Everything you need to know about roofing: An Interview with Brett Werner
Secrets to a Healthy Roof
Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.
Roof Doctors has been in business since 1987. The company originally started in the Greater Sacramento area and has grown into the Central Valley and SF & Monterey Bay Area. Unlike other roofing companies, we focus on repairs, certifications, and extending the life of roofs. Other roofing companies will usually try to sell a new roof whether it’s needed or not because this is where they make their money. An inspector at Roof Doctors typically looks at 15-20 roofs a day. Because we look at so many per day we are able to do the inspections at no charge. Most companies will charge around $100 for a roof inspection because the roofer is taking time away from a potential roof replacement or repair.
Since we started tracking roof inspection volume in 2010, we have looked at over 105,000 roofs! Our inspectors see more roofs and leak problems in 1 year than most roofers will see in 10! This makes our roof inspectors more qualified and experienced than anyone else out there. Another thing that sets us apart is that all of our repairmen are all licensed contractors. This means we aren’t sending out an unskilled laborer to do repairs under our license. Roof Doctors also installs rain gutter leaf guards, does dry-rot repairs on the eaves, and does pigeon proofing. We repair most types of residential roofs including composition, concrete tile, clay tile, wood shake, & steel.
What’s one of the biggest challenges that homeowners face when it comes to their roofs?
The first challenge is that most people don’t pay attention to their roof unless there is a problem. When people are looking at purchasing a new home, a lot of the time they don’t have a roof inspection completed by a licensed roofer. Buyers usually just rely on the home inspection report. Most home inspectors don’t climb on the roof and therefore, don’t give a complete report on its condition. Those Home Inspectors who do climb on roofs base their reports on knowledge they learned from books. Though this knowledge is good and Home Inspectors are extremely careful and diligent, they don’t have the experience that is gained by actually inspecting and diagnosing leaks. This knowledge can only be learned by an experienced roof inspector who has been in the field.
The other large challenge that owners have is that few people inform them of the ongoing maintenance required to keep a roof from leaking. The term “life-time roof” is misleading and gives owners a false sense of security. The reality is, continued maintenance is required to keep a roof watertight. Tile roofs are a great example of this. The tiles themselves don’t wear down like composition and wood shake over time so people think they last forever.
The reality is that tiles break and slip out of place over time. Vibrations from house settling, cars, and people walking in the house can cause these things to occur. Even more important is keeping the flashings clean. Leaves and debris break up over time and turn into a mud/mulch in the flashings that gets under the tiles and causes water blockage. This causes water to spill off the flashings instead of running down towards the gutters. Water will eventually leak through the underlayment and wood sheathing and into the home. This blockage cannot be seen without lifting up tiles and inspecting the flashings below. Flashings should be cleaned out roughly every 10-15 years to prevent this.
Buyers should get a roof inspection completed before purchasing a home and take the recommendations for repairs seriously. Once a roof leaks the cost of repairs is much more than just the roof repairs. The leak could cause structural and wood damage in the framing, drywall damage, paint costs, and sometimes flooring and personal item damage. Homeowners should have their roof inspected every 5 years or so to take care of any maintenance issues. Roof Doctors does not charge for our inspections so scheduling one is a no brainer.
What are the most popular roofing materials you install and how long does the process take from start to finish?
Most of our repairs are on composition, tile, and wood shake roofs. We also work on many other types of roofs except flat application roofs. Our website goes into more detail. Typically a repair can be done in less than a day, however, it really just depends on the amount of problems we find during the inspection.
What are some important things a homeowner should consider before hiring a roofing contractor?
Most importantly a homeowner should always hire a licensed roofer. Saving a little money to have a handyman or laborer do your repairs will probably lead to poor workmanship and likely continued problems. Often times you will end up paying more in the long run because a licensed roofer will have to come out later and fix the old repair and actually solve the problem. You get what you pay for. Experience does matter so find a roofing company that has been in business a long time, has looked at a lot of roofs, and has performed many repairs.
Repairing a roof isn’t the same as installing one so not all installers are good at repairs. Find a company like Roof Doctors that specializes in repairs. Make sure the company you hire is licensed, bonded, and insured. Roof Doctors is licensed, bonded, insured, is a Super Service Award winner with Angie’s List and has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. Don’t get sold on replacing your roof until you have had Roof Doctors give you a 2nd opinion. Chances are we can get you many more years out of your current roof and save you a lot of money.
Can you explain the typical length of a roof warranty and what it should cover?
When a new roof is installed, typically the installer will guarantee the roof for 10-15 years. When it comes to repairs and roof certifications on older roofs, many roofing companies are not willing to put their neck outs and certify. If they do offer a certification, most of the time it has tons of exclusions and is written in a way that gives the roofer excuses out of doing any continued repairs at no cost to the owner. A lot of the roof certifications have a set dollar limit as well on how much they cover. Typically a roof certification is for 2 years and sometimes for 3.
Certifications do not cover interior damage, flat roofs, skylights, HVAC units, or acts of God. Roof Doctors offers a 2 year certification on the roofs we inspect. For additional money we are sometimes able to offer a 3 year certification. Many times a roof is found to be certifiable as-is during our inspections. If not, we include an estimate for required repairs needed for our company to feel comfortable certifying the roof. Our certification has no-limit on the dollar amount of repairs we will perform if we have to come out and fix a leak on a certified roof. The certification covers most situations and repairs. For more information check out the Roof Doctors website.
What advice would you give someone who’s in a situation where they need an emergency roof repair because of a leak or dry rot?
Immediately call Roof Doctors and schedule an inspection to get the ball rolling. Typically we can be out within 1-2 business days. Remove all furniture and belongings from underneath the leak and place a bucket or other container to catch the water. If the leak is heavy or the paint and ceiling is bubbling; you can poke a small hole in the ceiling to give the water an escape. This will lead to less damage and a cheaper fix to the ceiling and paint. If a roofer can’t get to you soon enough for your satisfaction and you feel safe doing so, apply a weighted tarp over the leaking area. The tarp would need to extend uphill and over the ridge to keep water from going underneath it as it runs down the roof. Do not climb on your roof when it is wet or if there is lightning. If your roof is steep or very high stay off of it. The risk isn’t worth it.
What’s the best way for people to reach you and your company?
We can be contacted through our website: www.roofdoctors.com, by email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone: 800-913-1180. If you go to our website you can order an inspection by clicking on the “Order Inspection” page.
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