Hail Damage To Your Roof? Buyer Beware!

Hail Damage To Your Roof? Buyer Beware!

Most everyone is aware that Tulsa and surrounding communities were hit by a large powerful hailstorm on April 7. What you probably don’t know is that as you are reading this article there are out of state contractors (Storm Chasers) headed toward our city, and believe it or not many have already arrived.

These “Storm Chaser” roofing companies are very polished in their sales strategy and approach to acquiring your business. Most “Storm Chasers” look just like your average nice-guy-roofing salesman. But be aware because these “Storm Chasers” are really like sharks that can leave an ugly mess after their feeding frenzy.

A “Storm Chaser” will typically leave your city as fast as they came after the storm work is over. Unfortunately you, the home or business owner, can be left with a poor quality roof to deal with or even be defrauded out of pre-job payments and undelivered promises. One of the most common hidden problems is the result of an improperly installed roof. There are many manufacturer specifications that must be met before your 25, 30, 40, 50 year or lifetime shingle warranty is even valid. Installing a roof to spec is not as easy as just nailing on the shingles. And, if your roofing material does fail for any reason a year or two down the road, any claim filed with the manufacturer will be denied should the roof be installed improperly. So in reality the 30, 40 or 50 year warranty you think you bought with your roof could be a zero year warranty. And, unfortunately, you can just throw that manufacturer’s warranty out the window if you use that “storm chaser”.

The only way to avoid being bitten by “Storm Chasers” is to be cautious and do your research before hiring a contractor. The following is a list of qualifications you should use to qualify your contractor:

1. Incorporated in Oklahoma: You may check this by contacting the OK Incorporation commission information @ 1-900-555-2424, the cost is $5.00. If you have internet access, you may check on the web at www.sos.state.ok.us/, go to “sooner access”, go to entity search (free), go to “search active”, type in the name of the business.

2. Oklahoma Worker’s Comp Insurance: Out of state policies are not effective in Oklahoma. Make the contractor provide you with a certificate of insurance. Verify the coverage is in effect by calling the Worker’s Comp Court at (918) 791-2714. It’s easy to falsify a certificate so you must call to verify. If you were to allow a noninsured contractor to just inspect your roof, and he injures himself – you could be faced with personal injury litigation because it happened on your property.

3. General Liability Insurance: Ask for a certificate of insurance and verify coverage with the agent. You must be protected should the contractor damage you home, cars, etc… A minimum of a 1 million dollar policy is sufficient.

4. Business Location: “Storm Chasers” typically will set up a small temporary office to give the impression that they are a local contractor. They will even have advertising and yard signs stating they are local. A qualified local contractor will have a permanent office sufficient to run a professional business. Before you buy, you may want to visit the contractor’s office to verify that this contractor is going to be around to take care of your needs and back up their work.

5. Salesman’s ID: Check the driver’s license of the salesman to verify he is from Oklahoma. Many “Storm Chasers” will purchase the company name of a local company to pass themselves off as “locals”, only to leave the small company owner with a bunch of problems and warranties from poor quality workmanship. You may even want to check the license plate of the salesman’s truck to see if he and his workers are residing in Oklahoma.

6. Roofing Distributor References: Ask for supplier references to make sure the contractor pays his vendors. You certainly don’t want a lien placed on your residence if the bills aren’t paid. Make sure the references are local references.

7. Manufacturer Certifications: Not only is roofing a non-licensed trade in Oklahoma, most “roofers” have very little to no formal roofing education or formal roofing training. Quality roofing material manufacturers offer certifications. Most of these manufacturers such as GAF Materials Corp. (the oldest and largest roofing manufacturer) as well as others require specific training and also require meeting stringent qualifications to earn a certification. No manufacturer is going to hand out a certification to a “fly by night” contractor. Quality contractors with top-level certifications will also be able to offer upgraded warranties on your new roof system.

8. No Roof Loading: Many contractors cut their labor costs by stacking the entire load of delivered material on your roof. Heavy loads of material stacked onto your roof can cause structural damage to the home. Material should be carried onto your roof as it is needed.

9. Pre-payment: Do not make any payment or partial payment until the work is completed and you are satisfied. It has happened many times that storm chasers take an early or pre-payment of work and never perform the job.

10. Project Management: Most “Storm Chasers” are nothing more than a fleet of salesmen with no field management personnel. It is nearly impossible to have a new roof installed correctly without proper supervision and management. Critical areas of the roof such as flashings, fasteners, sealants, ventilation and manufacturer specifications require the strict attention of the onsite project manager. Many contractors will tell you that they have project management. In most cases their manager is only stopping by the job site one or two times a day to check on material needs. You should expect a trained manager to be at your jobsite a minimum of 35% of the day to ensure your home is getting the attention if deserves.

11. Job References: No contractor is going to give you a list of bad references. The key is to get several references and to make sure that you get some of the references on projects that are 6 months to a year old. Out of state “Storm Chasers” will be easily identified when they cannot produce local references from over 6 months ago.

This guideline is a must after a weather catastrophe and it is also a great tool to use anytime you hire any type of contractor to work on your property. Please take the time to save this as a guide to protect yourself in choosing your contractor.

It’s important to know and remember that roofing is an unlicensed trade in Oklahoma, so anyone with a pickup can call himself a roofer. Don’t get caught in the trap of thinking you’re getting a good deal by just shopping for the cheapest price. In most cases a “low ball” bid will come with many short cuts and inferior workmanship by a non-qualified contractor.

Red River Roofing & Construction, Inc. located in Tulsa and OKC has met and exceeds all of the above criteria. Red River Roofing is factory trained and top level certified by GAF, Certainteed, Elk, Owens Corning, Gerard, Malarkey and several others. Specifically, Red River is a Master Elite Contractor for GAF Materials Corp. GAF reserves this certification for only the top 2% of residential contractors in the nation. Should you put your trust in us, Red River will put its full attention into the proper installation of your roofing system. Paying close attention to all details around the roof such as wall siding, chimneys and structural issues has earned us our excellent reputation. We’ve worked hard for it. Contact Red River Roofing @ 270-2888 in Tulsa for a free inspection and consultation concerning your roof. Red River Roofing & Construction is part of your community, we’re your neighbors and we’re here to stay.

Updated 04-23-2008

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