Spring is in the air and the baseball season blooms. What does baseball have to do with roofing?
Baseball is a unique sport for many reasons, including the fact that it is played on two surfaces: dirt (the infield) and grass (the outfield). Sports like football, basketball and hockey are played on a single surface.
Ask an infielder and outfielder to each explain how their feet feel during long games on very hot and sunny days. While the outfielder may complain about running more to get to balls, infielders may have something else to grumble about.
Baseball infielders play on the dirt part of the surface shown here; outfielders play beyond, on the outfield grass.
On defense, baseball players can stand in the same place for good stretches of time, the length depending on how long it takes to get three outs (and into the dugout). Infielders are stuck playing on the dirt, while outfielders roam the grass.
The temperatures beneath them differ. The bottom line is, what infielders stand on is more prone to absorb the heat driven downward the sun and its ultraviolet rays. All game long on sunny days, ultraviolet rays basically continue heating the infield dirt, which in turn creates heat outward and into the shoe soles of the players.
Outfielders on the other hand get the benefit of standing on grass – with innumerable little blades of grass creating a cumulative amount of shade, to help a little in keeping the ground cooler. Additionally, most baseball groundskeepers keep outfield grass pretty well watered, also defraying the sun’s heat power.
Roofing systems can differ, too, just like the field systems of a baseball park. While roofing systems rarely if ever cause specs of shade (unless roofing shingles somehow are raised), or have man-made watering, some roof systems act opposite of infield dirt. These special roof systems turn away ultraviolet rays instead of taking them in.
That’s the concept of cool roofs. Typical roofs are made of darker and/or non-reflective materials (like asphalt roof shingles) that absorb the sun’s radiation. Cool roofs are lighter in color, or white, and made of materials designed to deflect sun rays away from a property.
The difference is measurable. The mean temperature difference between grass and soil surfaces has been studied, with grass being about 3 degrees cooler Fahrenheit than plain dirt. That’s a mean difference over a 24-hour period. At the hottest times during the day the difference can exceed 6 degrees.
A baseball player slides into home plate – which is on the dirt part of the baseball field.
It’s a big disparity over several hours. Hence the infielder’s discomfort if not active and moving around. On hot days, infielders are more prone to anger with pitchers for long innings. And the hottest times of day are even hotter during summertime in, say, Simi Valley, Thousand Oaks or Moorpark. Infielders playing in cooler coastal climates like Ventura or Santa Barbara should count their blessings.
A roof’s prolonged exposure to the sun can cause you grief. If a roof surface is 3 to 6 degrees hotter over many daylight hours, you must use air conditioning to keep indoor temperatures cooler.
This means extra costs for the energy to keep A/C units running, plus potential wear and tear on the air conditioning unit and system long-term.
All roofs attain “building heat gains” from the sun. A white or reflective cool roof reduces the amount of heat retained by a building, and ultimately up to 15 percent in annual air-conditioning energy needed. The cool roofs also last longer than traditional roof systems, and reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, among other benefits.
During long hot summer days, outfielders may think, “Those poor infielders.” Likewise, the owner of a property with a cool roof may similarly about a neighbor without one. The difference may not be day-and-night, but easier on the pocketbook at least.
Non-residential property owners in California can get help affording a new cool roof, by tapping into the new CaliforniaFIRST program, which provides financing to commercial buildings, industrial and agricultural properties, and multifamily structures of five or more units.
Cool roofing systems are available for both residential and commercial properties.
Properties must be located within a participating area. Participating areas include Ventura County and San Diego County (including the 23 cities within those two counties such as Oxnard, Thousand Oaks, Simi Valley, Moorpark, Camarillo and Ventura).
Property owners benefit from favorable loan terms and loan re-pay options. CaliforniaFIRST offers property owners loans of $50,000 and more for projects such as renewable energy generation, or roof and energy efficiency projects including “cool roof” systems.
Property owners can repay the loans through assessments on annual property tax bills, saving capital for core business investments; and they will appreciate competitive rates and long payback terms of up to 20 years. On top of all that, participating property owners will enjoy smaller utility bill costs from reduced energy or water use.
Santa Barbara, California, has a relatively distinctive climate compared with neighboring communities in the Greater Los Angeles area, presenting unique challenges when it comes to your roof and roofing. For roofing in Santa Barbara, considerations should be made to the warm Mediterranean climate of the City of Santa Barbara and its neighboring communities such as Goleta, Montecito and Carpinteria, as well distinct neighborhoods like The Mesa, Mission Canyon, The Riviera, The Westside and Eastside, The Waterfront, State Street (Upper and Lower), San Roque, Samarkand and Hope Ranch.
Stearns Wharf is a popular attraction for tourists and visitors. (Photo courtesy http://www.santabarbara.com)
Due to the proximity of Santa Barbara to the Pacific Ocean, onshore breezes can subdue temperatures, helping with warmth in winter but coolness during summer compared with inland locations. Winter storms can be unpredictable and at times very strong, causing property owners worries and headaches for roofing in Santa Barbara. Winter storms can brush into the adjacent Santa Ynez mountains, causing higher rainfall periodically than other coastal California areas.
Varying Climatic Conditions for Santa Barbara Roofing
When contemplating Santa Barbara roofing matters, property owners and roofing contractors must consider rains, fog, winds and hot sun depending on the time of year. While summer months can be mild when compared with, say, Los Angeles, plenty of sunshine can be detrimental to roofing systems particularly those with aging roof shingles. The sun’s ultraviolet rays can be as harmful to roof shingles and roof systems as water – punishing the roof for lengthy periods and drying everything out.
Then there is fog and periodically heavy rainfalls that can impact, whether slowly or suddenly, a roof in Santa Barbara or nearby communities. Santa Barbara gets the typical coastal fog enjoyed by similar areas such as Ventura to the south; it also has had more than 40 inches of rain fall in a rain season including as recently as 1997-98. However – highlighting the information about ultraviolet rays outlined above – Santa Barbara also can get less than 6 inches of rain during a season.
Final Considerations for Roofing in Santa Barbara
For more information about Santa Barbara, Calif., visit www.santabarbara.com.
Just because the community abuts the rather impressive Santa Ynez Mountains, don’t assume your property is entirely free of strong wind conditions which can be problematic for roofing in Santa Barbara. In the fall, the area is known for downslope winds known locally as “Sundowners,” which can raise temperatures to nearly three digits and create really dry conditions. Santa Ana winds also sometimes cause concerns for roofing in Santa Barbara, though not as seriously as in areas further south.
Roofing in Santa Barbara, with a population of more than 200,000 when including the city and nearby neighborhoods, can differ greatly depending on the area, roof system and weather-related challenges. Owners of homes or business buildings should take care to engage professional, licensed and insured roofing contractors to ascertain demands unique to individual properties. The name “Santa Barbara” was tagged to the area by Sebastian Vizcaino for his gratitude for surviving a terrific storm through the Channel Islands in 1602. Roofing in Santa Barbara can be impacted by such events – with sometimes unpredictable weather influencing decisions by roofers and property owners alike.
So you’re staring at a couple of missing roof shingles atop your home. The winter has been kind, so far, in terms of rain, but winds were fierce at times in recent months and your roofing shingles took a hit.
The question becomes: order a roof repair job now? Or, wait and hope to last through the tough-weather months. Procrastinating roof repairs may end well in ultra-dry places in desert regions; but in places like Ventura County, the Conejo Valley, Simi Valley or the San Fernando Valley, weather patterns can shift and deliver rain storms unpredictably. A call to an emergency roofer is just moments away.
Easy to Ignore Missing Roof Shingles
In reality, it is very prudent to have your roofs inspected, and roof maintenance performed, on a regular basis. Sure it can be too easy to walk past and ignore the missing or loose roof shingles as you walk straight into your front door each day. In the end, however, procrastination could prove costly and damaging.
Certainly, when water is discovered leaking or dripping into a structure’s interior, a property owner should act immediately and contact a professional. However, there are instances where water leakage does not become evident inside unless there is a torrential downpour, or rainfall lasts for an extended period of time. Just because you do not see water inside a room does not necessarily mean the roof system is holding up entirely.
Roof leaks often seep slowly; or, the leaking water could follow a long pathway before ending up inside a room. Professional roofing contractors can perform water tests to pinpoint leakage points and offer guidance toward preventing short- and long-term problems.
When Problems Exceed Loose Roof Shingles
If your problem is beyond loose roof shingles and indeed water has penetrated your interior, the first thing to do obviously is protect your property. Arrange to collect the water leaking through; use tarps to protect sensitive areas or items. Place buckets on towels, let the buckets collect dripping water and be sure to check and dump and replace buckets when filled.
Next, naturally, you should begin to think about roofing companies. Remember that roofing contractors are most in-demand during rainstorms; however, good roofing companies should be able to send an emergency crew within a day or two. Understand that emergency roof repair or roof tarp jobs can be costly as roofing contractors must pull employees away from current jobs and place them in rather dangerous wet conditions atop your roof.
To choose your emergency roofer, go online and check customer reviews on consumer websites such as Yelp! or Angie’s List, or inquire through the Better Business Bureau. You may find references from family, friends or co-workers helpful in this roof repair process. Importantly, check the Contractors State License Board to ensure roofing companies are state-licensed and carry proper bonding, liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance.
Roof Systems and Roof Repairs Post-Storm
Understand that whatever an emergency roofer can do for you in time of need – during a rainstorm – your property’s roof system could use post-storm work. Once the roof is dry, begin thinking about having leaks fixed for good, whether through a more broad-scale roof repair project, or a re-roof.
Consider that, even if you do not see leaking inside, such as dripping down walls, it does not necessarily mean there are no problems. Slow, long-term and unnoticed leaks can compromise a structure’s overall integrity and lead to a more costly roof repair job down the line.
Slow leaks can impact wood framing, drywall structures and other elements of a home or business property. Summers typically will be dry for months, but don’t assume your roof made it through another winter season unscathed. Being proactive, with annual roof inspections or roof maintenance, could prevent heartburn, headaches and unnecessary costs.
Almost every property owner sometime in his or her life will be confronted with the need for a new roof. With lifespans of 30 years or less, odds are great that sooner or later you will have to explore how to address and aging or failing roof.
GreatWay Roofing takes a non-scientific, light-hearted (some may say whimsical) look at benefits of a new roof you may not have considered. If you have more to offer, please provide them in the Comments section.
Five reasons why a new roof is good for your health:
1. Improves Self-Esteem. No one wants to have the worst-looking roof on the block; or, for the business owner, a roof chock-full of old equipment making a facility look old and/or ugly.
See Nos. 2 and 3 in this web article - change can be good, even if it means just a roofing repair job, or new roof color.
A new roof also improves a property’s value, which brings joy to most any property owner.
2. Stress-Reduction. As with the reason above, no one also wants the continued worry of a roof’s ability to withstand the elements and hardships of Mother Nature. Knowing your roof is solid, possibly warrantied for many years, and will keep your property dry and warm inside presents a wonderful peace-of-mind.
In today’s hurry-worry world, who needs another reason to worry? Especially when it involves the first level of defense for probably your biggest personal investment: your home or business building.
3. Aesthetic Quality. Some have argued that “aesthetic design of public spaces … directly affects human life” (See this article). So, not only would a new, clean and good-looking roof improve the aesthetic health of the owner, but also all those who see the new roof.
4. Physical Health. Of course not everyone contemplating a new roof must live with horrific conditions in a building with a seriously failing roof, such as the situation outlined here. Nonetheless, there are physical health benefits to be gained with a new roof.
For instance, let’s say a roof system is 15, 20 or even 25 years old. Consider how much technology has improved the past 15 to 25 years. Perhaps the old roof system’s ventilation has not been upgraded for a quarter-century. Is the structure soundly allowing breathing air to enter and exit?
Also, when a property owner gets a professional roofing company to visit their site, ask for a roof inspection and also any suggestions for how a new roof project can improve the property overall. They may suggest skylights, which can add natural light into dark corners inside and thus save the need to have lights on all the time, which causes heat and possibly impact from electrical currents.
A roofer also may suggest things like attic cans to keep your structure cooler; or a new “cool roof” to deflect the sun’s ultraviolet rays and reduce energy utility bills considerably. There are multiple ways a new roof project can offer elements to benefit physical health of human beings.
5. Workers. Have you ever seen a fat roofer? Rarely, not just because they need to be agile to walk on angles and in high places, but also because they do a lot of climbing (and lifting) which is good for their health. Ladder climbing, after all, is a great workout; and all that carrying and moving tiles and shingles has to make a person stronger physically.
When you order a new roof, you act almost altruistically. You’re helping the roofing employees!
Of course, new roof jobs help the roofing workers by keeping them employed and maintaining their ability to care for the home and family; and it also contributes to improving the local economy in terms of jobs, financial exchanges like purchasing roofing materials, and more. Not to mention the views – being able to work all day, up high above visual obstructions, in Ventura County coastal areas like Ventura and Oxnard with beautiful ocean and beach views.
Perhaps these are not the major reasons why you would approve a new-roof project, but the fact remains that such projects benefit many people.
Being a major part of why all this happened has to make you feel bette
Think about the difference of 42 degrees Fahrenheit.
For instance, consider a sunny 92-degree day outside, then compare it with your memory of a 50-degree day. It’s the difference between wearing shorts, and layering up.
That’s the variation reported this month, by The International, between roof surface temperatures of a roof with a white, “cool” roof compared with other buildings being monitored in New York City that month. Another report, by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, concluded with similar findings. Measuring both black and white roof membranes on a large retail store in Austin, Texas, the organization found average summertime maximum roof surface temperatures varied by the same amount: the black roof logged at 168 degrees, the white roof 126 degrees.
What does this mean? In Austin, the Lawrence Berkeley laboratory estimated the daily air conditioning savings from having a white roof amounted to 11 percent of the building’s kilowatt-hours. Peak-hour demand dropped 14 percent.
The energy savings for this one building? An estimated $7,200, annually.
A cool roof system is not difficult to install – and it saves building owners money long-term in the form of smaller utility bills, and tends to be less prone to leaks from roof penetrations.
If you own a commercial, retail or industrial building, consider your annual energy costs and multiply it by 11 percent. You get the picture about cool roof benefits long-term.
Additionally, cool roof systems can be better and less prone to leaks at penetration points than traditional commercial building roof systems; and cool roofs are environmentally friendly, mitigating what are called urban heat islands and reducing smog. Cool roofs also are expected to last longer.
At GreatWay Roofing, we get excited to install a new cool roof system, such as one project on several buildings in Oxnard that attracted attention from a national roofing trade magazine.
We have installed several cool roof systems in Ventura County and nearby areas, and our customers have responded kindly, noting how much cooler their buildings are, or their utility bill savings.
Cool roofs are not limited to commercial buildings. There are products, one of which GreatWay Roofing has applied, for residential homes. Cool roof materials are available in tile, coatings, metal, shake and shingles, according to the Cool Roof Rating Council.
One-hundred and seventy degrees Fahrenheit is hot enough to fry an egg, the Princeton School of Engineering and Applied Science noted in a report on a study of cool roofs. The school collected data from a recent August and found temperatures
on black roofs ranged from 130 to 170 degrees, while the highly reflective white roofs ranges from 90 to 100 degrees.
While darker roofs absorb the sun’s rays, white roofs reflect rays away, protecting a building’s insides. We notice it here at our Camarillo headquarters, where we refer to our unheated back workshop as the “icebox” during winter months. Its cool roof prevents absorption of sun-ray heat.
In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg launched NYC CoolRoofs to convert dark rooftops to white, cutting energy costs, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and ultimately paying for the overall cost in three years. Not only are temperature savings real, but cost savings as well for cool roof systems.
A months-old state program has been engaged by many Ventura County non-residential property owners to improve the value of their properties while at the same time reducing water and energy usage. For those interested in a new, energy-saving cool roof, this is wonderful news.
Property owners can obtain loans for projects through the CaliforniaFIRST program, which provides financing to commercial buildings, including multifamily (5 or more units), industrial and agricultural properties.
Properties must be located within a participating area – and Ventura County is one of 14 counties in California (out of 58 counties total) to sign up.
County of Ventura Deputy Executive Officer Sue Hughes said CaliforniaFIRST administrators have noticed many applications coming from Ventura County, as property owners take advantage of favorable loan terms and loan re-pay options.
In the largest program of its type in the nation, CaliforniaFIRST offers property owners loans of $50,000 and more for projects such as renewable energy generation; roof and energy efficiency projects like furnaces, heating and air conditioning units and “cool roof” systems; and water conservation measures such as irrigation, dishwashers or laundry systems.
What makes the program easy for property owners is the ability to repay the loans through assessments on their annual property tax bills – saving capital for core business investments. Also attractive is competitive rates; long payback terms of up to 20 years; customized financing for each property; and decreased ongoing utility bills from reduced energy or water usage.
A cool roof system can save a property owner 10 to 15 percent annually from utility bills for electricity. So, take a look at your utility bills, multiply it by 15 percent, and consider how much you would save over 5 to 20 years. Those are the term periods for the CaliforniaFIRST loans.
And property owners are free to make their own choices – such as which financing program to accept, and even your own contractor (as long as they have the valid and appropriate California State Contractor’s license).
The maximum financing amount is dependent upon the value of the property involved. A property owner can finance equipment, labor, design, permits and engineering for their projects.
The program’s up-front costs of the financing are being funded by private investors, committing $250 million to date. Hughes said some local projects had funding approved within days. For information, visit http://www.californiafirst.org or call 510-692-9995.
In Thousand Oaks, the clean affluent community of eastern Ventura County, weather patterns can vary about as much as the types of roof systems. Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Valley overall are located in an area known for a mild year-round “Mediterranean Climate,” or “Dry-Summer Subtropical zone” climate. This means warm, often hot, dry summers with plenty of sunshine; and winters that can prove cool and sometimes rainy.
Mild and cool winters in Thousand Oaks can be wet at times, causing some concern for owners of homes or commercial buildings with older or failing roofing systems. Some winters can be seriously lacking in rainfall; while others such as in 2006 and 2008 can provide snowfall on Boney Peak. While there may be no precipitation, sometimes the area is prone to high winds which also can cause damage to a roof.
Summers in Thousand Oaks usually are pretty hot with plenty of ultraviolet (UV) rays to cause potential injury not only to the skin, but to roof systems over the long haul.
What to Expect for Roofing in Thousand Oaks
The 126,683 people reported living in Thousand Oaks in the 2010 U.S. Census live in about 47,000 households. This is for the incorporated City of Thousand Oaks and does not include other Conejo Valley communities such as Newbury Park and Westlake Village, as well as nearby communities like Oak Park and Agoura. The Greater Conejo Valley is a quite large metropolitan area in the southern edge of Ventura County.
In terms of what to expect for roofing in Thousand Oaks, note the abovementioned winter rainfalls, hot summers and tendency for periodic wind storms, including warm strong winds from inland desert areas that can pose a risk for wildfires in the nearby mountains and open space. Wood shake shingle roof systems, for example, are not advised.
Thousand Oaks, Roof Maintenance and Roof Inspections
Throughout Thousand Oaks you can find examples of various types of roof systems, including use of the typical asphalt shingle system, as well as the generous implementation of tile roofs. Beautiful roofs can be witnessed in neighborhoods such as North Ranch, and closer to Westlake Village and Oak Park.
Commercial buildings can sport different types of roof systems, including the newer cool roof systems that help keep buildings cooler in hot months and save in energy costs. In Thousand Oaks where the area can go four to six months without any significant rainfall, with plenty of sunshine, the energy cost savings can be significant. Cool roof systems also are available for residences.
Important to note for Thousand Oaks and the Conejo Valley is roof maintenance and roof inspections. A roof is an asset with tremendous value for your home and its protection from the elements, and even wildfires if you live adjacent to open areas. A roof’s expected lifecycle is approximately 20 or 30 years, and ensuring your roof lasts that long means roof maintenance and consistent inspections.
Consider semi-annual roof inspections, in the spring and the fall. Spring can mean cleaning debris and tightening flashing and roof membrane loosened by winter storms and winds. In the fall, fix any damage from summer heat and clear autumn debris from the many trees in Thousand Oaks.
In early fall, if your property is up against open space or mountain areas, consider having your attic vents inspected, in preparation for the fire season and also to prevent entry by pests. But most of all have your roof inspected overall for problem areas and potential repairs that can extend its longevity. Remember, you are protecting your most valuable asset, your home or business building.
During most months in Southern California, the weather can fluctuate between sunny with blue skies, to overcast, windy or cloudy, with sporadic rainstorms that can surprise roofing systems and have owners scrambling to address leaks.
In summer months, however, the Southland’s weather pattern is something you can count on: hot. This is a period each year when your roof is very vulnerable, and your energy bills can go sky high.
Summertime sun and ultraviolet rays can cause long-term damage to roof systems.
July and August, and oftentimes September and October, mean lots of sunshine and hot weather in the Greater Los Angeles area and Southern California overall. While most think of precipitation as a roof’s biggest threat – and indeed this could be true if the roof is failing – glaring hot sun rays ultimately pose the most long-term problems for a roof system. From the San Fernando Valley to Thousand Oaks, Camarillo and beyond, summertime brings extreme sun rays to your rooftops.
Time of the Roofing Season
The sun’s ultraviolet rays expedite the deterioration of roof systems. These UV rays dry out the materials that hold together tar shingles – the most common type of roof shingle on residential homes – and really dry out other types of shingles such as those made of wood. The sun rays even can dry out tiles over the long haul.
So what is a homeowner or building owner to do? Well, first have your roof system inspected. A professional roofer can ascertain how well your roof system is handling the elements, and can be expected to manage everything the environment will throw at it in the years ahead.
Another important reason to invite a professional roofing contractor to inspect your roof system is energy savings. In these days when oil and gas prices have, well, gone through the roof, the cost of other energy sources also has risen. Anyone who watched their energy bills rise dramatically last summer, along with the daily temperatures, understands this.
New Roofing Technology Saves Money
New roofs can help save energy. Namely, there is new “cool roof” technology both for commercial as well as residential properties that deflect UV rays and keep the buildings beneath them cooler.
A cool roof can reduce your electricity bill 10 to 15 percent.
At GreatWay Roofing we have first-hand experience. We installed a cool roof over our office and rear work area at our headquarters in Camarillo, California. We live comfortably in the office with its controlled interior environment.
The rear work area? We jokingly call it the “Icebox,” because with the new cool roof deflecting UV rays away, the building is not absorbing the sun’s rays to warm the work area, which has no heating system. Our rear work area serves as living proof that the cool roof system works.
A cool roof can reduce your energy bills anywhere from 10 to 15 percent overall. Check out your last electricity bill, do the multiplication and see the monthly savings.
Not only will your building be better protected from the elements, you’ll be saving money in the long run. Implementing new technology on your roof can result in improvements in a number of areas. It can be the wisest investment you’ll ever make for your property.
Award reflects company’s consistently high level of customer service
GreatWay Roofing has been honored with a 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award, for exceptional customer service.
GreatWay Roofing, a Ventura County-based roofing contractor, has earned the service industry-coveted 2012 Angie’s List Super Service Award, an honor awarded annually to approximately 5 percent of all the companies rated on Angie’s List.
“Customer service is a key focus of GreatWay Roofing – if not the top priority,” said Rod Menzel, President and Founder of GreatWay Roofing. “This considered, it is a very high honor to be recognized by Angie’s List.”
Angie’s List Super Service Award 2012 winners have met strict eligibility requirements, including earning a minimum number of reports, an excellent rating from their customers and abiding by Angie’s List operational guidelines. Service company ratings are updated daily on Angie’s List. Companies are graded on an A through F scale in areas ranging from price to professionalism to punctuality.
“It’s a select group of companies rated on Angie’s List that can claim the exemplary customer service record of being a Super Service Award winner,” said Angie’s List Founder Angie Hicks in a prepared statement. “Our standards for the Super Service Award are quite high. The fact that GreatWay Roofing earned this recognition speaks volumes about its dedication providing great service to its customers.”
About GreatWay Roofing
Founded in 1999 in Ventura County, GreatWay Roofing was called Great American Roofing until an extensive re-branding process resulted in a new name and logo in 2008. The company’s commitment to customer service allowed it to grow to also serve the San Fernando and Santa Clarita valleys. The company offers premiere residential roofing systems in addition to “green” and energy-saving materials such as “Cool Roof” technology for commercial buildings; a 12-point commercial roof maintenance program; and free no-obligation commercial roof inspections and residential estimates. GreatWay Roofing today employs 14 people, and is based in Camarillo, California. Information: (800) 473-2876 or www.greatwayroofing.com.
Not everyone foregoes home improvement projects in a down economy, particularly in affluent areas like Woodland Hills. People are still taking care of things, such as a leaky roof, when needed.
Unfortunately during down times, contractors trying to compete can lower prices to previously incomprehensible levels. Remember: if it appears too good to be true, it probably is.
A major problem with ultra-low pricing is it can lead to the temptation to cut corners. Government permits that are required for significant home improvement projects come with fees, which a contractor with a low-price job might ignore.
GreatWay Roofing owner and co-founder Rod Menzel personally performing a minor roof repair on a home in Oxnard, California.
You don’t want a project without proper permits – see for example our fact sheet on Agoura Hills roofing projects. You also should ensure your contractor is fully licensed and bonded.
Information about contractors is easy to find. A valuable resource is the Contractors State License Board website, where you can learn if a potential contractor is licensed, and also view media releases on sting investigations.
Some of the media releases on the site are rather alarming.
Today you can still get a good deal on a home improvement project, by a licensed contractor that also offers peace of mind because they are bonded, in case there are damages from the project.
Another source is the Better Business Bureau. The Bureau is dedicated to nurturing fair and honest relationships between businesses and consumers. You can tap it to see if any complaints were filed against a particular contractor.
There are other sources, too, such as checking court records for liens or lawsuits.
The Contractors State License Board offers general tips on what to look for to detect potential problems with a contractor. These include:
Hire only licensed contractors; ask to see the license.
Don’t hire the first contractor who comes along.
Don’t rush into repairs, no matter how badly needed.
Don’t pay more than 10 percent or $1,000, whichever is less, as a down payment.
Don’t pay in cash, and don’t let the payments get ahead of the work.
Get three bids, check references, and get a written contract.
Other things to look for are contractors soliciting door-to-door, offering unsolicited work such as painting or roofing, and reluctance to sign a written contract.
In today’s economy, it can be easy to just go with the lowest price. However remember there may be a reason for the low price, which could turn very costly in the long run. Protect yourself with a little research and have us perform a commercial roofing inspection.