Picture this scenario, you are woken at 3 AM to what sounds like golf balls hitting your roof and windows. If you live in North Texas like I do, you know all too well its hail. Big hail. This exact thing happened to me early this summer. Thankfully, it wasn't too bad at my place. No broken windows and the truck was in the garage, but my roof took a beating. The second such beating in 3 years. I knew it was time to get the roof looked at before I developed any leaks.
If you are like most people you don't have a roofer on retainer. Shortly after I moved into my house, I had another wallop of a storm and had to get a roof then also. When a big storm happens, roofer swarm the area like flies to a fresh turd and if you don't do your homework, that's exactly what you may get.
I got lucky and saw a neighbor about post Golden Rule General Contracting, his roofing contractor, on the Nextdoor community website. I decided to do my homework and check him out. They had great reviews on every platform I looked at so I decided you give them a shot. I was not disappointed.
In order to help anyone navigate the perils of finding a quality roofer that's stands by their product, I decided to site down with Randy, owner of Golden Rule G.C. and get some sound advice.
Doug- "So Randy, what are the first things you should do or check if you find a leak in your roof or experience hail damage?"
Randy- "First thing is to always stop damage from getting worse. Collect water, make sure it’s not going to damage the floor or cause your ceiling to collapse. Get an experienced roofing contractor to complete emergency repairs to keep leaks from getting worse."
D- "What are some good resources to use to find a good roofing company?"
R- "It is important to check references such as the Better Business Bureau, Home Advisor, Google My Business, Angies List, etc. The app Nextdoor can be a valuable place to find recommendations from people in your area who have had a good (or bad) experience with roofing contractors."
D- "Are there any you should steer clear from?"
R- "Anyone that has been in business less than a year. Our area experiences hailstorms on a pretty infrequent basis, so the person who was cutting your grass last week could be installing your roof the next. Anyone who is from out of town or doesn’t have a track record of doing business locally. We call them storm chasers in the roofing industry, and it’s important to hire a reputable company so if there is a problem with your roof in the future you can call them to honor their warranty."
D- "When talking to an roofing company, what are some key things to look for?"
R- "How long they have been in business. Their reviews. If they’re insured and bonded or not. Do they pull permits in municipalities that require permits. Do they have a Jobsite Foreman who stays on the job to oversee the work during the entire process? Do they take pictures to document the work? Does their warranty cover labor and materials, and damages caused by leaks. Do they have a pre, during and job completion checklist to ensure quality of work?"
D- "What are some red flags you should avoid?"
R- "Take a look at the vehicle they arrive in. Does it look professional? Ask how much experience the representative has, is he/she a salesman, or do they know the roofing industry. Pushy salespeople. Did they thoroughly inspect your entire home or just take a quick look at your roof? If they didn’t have time for you prior to you signing the contract, chances are they won’t have a lot of time for you after. Never give a roofing contractor money upfront. First checks should be given when materials are delivered and the job has commenced, with final payment upon your complete satisfaction of completion."
D- "Is there any type of maintenance you can do to keep your roof in top condition?"
R- "Leaves and debris should be kept from piling up on your roof and/or gutters. Tree limbs should be kept from rubbing/brushing the shingles. After the first five years, boot jacks should be inspected to ensure they’re not cracking around your plumbing pipes. After that every two years they should be inspected as the average life expectancy of these flashings is around 6 to 10 years, and are frequently the cause of leaks on roofs."
D- "What sets Golden Rule GC apart from the other?"
R- "We focus on providing top-notch customer service. Our job is never complete until the customer is 100% satisfied. Upfront, we do a thorough inspection of the entire home, not just the roof. After inspecting the roof, we inspect the exterior of the home, from paint to windows, rotten wood on soffits and fascia. We check the windows for proper seals. We check the foundation for issues and erosion. We check that the home is properly ventilated. We check the soffit and roof vents to ensure proper attic ventilation. We check dryer vents, whether roof or wall mounted to ensure these vents are not clogged with lint and present a fire hazard. After a thorough inspection we advise customers on the pros and cons of filing an insurance claim as if it were a claim on our home. Once a claim is filed, we make sure that the claim is properly paid for and that the insurance company didn’t miss anything that should be paid for. We document everything with pictures and negotiate the claim with the insurance company on the customer’s behalf. We check local building codes to ensure all work is completed meets that minimum standard. Upon finishing negotiation with the insurance company and prior to starting work, we inform the customer of all changes to ensure complete transparency. We provide an English/Spanish speaking Jobsite Foreman on all of our jobs to ensure communication between the roofing crew and the customer will be facilitated. We take pictures during the entire process, and take great care to install proper underlayment and flashings on all roofs. We install Ice and Water Barrier in all valleys, low slope areas, walls, and flashings to help ensure there are no leaks which is backed by our Best-in-Industry Five-year warranty on labor, materials and any damages caused by our faulty workmanship."
D- "Do you have any other advice you could give someone with a leaky or hail damaged roof?"
R- "The best piece of advice I can give you when dealing with a roofing contractor is – go with your gut. If you don’t feel completely comfortable with the person you’re dealing with, don’t sign anything. Roofing salespeople can be as bad as used car salespeople sometimes."
Speaking from experience, I have dealt both both the "storm chasers" and a top quality contractor. Believe me, you will sleep much better at night using a seasoned professional. For my money, Golden Rule G.C cant be beat. If you are in their area, I suggest giving them a call. If not, take heed to Randy's advice.