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Tips for roof replacements

Here are recommendations from Bill Good, executive vice president of the National Roofing Contractors Association, and others if you do need to have your roof replaced:

Make sure the contractor has a license – if your state and local governments require one – and proof of insurance. You can also check with state or local regulators to find out if a contractor is licensed and insured.

Many licensing agencies allow consumers to search for licensed contractors on their Web sites. Some states put court records online, allowing consumers to see whether a contractor has been sued.

Check with local consumer protection agencies and groups to see if a contractor has faced complaints. “You’d be amazed at how many companies should get knocked out just because they’re not licensed and insured,” Good said.

If homeowners do nothing more than choose contractors based on that, “they probably will go a long way,” he said.

Make sure the contractor has a permanent place of business, one way to screen out “fly by night” roofers.

Look at shingles in person before choosing a style and color, rather than relying on a roof manufacturers’ Web site or a brochure. Color can look dramatically different on an actual shingle than it does in a picture.

Get several estimates. Make sure they are in writing and cover everything.

Get familiar with roofing terms so you’ll know what contractors are talking about and won’t be dazzled by marketing phrases such as “integrated roofing system.” Sheathing, flashing, drip edge, fascia, felt and underlayment are among terms you will likely hear.

Be sure to get a lien release from the contractor before you make your final payment.

A lien release is a simple statement from the contractor that payment was received for the specific work performed, and that the contractor waives any right to a claim or lien against the homeowner. This protects the homeowner should the contractor fail to pay a third party, such as the roofing supplier.

Get two warranties from the contractor: one for labor and another for the shingles.

– Associated Press

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