Hail season is here in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and all of Southern Colorado when it hits how do you choose a roofing contractor? I recommend that you always use a local contractor, however, sometimes it is difficult to know who is local and who isn’t.

Storm Chasers have it down to a science, they come into an area and buy a local name and phone number, they look like a local contractor but usually have out-of-state plates on their trucks, sometimes that is your best clue that you aren’t dealing with a local guy. I suggest you ask questions like: “Are you a member of the Chamber or local BBB?” “What is your favorite local restaurant?” “Who do you know?” and the favorite question in Pueblo, “What high school did you go to?” or “What color does the bell ring?” These are questions that will tell you pretty quickly who you are dealing with. If they don’t know what “bell” you are talking about, they aren’t local.

Why not deal with a storm chaser? These guys come into a town, set up shop, and do as many roofs as possible as quickly as possible and then head to the next storm, in many cases leaving behind problems and issues and possibly even material bills that may leave your home open to have a lien filed against it.

Why use a local contractor? These guys are in your town, understand your weather and the special concerns of our area such as high winds, hail, and regional building codes. Their livelihood demands that they take care of problems or they soon will be out of work. They aren’t likely to pack up and move to the next state overnight.  However, just because they are local doesn’t mean they are honest; do some checking.

Most contractors will give you a free estimate and will work with your insurance company to help you file your claim. I suggest that you call a roofer before the insurance company to ensure the damage is worth filing a claim. Many insurance companies count a claim against your policy even if they don’t pay anything out. This can cause your rates to go up.

If you have called your insurance company first, don’t show the insurance paperwork to the contractors until you have chosen who you will be working with. The contractor needs to see the paperwork so that they can make sure it is correct, in many cases insurance companies miss things that should be replaced, your contractor can help get these things taken care of.

The cheapest bid is not always the least expensive. Do not choose your contractor by price alone. Do some research, ask for references, check with the regional building department, check that they are licensed and insured and beware if they want large amounts of money up front.

T-lock shingles have been discontinued so in most cases even mild wind or hail damage will get you a new roof. Pueblo has been rated as a high wind area requiring shingles to be warranted for 90 mph or better. Some shingles meet this rating easily, Certainteed’s Grand Manor, Presidential and Malarkey Legacy for example other shingles need to have special underlayments and extra nails to meet the requirement, some shingles will never get there.

Your insurance company, local supply companies and your friends and neighbors and the Better Business Bureau can be good resources for hiring a contractor. Your roof should last you a long time and it protects everything in your home, take the time to find someone you trust to do the job for you.

Rory Huskin – Owner of Cornerstone Roofing, where integrity is the cornerstone of our business.

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