Getting the Right Price for a Roofing Job

When you shop around to find the best deal you can get on a new car it makes a lot of sense. We know that a brand new car is going to be the same no matter what dealer you buy it from. Shopping around to find the cheapest roofing contractor to do your roofing job is a totally different story. In this case you are more likely to get what you pay for.

But of course the solution is not to run around and find the most expensive contractors – an equally poor solution. In dozens upon dozens of cases, I have seen roofers bid (in total) what the actual costs were for a job (materials and labor, meaning they would make little to no money), and I’ve seen roofers bid 10 times the fair price for a job. Unfortunately, this is now a routine occurrence and getting a fair price from a good contractor is tantamount to walking a minefield.

I have seen consumers reason “If a contractor made a mistake and badly underbid my job, this is good for me” but it very rarely is. If he messed up and gave you a price he can’t possibly live up to, things invariably go badly. I’ve been called in to bid countless jobs where contractors had simply walked off the job because it was cheaper for him to just walk away. And in most cases he walked away having been paid for more work than was done, so, the consumer lost out but invariably, the jobs were a mess and much of it had to be redone. And it’s more than just finding the 3 highest rated contractors and choosing the cheapest of the lot. Although that is certainly a good place to start.

Get the RIght Price for a Roofing Job

Get the RIght Price for a Roofing Job

First of all, your goal as a consumer should be to know – what is a fair price. You will at least be most likely to find that out if you get prices from 3-4 of the highest rated and most popular roofers in your area. Just make sure they’re all bidding the same thing.

There are a few other things that you should be aware of as a consumer and look for. One of the first things is, whether or not the person you’re dealing with is a trained roofer (and has therefore properly bid the details of your job since I can assure you, it’s the details that usually leak, not the middle of the roof). You might be surprised to know that a lot of the people running around giving roofing estimates have little or no background in roofing.

Since you are not an expert roofer yourself there are admittedly not very many ways you can quiz your roofer to ascertain his level of knowledge however in the normal course of conversations about various different materials and what not, if you pay close attention you can sometimes glean how much experience a roofer has. He should be able to easily answer your questions and there should be no inconsistencies in the data.

Also, if your roofing estimator hands you a simple piece of paper with a limited scope of work (especially handwritten), this is not a good sign. And unfortunately this is how many roofing estimators operate but in the year 2015 this is simply no longer acceptable. You may not want to see (or have to read) a 12 page contract but you do need one because roofing jobs can be expensive and can get out of hand and you want to know that your contract covers everything that can (and often does) happen.

In short, you want everything laid out and agreed upon and that’s not going to happen with a handwritten, one page contract. Doing business “old school” is quaint, but unwise. Gone are the days of handshake deals and promises to do good work. If your roofing contractor gives you a very simple contract then he’s leaving a lot of room for loopholes and that is not good for you as a consumer, just ask any lawyer.

It goes without saying you should first do the basics: check their license for complaints with the CSLB, see that they have a bond (info located on CSLB), ensure they have workers comp (for ALL the roofers that will be on your job), have liability insurance and are highly rated, have a professional website and have a legitimate place of business (and not a house, an actual place of business).

Once you’ve done all your homework it’s down to deciding who you liked best and this is a good time to go with your gut. If you’ve “done the math” and taken all the basics out of the decision, it should be an easy decision. Lastly, I recommend signing the papers at the place of business as the final seal on the deal. A real roofing company should have a real place of business and it’s indicative of someone who plans to be around for a while and if you have problems with your roof, you know where to find them!

Posted in New Roofing, Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing leaks
Leave a comment

How to Choose a Good Roofer

I’ve talked a little in the past about how to choose a roofer – a good roofer and here it is again in a nutshell because let’s face it, this is the most important decision in getting a new roof.

If he is among the top rated roofers (at least 4 stars) on Yelp and Google, this is a good start though you should really choose someone who has at least 20 reviews, many of which are older. Of course Angie’s List is also an excellent source but not everyone is a member.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to 3 or 4 choices, you can call a local roofing supplier and see what they think of your choices. You may not get a lot of info, but you usually get some feedback that is at least interesting and sometimes very helpful. You may be surprised how candid they will be, after all, they service the roofers and if you are feeding them the names already, you can at least be assured you’ve not been fed a bad roofer from them since you already checked them out. Do not hire “X” roofer just because your neighbor did and had a good job.  How does he know? Your neighbor isn’t a roofer and maybe the roofer he hired is horrible but just happened to do a good job for once. But if the roofer your neighbor recommends is also one of the top rated, then that is a good sign, but only that and should not be a decision point.

Then of course check license numbers at the CSLB for complaints. NOTE: The BBB is not, in my experience, any kind of reliable indicator of a good business any longer and should be ignored. Surprisingly, local community boards and even hardware stores are often good sources to check. If one roofer keeps popping up, then this is a good sign.

Taking a look at the bids is also important. A roofing bid scratched out, with minimal details on a single sheet of paper is not a good sign. You want detail, with strong, definite and legally binding language that will protect you as a consumer. Some people are turned off by long contracts with lots of language but this language spells out in detail your rights and unless you take the contractor to court, which you may not win, he’s not obliged to do anything he didn’t say he was going to do. Don’t skimp on this. It’s not fun, but it’s important.

Since you probably know little to nothing about roofing, you have almost no chance of ensuring that even a good roofer will in fact do a good job.  But – you can ensure that he has a good rep and a good rep in this industry is critical so he will likely do anything to keep it. He’s going to do what he’s got to do in order to make sure you’re happy (before, during or after the job) and write great reviews about him.  The goal of any good company is not a cliché, it is a “happy customer.”

good roofer

Make Sure you Get a Good Roofer

Posted in New Roofing, Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing leaks
Leave a comment

New Re-Roof Mandate in City of Los Angeles

LA City has just ambushed its property owners and the roofing industry with a new re-roofing ordinance (#183149) mandating that ALL property owners must install ultra-reflective roofing when re-roofing more than 50% of their building, or for any new construction (whereas previously this was limited to very specific circumstances which made a lot more sense). This applies now to all roofs; shingle, tile, flat, slopes, slate, etc. It happened overnight, with no real warning to anyone.  In essence, everyone must now install special, expensive, ugly and difficult to purchase roofing which reflects the sun.

Ordinance 183149 will cost property owners, on average, an additional $2000 for a (typical home). I have considerable experience with roofing, ultra-reflective roofs, ventilation, insulation and so on.  I’ve always advocated ultra-reflective roofing but only for flat roofs or for very particular circumstances – never as an all-encompassing solution applicable to every scenario.  It is well known that one can achieve fantastic energy efficiency through proper ventilation, radiant barriers and insulation (which helps you during the winter, and not just during the summer). But that is not what this ordinance is about.  This is solely about the urban heat island (UHI) effect.

In the EPAs own website on page one they list 4 ways to combat the urban heat island (UHI).  The first two are listed here:

You can guess what the other two are, but can you imagine what a fiasco we’d have on our hands, in the incredible drought we are facing, if we’d all planted gardens on our roofs that we have to water every day?  If the EPAs theory on garden roofs being an effective UHI reducer is so clearly wrongheaded or at least narrow-minded, then perhaps all their theories should be questioned.  I love trees and grass as much or even more than anyone, but this would create one problem to solve another (I am in favor of planting trees as they are far more efficient but that’s another topic).

Bottom line, this ordinance will make property owners foot the bill to specifically “lower the urban heat island effect” and rather than spreading that cost out evenly to all taxpayers, it is targeted at those few who own property and can “afford” a new roof.  And it is going to decimate the roofing industry which has never recovered from 2007 because frankly, it hasn’t rained since 2007!  No rain, no leaks.  No leaks, no roofing.

Why did LA City do this if no one wants this?  My guess is shear ignorance.  To highlight this ignorance, here is an excerpt from one of, if not the principle study the EPA uses to outline UHI reduction, done by the Heat Island Group, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory:

“In most applications, cool roofs incur no additional cost if color changes are incorporated into routine re-roofing and resurfacing schedules (Bretz et al. 1997 and Rosenfeld et al. 1992).

And what is this other study being referenced?  A study done in Greece in the 90s which, near as I can tell, mostly concerns color changing paints (which I’ve never even heard of being employed anywhere) and painting buildings and roofs white.  We have all seen pictures of Greece, and one thing you do not see are a bunch of composition shingles roofs!  But more importantly, what they claim is in most applications no additional costs will be incurred.  Well that is just wrong, as you now know.  Call any roof supplier and ask the price difference between ordinary roof products and ultra-reflective ones.

Worse than that, the EPA’s estimate of energy savings once all their UHI goals are met (everyone has a cool roof, cool pavement everywhere, massive amounts of additional trees and vegetation, and so forth) is targeted at $100 per household annually.  So if you’re lucky, and your new roof only costs you an additional $2000, it will take 20 years for you to see that money returned.  And in about another 10 years, you’ll be obliged to install yet another costly roof.  In other words, you’re probably never going to see the upside of this, particular in LA which is a very transient society (we move around a lot, you know this).

If you disagree with this New Re-Roof Mandate in the City of Los Angeles ordinance, let your city councilman know!

Posted in New Roofing, Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor
Leave a comment

Not Raining, No Roof Troubles, Right?

I know it stopped raining. It seems like August in LA. But that does NOT mean you have no roof troubles. Now is the time to check to see what it is that needs help on your roof. If you wait for the next rain – you will get a long line of others in SoCal who have ALSO waited for Mother Nature to remind them of the troubles.

Put it on your HoneyDo list or add it to your weekend schedule. Maybe just pick up the phone and call a roofer. Make an appointment. Most roofers will come out if you know you have troubles and give you a free estimate. If you have not checked for roof troubles in a year or longer, trust me, it’s worth the cost of a visit.

Roof Troubles?

Roof Trouble?

J and J Roofing charges $155 to come out and fully inspect your roof. The inspection also covers any basic maintenance needed and the sealing of anything found that looks vulnerable or open. Make sure to have your original roofing documents available that detail the age of the roof and any prior repairs or warranty documentation. Have in mind any work done in the past on that roof including A/C work or satellite dish installation.

You should have your roof evaluated to see if you need your roof cleaned and debris removed. They will check for areas that are weathering prematurely. You need to know if repairmen or installers have damaged your roof. Perhaps the recent storms caused damage from wind, heavy rain or debris thrown around by the storm. The inspector will thoroughly check for leaks and evaluate drainage trouble. All of this will determine if you need any warranty maintenance or repairs.

You can email or call today or fill out our form on the website. Or if you are not in our area – find another reputable roofer who will charge a similar amount.They will give you the answer so you have no roof troubles!

Posted in Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing leaks
Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Tips on Hiring a Roofer

As a roofer I’ve spoken with thousands of clients over the years about what they need and want when hiring a roofer. From time to time I’ve noticed they seem to have difficulty describing what they want, either because they are concerned they are asking for too much and feel I may take liberties with how much I do or for some other reason but it usually boils down to money.

First and foremost, make sure you’re dealing with a roofer that you trust. If you trust your roofer and he knows what he’s doing then for the most part you should let him determine what needs to happen but you also need to give him some idea of your attitude toward the situation. If we’re talking about roof leaks, you should let him know if these are causing expensive damage, and if you really must have them fixed, guaranteed, or not. That may sound odd but many times I’ve had clients who were somewhat indifferent about the leaks, the damage was already done or the damage that it was causing wasn’t that critical and they were more interested in spending less money than they were in definitely handling the leaks. And I’ve had clients who did not care what it cost, the leaks must be stopped.

As a roofer I need to know this. A good honest roofer is not going to mind trying to save his client money, but if he is saving you money, that usually means he’s probably not doing the job in the most complete way possible. For example I can always guarantee solving leaks if I re-roof the entire area over the leak. But if I’m just putting some mastic or silicone on some cracks here and there or replacing a shingle or two, we can’t make the same guarantee. If repairs could always solve the problem, no one would ever need a new roof.

If you feel being so candid with your roofer will cause him to be overly cautious and overbid the situation, you really should not be. If he is a good roofer, he will simply bid what must be done to absolutely stop the leak. If stopping the leak isn’t “the end of the world” then, let him know that he can take a risk.

Matt Glass is one of the family members who own J and J Roofing in Los Angeles, Ca. J and J offer free estimates for your roofing troubles. (Free estimate does not apply to properties listed or in escrow.)  If you are hiring a roofer, give us a call! 877.7MY.ROOF or  323.913.4190


Matt Glass doing a Roof Inspection

Matt Glass – Headed Up to a Roof Inspection

Posted in New Roofing, Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing leaks
Leave a comment

We Finally Had the Rain, Now Inspect The Roof

It has finally rained all over America, including Southern California. Did you know that now is the time to inspect the roof? You can do this by yourself or call a local roofing company to do it for you.

The first step is the exterior inspection. You should take a walk around the eaves of your roof. Check for any paint that is peeling or dry rot up under the eave in the soffit area. In case you don’t know, the Soffit is the underside of a part of a building (like an overhang or staircase). You can tell if it’s dry rot, by poking at it with a screwdriver. If the screwdriver goes in easily, you’ve most likely got a roof leak.


Inspect The Roof (This is the Soffit.)

You next need to inspect the roof.  You might need to use binoculars to help you to see. First, ensure that none of the roofing material, such as slate, shingles, wood shingles, wood shakes, tile or any flat roofing such as hot tar or torchdown has come loose, is curling, blistering or starting to flare up.  If you have had a recent windstorm, this can be particularly important.

Thoroughly walk around inside your home. Make sure the lights are on and use a flashlight to check your ceilings and walls for discoloration.  Check inside closets and particularly over the furnace, tubs, sinks, the stove, inside the water heater closet, around the chimney, etc.

Roof leakage is often caused by flashing, which is a strip of metal used to stop water from penetrating the junction of a roof with another surface. Vent pipes that go out through the roof have flashings sealed with mastic or tar and can be the source for a roof leak.  Your chimney has a metal flashing, also a metal saddle or cricket that can also leak and all these things need to be sealed again and again for the life of a roof.

Inspect the Roof. Problems are often caused by flashing

Inspect the Roof. Problems are often caused by flashing

Skylights are often the cause of a leak. Sometimes it’s the skylight itself or it might be the skylight flashing that connects the skylight box or curb, to the roof.  Skylights have a rubber gasket between the glass and the skylight frame and they often will last only 10 years.

If you have an open beam or cathedral ceiling area with exposed wood (meaning, you don’t have an attic or crawlspace over this room) check these areas when it is raining. Usually there is very little sign except faint drip lines unless you happen to catch the water dripping during the rain.  If you hold the light at the right angle you can usually see these.
Once you have done this inspection, you can call your roofer to come handle what you have found. Just because you have a leak, you don’t necessarily need a whole new roof. Many roof leaks are able to be repaired, unless the roof is very old.

J and J Roofing offers a $155 Roof Maintenance Check and they will inspect the roof and it also covers basic maintenance and sealing of anything we find that looks vulnerable or open.

Posted in Roofer, Roofing, roofing leaks
Leave a comment

Roof Trouble – What Does That Mean?

Winter is upon us and (someday) the rains will come to SoCal. And with the rain comes roof trouble. Of course, a leaky roof is the most troublesome and common problem that home and business owners deal with. But what else might need your attention?

Roofing shingles, tiles and other materials are susceptible to blow-offs when not properly installed from the beginning. Where flashing is not correctly attached, open seams and laps can cause such problems.

Lack of regular roofing maintenance is the main cause of roof trouble. For most people, the knowledge of how to maintain a roof is beyond their understanding and therefore, coupled with financial reasons, it can be neglected. Not only can this be the cause of leaks and blow-offs, but in some cases this can void a warranty. Finding and taking care of minor problems before they worsen can abate roof trouble and maximize the life of your roof.

Avoid Roof Trouble - use licensed and insured roofer

Avoid Roof Trouble. Always hire a licensed and insured roofer.

Faulty installation is also a major reason for roof trouble. When buying a roof, it’s important to speak to several roofers. You want to make sure that they are completely insured, bonded, have decades of roofing experience and they are actually licensed for roofing. You may find that the cheapest bid is not always the best company to go with. There is usually a reason that they are cheap.

The same goes for roofing repairs. It may seem like a great idea to have your favorite handy-man or your nephew climb up on the roof and take care of evident roof trouble. Not such a good idea – roofing is an actual science and there’s a reason that only licensed roofing contractors are, by law, allowed to handle roofing matters.

J and J Roofing handles all your roofing needs including an affordable roof maintenance check to avoid roof trouble. For $155 you get an inspection of your roof and simple maintenance to help ensure your roofing system works. Unless you have a brand new roof, we suggest this be done annually.


Posted in Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor
Leave a comment

Flat Roofing for the 21st Century

Flat roofing has come a long way in the last 20 years. While hot tar still has its place, it’s slowly becoming a dinosaur. One of the more exciting roofing alternatives is silicone. We’ve all heard of silicone, but little is broadly known about its application as a roofing system. That’s mostly because there have been few manufacturers making liquid silicone products making it very expensive.  However there are several manufactures now, prices have subsequently come down. Why should you consider silicone? Here are a few reasons:

A silicone flat roof is almost always cheaper than a traditional tear off and re-roof – particularly where an ultra-reflective roof material is mandated as with most commercial, air-conditioned structures. Silicone flat roofing is pretty close to, if not the most ultra-reflective roof on earth, which can save money on the AC bill in warmer climates. Also, because of its nature, it remains ultra-reflective whereas most other reflective roofs (acrylic-elastomeric) deteriorate over time and become far less reflective.

Silicone Flat Roofing for the 21st Century

Silicone Flat Roofing for the 21st Century

Because of its ultra-reflectivity, many people are eligible for rebates from various energy saving entities (your electrical provider, the City, the Fed, etc – you’ll have to check as the programs come and go). Because it’s a repair, usually no permit is needed. For some entities (HOAs) a silicone flat roof can be a full tax write off in the year it’s done, whereas often re-roofs must be amortized over 39 years for full tax benefit.  Since the existing roofing is not torn off there’s no major noise, dirt, dust. The roof deck does not need to be left exposed for an entire night/day/night for the city inspection so there’s less exposure and liability.

It’s important that you choose a real silicone flat roof system and have it installed by someone who is actually certified to install the given system. Do not just opt to have someone cheaply coat a dirty flat roof with a single coating of silicone. This will not be effective nor will it likely last very long and will still be a very expensive mistake (the silicone product itself is not cheap, so get it done right). Generally it involves a thorough cleaning, some repairs such as drain replacement, an entire epoxy coating and then two coatings of silicone.

Most coatings you have heard about over the last 30 years are acrylic and frankly, I have not seen them perform well as systems though if re-coated regularly, can last a long time. A good quality acrylic elastomeric coating can go a long way to restoring a roof and extending its life but will require expensive re-coatings at least every 10 years.  If you view costs long term (over 15-20 years), silicone flat roof is the way to go. It is also the only roofing product that is impervious to ponding water which can be a big deal for many dead flat or ponding roofs and silicone coating have been known to last many decades.

Posted in New Roofing, Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor
Leave a comment

Roof Inspection Time is Now

Fall is here and winter is on the way. In SoCal – especially over the past few years – this has not really meant much difference as far as the weather goes, but it is still an important time to have your roof inspection done.

While your roof is one of your building’s most valuable assets, it is also one of the most vulnerable parts of your home or office.

You don’t want a leaky roof when the rains come. Believe me. When you wait to phone a roofer after a few inches of rain and the pitter-patter of raindrops is keeping you awake at night – you will find yourself in a long line of other Californians who have forgotten all about their poor neglected roof.

A professional roof inspection ensures continued efficiency and extends the optimum life of the roof.

A qualified roofing inspection will:
Evaluate your need for roof cleaning and debris removal
Find and assess areas that are weathering prematurely
Discover any destruction created by repairman or unit installers
Locate previous storm damage caused by wind, heavy rain or debris.
Thoroughly inspect for leak assessment
Evaluate drainage problems
Determine any need for warranty maintenance or repair

Before the inspection make sure to gather your documents detailing the age of the roof as well as any prior repairs and warranty documentation. Be ready to alert the inspector of any work done on your roof since your last inspection, such as satellite dish or A/C unit work.

Matt Glass doing a Roof Inspection

Matt Glass doing a Roof Inspection

First the inspector will visually inspect the surface of the roof, noting any surface deterioration and previous water ponding.

He will check if any tile or roofing material has come loose, curling, is blistering or starting to flare up.  Next he will check for signs of leaks. When done, he will analyze the information he has gathered.

When you have J and J do your annual roof inspection, the cost of $155.00 covers the inspection and also covers basic maintenance and sealing of anything we find that looks open or vulnerable.

Posted in General
Leave a comment

Roof Leaks – A Common Reason

One of the most common reasons for roof leaks is due to the vent pipe seal. Most homes have an average of around 6 vent pipes though larger homes with several bathrooms can have well over 10.

These pipes are connected to various objects in the house, such as sinks, toilets, bath tubs, water heaters, and various other heater vents and kitchen stoves. These pipes project through the roof, usually about a foot, and when you’re roof is installed a metal flashing which looks like a cone is installed around the pipe and then sealed. The roof leak problem is that there is a joint between the flashing and the pipe. Usually the joint is quite small – perhaps a mm or less, but sometimes the joint, for various reasons, can be a quarter inch. This is usually sealed with common mastic or tar but when cheap mastic gets old and hard and gray, usually due to vibrations it is very common for this joint to open up.

Typically homeowners will have their vent pipes resealed every five years and this can cost anywhere from $150 – $400. One way to avoid this and roof leaks is to have your roofer three-course seal your pipes using a kind of black asphalt impregnated webbing along with a high-quality rubberized mastic. After which the mastic should be painted with a high metallic metal enamel which will lock the oils of the mastic in so that they don’t bleed through, and then a metal enamel paint can be applied over that which more closely matches the roof color.

Roof Leak can be caused by vent pipe seal.

Roof Leak can be caused by vent pipe seal.

This can be done by a homeowner, the webbing may or may not be available at your local hardware store but it certainly can be purchased from your local roofing supplier. It’s important once again, to use a rubberized mastic. Henry’s makes a version called 209 in a 1 gallon can and that should be enough to do your average home. If your vent pipes are sealed this way they can last 10 years, sometimes even longer.

Posted in Roofer, Roofing, Roofing Contractor, roofing leaks
Leave a comment