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As a homeowner, there are many reasons to invest in a new roof. Perhaps your roof has come to the natural end of its useful life, has suffered damage from storms or moisture, or your shingles are curled, cracked, or cupped. Knowing how to avoid a roofing scam will ensure you get a quality roof replacement and don’t pay for services that you don’t actually need.
Roofing scams fall into three main categories: sales scams, quality scams, and legal scams. We’ll discuss what to look for in each type and how to avoid falling for them.
Roofing Sales Scams
It’s common practice in the residential roofing industry to solicit new clients via door knocking, direct mail, and cold calling. Getting contacted by a roofing professional when you are actually looking for a new roof can be a good thing, and a free inspection never hurt anyone. Many times, these salespeople do indeed have your best interests in mind and are trying to help. However, salesmen who are engaging in the following activities have ulterior motives in mind.
Expressing Urgency and/or Instilling Fear
High-pressure sales are the first warning signs of a scam. Offering “today only” deals or insisting that you have a drastic problem that needs to be addressed immediately are meant to coerce homeowners into signing legally binding contracts on the spot without allowing them to take the time to do additional research. Any legitimate roofing contractor will urge you to get a second opinion and won’t mind if you take the time to get multiple bids. A roofing problem that is so drastic it requires immediate attention will be obvious to you as a homeowner and won’t require a roofer to uncover it.
Storm Chasers or Mystery Damage
A common practice in the roofing industry is to solicit customers after a big storm hits. Oftentimes homeowners will sustain damage to their roofs due to hail or wind that does indeed warrant a roof replacement. However, areas hit by big storms are common knowledge, not just to professional roofers, but to everyone and anyone that watches the news or is able to do a quick Google search. Because of this, homeowners in these areas become a prime target for scammers who descend on them like a pack of wolves on an injured deer.
Storm chasers are out there with the sole purpose of following bad weather events in search of damaged roofs or frightened homeowners without damage who can be easily convinced otherwise. Their goal is to make as much money as possible and then get out of town. They often do poor quality work with cheap materials and are most often not licensed or insured.
These types of scammers often overlap with those who claim they “happened to see” damage on your roof, making vague references to terms or pointing out things that you can’t actually see. They will often come by unannounced and ask to take a closer look, only to find that there is actually a “massive amount of damage” again, without any clear evidence of such. Some even go so far as to create damage themselves in order to try and convince you! If a roofing contractor cannot provide you with clear photographic evidence of damage and isn’t willing to take the time to explain it to you, run in the opposite direction.
Roofing contractors who approach you with promises of discounted materials, waived deductibles, and discounts for signing now are not only scamming you, they are most likely engaging in illegal activity as well. While these initial discounts sound great, don’t be fooled. Getting materials that are “left over” from a previous job site is not a practice of a professional company.
Discounts for signing now will be made up for later when additional charges are tacked on due to false claims of “increased labor time” or “increased materials costs”. Waived or reimbursed deductibles indicate a scammer who is going to over-bill the insurance company to recoup that money. This would make both you and the scammer guilty of insurance fraud and you as the homeowner will be hit with a misdemeanor criminal charge to boot!
Roofing Legal Scams
Some types of roofing scams are not only shady, but they are also actually illegal! As aforementioned, offering waived or reimbursed deductibles is illegal and makes the scammer guilty of insurance fraud and you as the homeowner guilty of a misdemeanor criminal charge.
A roofing contractor operating without a license or insurance is also breaking the law and puts you and their subcontractors at risk.
Roofing Quality Scams
The last type of roofing scam is the hardest one to identify because it is often not noticed until the job is underway or months later when your new roof starts to fail. As a homeowner, it can be difficult to tell if the roofing company you hired is using the correct materials and application processes and performing all the work that needs to be done correctly. Without being a roofing expert there are a few things you can look for that can help you determine this before it is too late.
Anyone touting “mandatory inspections” stating that he/she is there to inspect your roof because it is required by law is also a scammer, using the threat of a fake law to intimidate you.
When you’re researching roofers, you may notice that a handful mention they’re a “Certified” “Preferred” or “Master Elite” roofing contractor. These aren’t just buzzwords companies use to sound more professional. They are actually highly-coveted certifications from industry-leading material manufacturers like Owens Corning, CertainTeed, and GAF.
Roofing manufacturers understand that installation quality directly affects how well their products perform, so they award certification to carefully-chosen local contractors who meet the company’s strict standards. A roofing company without any of these is a good indication that they provide subpar workmanship and quality.
While you don’t need to be an expert on building codes, knowing a few specifics can help you discover if your roofing contractor is indeed a professional.
The International Building Code requires you to remove all layers of roof coverings down to the deck when you’re replacing the roof. In Colorado specifically, existing roofs must be removed to deck and replaced where two or more layers of any roof covering exist. If your roofing contractor is making a show of putting on new shingles but is not tearing off the old shingles and the felt down to the decking (the foundation of your roofing system that connects the roof to your house) then they are probably not in compliance with code. In addition, since many of the problems that occur with roofs are actually below the surface, they may miss remedying the actual issue at fault.
Every jurisdiction has codes for minimum R- Values. In Colorado, existing roofs without insulation in the cavity and where the sheathing or insulation is exposed during reroofing shall be insulated either above (R-30ci) or below (R-38 Flat/R-49 Attic) the sheathing. If your roofing contractor is not familiar with these requirements, it should be a red flag.
At Kapella Roofing, we always request mid-roof inspections, even though they are not required. This allows us to ensure the best possible quality for our clients and gives them peace of mind, knowing that they have chosen a professional roofing contractor. If your roofer does not request this, it might be a sign that they are looking to scam you.
How to Avoid a Roofing Scam
Your best defense against a roofing scam is to take your time and do your homework. Check out the company’s website, look for online reviews, and see what others have to say. Ask for their license and insurance details and check to see if they are certified by roofing material manufacturers. Never sign anything on the spot, and if a roofing contractor becomes pushy, run in the opposite direction.
When getting your free inspection (yes, they should ALWAYS be free), be sure your roofing contractor takes the time to explain their findings to you, and provides you with a free assessment, photos included. If you’re not sure how to make sense of it all still, bring those findings to your insurance agent or get a second or third inspection by a certified roof inspector to validate them before signing.
When it comes to finding the RIGHT roofing contractor in Denver to handle your roofing needs, you want the roofer you trust. With more than 614 exterior improvements, over 398 referrals, and a 5 star rating on Google, Kapella Roofing is the trusted roofing contractor. We lead our business with the absolute highest quality of workmanship. We pride ourselves on integrity, transparency, and professionalism. Kapella Roofing will make the whole process a breeze. We’ll walk you through every step of the process so you’re completely informed and never feel overwhelmed. For the roofer you can trust to do the job right, schedule your free inspection with Kapella Roofing, the #1 roofing company in Denver.