appeal. Roofs made of clay are standard in dry climates like California. One of the most significant benefits of clay roofing is that if installed properly, it can last for 100 years. Property owners can expect to pay significantly more for this type of roofing project than asphalt shingles.

Reviewing a professional roofing contractor’s quote

Generally, homeowners have two options when looking for roofing services: work with reputable roofing companies or independent contractors.

The contractor or company should provide you with a quote, which should resemble a breakdown of services, labor, and materials, including quantity. There should also be a separate protection plan or roof warranty. Every quote will likely have a different design layout, but if you have a detailed description of services, how many hours of labor is estimated, and pricing, including the square footage of material to be used and the price per board or item, that should be a sufficient estimate.

Here is a good example of a detailed roofer quote versus an estimate that lacks crucial information:

Some common open-ended questions that you can ask the roof contractor include: 

  • What’s your lead time?
  • What else should I know if there’s a repair?
  • How does the repair work?
  • What are the timelines/steps for the repair or maintenance?

Budgeting for a roofing job

If a ceiling or roof is leaking or sagging, here are some key considerations for budgeting a repair:

  • Get multiple quotes to give you the ballpark pricing.
  • Understand the element of uncertainty. Occasionally, underlying structural damage can present itself during the teardown, which may add costs to the budget.
  • Typically, the price will be higher if there is more area to cover and you choose a more expensive material.

What to look for in an experienced roofing contractor

If you choose to work with a contractor, make sure they have a contractor’s state license. For example, a licensed roofing contractor in California needs to be adept at all roofing installations and repairs. Contractors can waterproof and weatherproof.

To find a roofing company, check for references or with your state roofing association. Alberta has the Alberta Roofing Contractors Association.

Each U.S. state should have a roofing company association. Texas has a construction industry association where you can search for a licensed contractor. Most online contractor associations will include the year the contractor registered or when the company was founded to give you an idea of how long they have been in business. 

Review the contractor’s qualifications, certifications, and licenses. Are they capable of preparing the following surfaces and materials:

  • Asphaltum
  • Tar
  • Glass fabric
  • Urethane foam
  • Metal roofing systems
  • Shakes
  • Shingles
  • Roof tile

What do their Google business reviews say about them? Do they provide quality work and a good response time? Make sure to review their social media pages and check to see if they are a reputable roofing contractor and are registered with the Better Business Bureau. 

Working with tenants during roofing projects

While it may be a minor inconvenience to your tenant to coordinate a time for an inspection, your tenant will likely be pleased that you are maintaining the home. Before you send a contractor to the rental to inspect for roof leaks or damage, give the resident written notice in advance.

Always inform them of the project’s duration. Clearly communicating roof repairs or regular maintenance with your tenants will build trust

Every landlord will have to learn to maintain a regular maintenance schedule and alert tenants every time they plan on visiting the rental property for inspections. 

FAQ: Working with a roofer

Choosing an experienced roofer with good reviews is essential. The best way to find a reputable roofer is through recommendations from a trusted source or the local online contractor association. Always read Google Business reviews to ensure the roofer is professional, capable, and completes the project on time.

Typically, the roofer will give you an estimate that prices the project by the square footage of the area where the installation or repair will occur and the type of material needed. The property owner should always shop around for estimates and tell the roofer about the best and most economical material for the region’s weather and the home’s location.

Yes. The contractor should provide a detailed description of the anticipated project completion time and the material, labor, and removal costs, including tax. You can also ask the contractor the following open-ended questions to ensure they are the right person for the job:

  • What else should I know if there’s a repair?
  • How does the repair work?
  • What are the timelines/steps for the repair or maintenance?

Our final thoughts

While a worn out roof can depreciate the appearance of your home, a leaking or sagging roof should be tended to immediately. Work with tenants to help alert you of any signs of leaks or water damage. 

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