Why fix the roof while the sun isn't shining?

publication date: Jan 22, 2015
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

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Why fix the roof while the sun isn't shining?

Sometimes it’s only when the weather turns wet or windy that you notice your roof has sprung a leak, the wind has lifted some tiles off, or worse. Whatever the problem, you’ll want to get it fixed quickly. The roof, after all, is the most important part of your property.

How do I choose a good roofing contractor?
It might seem easiest to go to local advertisements, the yellow pages or the internet. However, none of these are safe; rogue traders advertise their companies using webpage designers or advertising agents to make their ads look professional and bona fide. The only secure way to choose a reputable contractor is to find them through a trade association, such as the Confederation of Roofing Contractors, or CORC. Most trade associations check prospective members’ work first before accepting them, and some like CORC offer a fully-insured 10-year guarantee through Home Improvement Protection that protects the consumer if a defect arises in that period.

Read - How to choose a roofing contactor checklist 

How do I spot a rogue roofing contractor?
Rogue contractors can seem polite, professional and plausible. It may only be after they have fleeced a customer for hundreds or thousands of pounds, don’t answer the phone and don’t honour a bogus guarantee that the customer realises they’ve been swindled, and need to fork out still more to get the roof fixed. It’s easy to avoid this sorry situation by approaching a trade association for a list of reputable local roofing contractors, with up-to-date professional indemnity, employer and public liability insurance.

Read - How to avoid a rogue trader checklist

What’s it going to cost, and do I need to pay a deposit?
It’s always a good idea to get three quotes for any job. Meet with the contractors and show them the problem inside and outside. Check their insurance covers anything that might go wrong. Then find out what their day or hourly rate is, and ask them for a fixed quote. You’ll also want to know how long they estimate the job will take, and ask them to list charges for labour and materials so you can see exactly where your cash is going. If they want a deposit, ask what happens if the work fails to go ahead. Don’t hand over any cash until you have an agreement in writing!

Read - Your maintenance budget checklist

What if things go wrong?
It’s wise to check which guarantees you’ll have before work starts (such as CORC members’ 10-year guarantee). And if you can be on the property while the repairs are ongoing, you can sort out problems as they arise. If you’re unhappy with some aspect of the work, discuss it there and then – don’t wait until the job is finished! Complain in writing, explaining why you’re not happy and say how you’d like them to deal with it. CORC have an independent, third-party complaints procedure you can use if you’re still unsatisfied. 

All our information is brought to you by Kate Faulkner, author of Which? Property books and one of the UK's top property experts.
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