Recent tornadoes that raked parts of the South and Midwest have left many people without a place to live. The luckier ones survived with their home mostly intact aside from some damage to the roof or siding. Although a homeowner’s first instinct may be to get the damage fixed as soon as possible, making a hasty decision can lead to a substandard job or substandard materials. Even a homeowner in crisis should to take care to find an honest contractor who will rebuild the home with the best materials at the best price.
The Better Business Bureau recommends that you start by checking with your insurance company about policy coverage and specific filing requirements. Save all receipts if you need temporary roofing repairs. Even if your roof is covered with a blue tarp, take time to shop around and get three or four estimates based on the same specifications and materials. To avoid fly-by-night fixers, check out references that are at least one year-old and verify that businesses are licensed or registered to do work in your area. Your building inspector will know if you need a permit.
Make sure you get a written contract from anyone that you hire. Be sure their name, address, license number and phone number are included. Even if you have discussed the type of roofing, what the job entails, how long it will take and other aspects of the job, make sure you read and understand the contract before signing it. You and the contractor should both keep a copy.
Wind-resistant roofing and siding
You should also do your homework to make sure your contractor uses the best materials. When Consumer Reports tests roofing and siding, resistance to wind is one of the factors we consider. In our tests of laminated and three-tab shingles only one, Tamko Heritage Vintage, scored excellent in the wind-resistance test. It was also very good at weathering, which measures resistance to the elements (water, heat, light). Most of the other shingles in our test were good on wind resistance, although a dozen were only fair.
In Consumer Reports tests of vinyl, plastic and fiber cement siding, most scored excellent on the wind resistance test, which simulates winds up to 150 miles-per-hour. The best in our tests also resisted fading and were rigid enough to give a flat wood-like appearance. Our picks for CR Best Buys were Heartland HeartTech and Revere Sovereign Select Energy Smart. Both scored excellent in wind resistance.
—Mary H.J. Farrell