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Do I have to replace my roof? Or can it just be repaired?

Should I Repair, Patch, or Replace My Roof?

We all know regular maintenance is the best thing for your Seattle home. By proactively maintaining your interior and exterior, you’re doing the best possible job preventing big issues in the future. But sometimes you can find yourself in confusion, particularly when it comes to a big ticket item like your roof. If there’s a roof issue, should it be repaired or patched? Or will the whole roof need to be replaced?

The answer depends on several factors, and it’s not completely cut and dried. You may need a roofing professional to come give their opinion to be really sure. However here are a few guidelines that should help you make your decision.

Can I Replace Shingles?

Yes, in some cases, all you may need to do is replace shingles. Modern asphalt shingles are made to last decades, and if the underlying roof structure is solid, then you are probably good to go.

The hard part is knowing about that underlying roof structure. That’s where a professional roof inspection will probably come in. You need to determine whether you’ve just lost a few shingles due to heavy winds or whether the issues go much deeper. If the damage extends into the deeper layers of the roof, you may be headed toward a roof replacement.

Another issue you may run into is color matching. Even with a spare box of the original shingles lying around, they likely won’t match the color. After all, your shingles have probably spent years exposed to sun and rain, and the color has usually faded a bit. If the area to be replaced is small, or in an inconspicuous area, that may be no problem at all. But if it’s front and center on the house, you might wince every time you pull into your driveway.

What About Patching a Roof?

Patching a roof brings pretty much the same issues as replacing a few shingles, it’s just over a larger area. Patching may involve replacing just a section of the roof that might be water damaged or sagging. However, you need to be completely certain that the damage is limited to only that area. If it’s spread further and it’s not addressed, then you’re likely headed for more future problems. The chance of having color matching issues is much greater, too.

Replacing Your Roof

How do you know it’s time for a whole new roof? Here are some factors to consider:

  • Moisture or Water Damage. Water is pervasive – it wants to get inside your house, and it never stops trying. If you see signs of moisture in your home – things like peeling paint or mold, or brown spots on your ceiling – then the damage may warrant a full roof replacement.
  • Big Storms. If your area was recently hit with a violent storm, your roof could be damaged. Even one really harsh Seattle winter can push a roof over the edge (so to speak).
  • Is your roof leaking even though it’s only a few years old? Then it’s probably defective materials or installation, and those can usually be repaired. If it’s 20+ years old and has issues in several areas, it may be time to think of replacement.
  • What is your roof made of? Slate roofs last a LONG time, but other materials are pretty durable as well. If your current roof is flimsy and on its last legs, you may want to think about a new roof with quality roofing materials.

When it’s time to replace your roof, it’s vital that you consult with a roofing expert. Price will be a factor, but don’t let it be the only factor. Invest in a quality product and expert installation, like what we offer at Four Seasons Roofing. Contact us today. You’ll be glad you did.

A roof is a big investment. Make sure you ask the right questions to find the best roofing contractor near you.

7 Tips to Find the Best Roofing Contractor Near Me

We hear people ask all the time, “How can I find the best roofing contractor near me?” If you’re in the Snohomish, Everett, and Bellevue areas, then follow these tips and you won’t go wrong.

1. Talk to at least three different roofing contractors.

Contact a few different companies, ask them questions, and get to know how they do business. You’ll want to find out things like how they inspect a roof, the materials they recommend, and a rough estimate of how long they feel it might take to do the job. After these conversations, you’ll usually get a feeling about which company you can trust.

2. Hire a local roofer.

Often people are approached by roofing contractors who aren’t local, sometimes even from outside Washington. Why would you hire someone who doesn’t know the area and local codes and ordinances? Why hire someone who doesn’t live and work in the Puget Sound area and know exactly what it takes to handle our Pacific Northwest weather? Stick with local companies, and you’ll be much more satisfied.

3. Don’t automatically go for the lowest bidder.

Obviously, we all want to save money. But accepting a lowball bid just to save a few dollars may end up costing you big in the future. Often the lowest bid is achieved with substandard materials or service. Either that, or they’ll come out with hidden fees and extra charges that will make for an ugly surprise. Examine exactly what the company is offering and ask lots of questions. A good roofer won’t be afraid to be transparent about exactly what their fees will be.

4. “License and proof of insurance, please.”

A reputable roofing contractor is properly licensed for the local area and possesses the necessary insurance for the job. The insurance should not only cover their team, but the customer as well in case of an accident. Ask them to show you their paperwork. You can check with people like the Better Business Bureau and seek out information about past performance. You want a roofer with a local track record, not a fly-by-night company trying to make a fast buck.

5. Talk up front about payment terms.

Reputable companies are open and honest about payment policies. Be wary of contractors who ask for half or all the money before the job is finished. They may move slowly after being paid, and a few may be outright hustlers who will take the money and run. It’s your money – be careful with it.

6. Ask about estimates and deadlines.

A great roofing contractor will give you detailed, accurate estimates of both the materials and cost, as well as when the job will begin and be completed. Make sure to ask about who is going to clean up after the job, and if that cost is included in the estimate.

7. Make sure they use quality materials.

Trusted companies use high-quality roofing materials. Ask the contractor what materials they work with and what company certifications or partnerships they may have. Ask for their warranties and guarantees, as well as estimate of the durability of their materials and workmanship. You want a strong, leak-proof roof. Don’t be afraid to ask what is going on top of your home.

If you look around, ask some questions, and do a little homework, you can find a great roofing contractor near you. Four Seasons Roofing serves Snohomish, Everett, Bellevue, and the greater Puget Sound area. Contact us today to start getting to know us.

Fall Roof Maintenance Tips 2020

Fall Roof Maintenance Tips

Fall weather is approaching here in the Puget Sound. Here are some simple fall maintenance tips to keep your roof in great shape:

Visual Inspection – From The Ground (or a Window)

Take your time to inspect your roof from the ground, or from a window, which allows a view of your roof. Things to look for include: moss, leaves, pine needles, and other debris that could have fallen on your roof from surrounding foliage. You will want to make especially sure that valleys, gutters, behind skylights, and around chimneys are clear from debris.

Remove Debris

After inspection, if you see any debris on your roof, carefully blow off the debris to clean the roof and allow water to flow properly to the gutters. Make sure your gutters are also clean and downspouts are free of clogs. If you are not comfortable doing this yourself, give Four Seasons Roofing a call and we’d be happy to help you develop a maintenance program for your roof!

Apply Moss Treatment

The best time to apply moss killer is in the early fall. Make sure you are applying it to a roof that is free of other debris as mentioned above. Apply the moss treatment of your choice as directed by the manufacturer. This is something that can be added to your maintenance program if you are not comfortable getting up on your roof.

Trim Trees

Cold weather can also spell trouble for trees that overhang your roof. If you don’t trim back these branches, high winds, ice, and snow can cause branches to break. Worst case, they put a big hole in your roof, but even if that doesn’t happen, they could still do damage to your roof shingles. Hire someone to come and trim trees to avoid falling branches that can damage your home and create a safety issue.

How to find the right roofing contractor

How to find the right roofing contractor?

Reroofing is a process you may not be familiar with until it becomes time to replace the roof on your own home. And even then, there’s a lot to learn about which products to use and what procedures best meet your individual roofing needs. Therefore, it’s vital to know that you can rely on the roofing contractor you choose to give you good advice about those products and procedures that may be new to you. The key is to find the right roofing contractor for your job.

Working with a roofing contractor that you trust is extremely important. We suggest that you ask these 7 simple questions to help you determine if they are the right roofing contractor for the job:

Seven Questions to Ask Your Roofer

  1. What is the full name and address of the company? Getting the complete address of the company can be an important factor in determining a company’s time in business. If a post office box is given, ask for a full street address as well. Try to hire a contractor that has an office nearby. The likelihood of better service and quicker response time is greater if the company is based near your home.
  2. Does the company carry insurance? A contractor should carry comprehensive liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance* to protect you in the event of a roofing accident. This can be verified by asking to see the contractor’s certificates of insurance (workers’ compensation and general liability). Let the contractor know you want current certificates sent to you by the insurer before the job is started. Contractors may also carry other kinds of insurance including health, life and auto insurance. Bland assurances of insurance coverage may refer to these. Don’t be confused. Ask for proof of general liability and workers’ compensation* coverage for roofing projects. Worker accidents. Be aware that if a worker is injured on your property, the homeowner might be held liable for all costs unless the employee is covered by workers’ compensation insurance. Hospital bills for serious accidents can be extraordinarily expensive.

Contractors who carry insurance and follow safety guidelines on fall prevention endure higher job overhead costs. These expenses could be the cause of price variations between contractors who follow the standards versus those who ignore them. Uninsured contractors. Roofers who do not carry insurance will most likely be cheaper to hire as they do not have the large insurance premiums to pay. Workers’ compensation premiums can increase wage costs from about 20% to as much as 100%, depending on the state. There are a variety of reasons why full insurance may not be carried by a contractor, such as:

  • Not a full-time contractor.
  • Operates as a partnership or self-employed without employees.
  • New in the business.
  • Can’t afford insurance premiums.
  • Doesn’t stand behind work.

It is up to you to determine if it is worth the risk to hire a contractor who does not carry insurance.

  1. Is the company a licensed or credentialed contractor? When you pose this question, you are, in effect, asking if the contractor is licensed by your state and/or city. Not all states require contractors to be licensed. If your state does license contractors, then he might have had to pass a written examination in his specialty, although few licenses make this a requirement. A number of cities also require professional licensing. Check with your local licensing authority for details. A contractor may also answer this question by telling you he has a business license. However, a business license is a tax requirement only and is not directly relevant to the contractor’s competence. Several roofing manufacturers offer a variety of programs to professional contractors that establish their credentials as a knowledgeable roofing company. Homeowners can view a contractor’s credentials as another indicator of their degree of knowledge, professionalism, and dedication to the roofing trade.
  2. How long has the company been in business? Needless to say, longer is usually better. Under three years may signal an unstable business or one low on the learning curve. On the other hand, everybody has to start somewhere. References will be helpful to double check any business, and are especially important when dealing with a new business. A newer business may have a great future but it is only reasonable to be more careful when considering its referrals. The failure rate of small businesses in the first three years is very high.
  3. Will the company provide referrals or references from previous jobs? • Ask for photos of completed work, if available. Keep in mind, however, that many roofers will not have photos. • Request a list of 10 names and phone numbers of recent customers (last 12 months). It is not necessary to check all 10, but you will be able to pick randomly from the list those you do call.
  4. What is the company’s workmanship warranty? Typically, contractor workmanship warranties are for one year or more. Longer warranties are not necessarily more valuable than shorter warranties. The length of the warranty is less important than the intent and ability of the roofer to stand behind his warranty. That is best evaluated using customer referrals. Ask his customers specifically for information about these four things:

1) Did he perform his work on a timely basis?

2) Was he responsive when asked for information and changes?

3) Did he act as if he cared about the customers interests?

4) And finally, would you call the company trustworthy?

The roofer will warrant his workmanship. The manufacturer, on the other hand, warranties the roofing material against defects in manufacturing. Thus, two warranties will cover the shingle roof system. Understand them both. Ask for a copy of the manufacturer’s warranty pertaining to the specific shingle products you are considering. For additional information on warranties, see our Understanding Warranties brochure. Usually, problems of either workmanship or material show up very quickly. Therefore, the near-term warranty given by the contractor or manufacturer is more important than the warranty coverage during the later years of the warranty. Even if problems of workmanship arise after the workmanship warranty has lapsed, a reliable contractor usually will want to stand behind his work.

  1. What is the company’s track record for solving customer complaints?
  • Try to find out how your contractor handles problems when they do arise. Request a referral from a job that involved a complaint.
  • Ask the contractor if he has ever lost a job-related court case.
  • Ask if his contractor’s license has ever been suspended and why.

Also, in talking to the appropriate authorities, such as the Better Business Bureau and licensing departments, find out if any complaints have been filed against the contractors whom you have interviewed. Many contractors in business for any length of time have been involved in a dispute. Ask how the dispute was resolved, to test your contractor’s reputation. Evaluating the contract before you get to this stage, you will have received from the roofer either a job proposal or an estimate. Estimates and proposals can be very different approaches to your job. What is an estimate? To simplify, an estimate will typically offer a single price, a generically described product, a color and no options. This is traditional and legitimate. But it isn’t consumer-friendly. What is a proposal? Simply put, a proposal is a tentative agreement for a project. It offers a choice of products by brand name, prices, services and even designs. Many other provisions may also be included such as change order conditions and financing options. The homeowner should expect three product choices. These could be presented in the typical range of good, better and best. Appropriate product literature and samples should also be offered. In conclusion, a proposal is consumer-friendly.

We hope this information will help you in selecting a professional roofer. If you have any questions or comments about this brochure, we would be happy to hear from you!