Certified Master Inspector and InterNACHI quoted again in article recommending inspectors.

CLICK HERE for entire Denver Post article: http://www.denverpost.com/business/ci_8341583
Finding a reliable roofer takes work
Here's how to check one out before writing a check.
By Jan Thomas
Special to The Denver Post
Finding a reliable contractor for any home repair is tough, but the search becomes doubly difficult when the contractor you hire is responsible for protecting the roof on your home.
Big issues for Colorado homeowners are roof damage caused by ultraviolet light, wind, snow, hail and, according to Certified Master Inspector Kenton Shepard, a tendency to forgo routine maintenance and ignore small problems until major issues occur.
"If you don't know much about your roof, it's easy to ignore it," he said. "Sooner or later, it will come around to bite you. It will start to leak."
When that happens, finding the right roofer can be difficult, and not because contractors are in short supply. In 2002, the U.S. Department of Commerce identified more than 400 roofing contractors operating in the state. The problem is that the lure of quick money brings scam artists by the dozen.
Make a bad choice in selecting a roofer, and the implications can be severe. The work may not meet basic standards, and in some instances, it might be left incomplete.
"If they're local, odds are they're fine. But we have an element in the industry that drives around in a pickup truck with a ladder in the back," said Susan Liehe, vice president of public affairs for the Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau. "And they've literally got stacks of license plates. They come to Colorado, put on Colorado plates, stick a Denver Broncos sticker or an Avalanche sticker in the window and pretend to be local."
Efforts to get homeowners to use the BBB's database to research roofers before they sign a contract or pay any money seem to be working. Liehe said inquiries about roofing contractors were the third-most popular search topic in 2007, moving up from eighth the year before.
Thanks to its prime location in "hail alley," a portion of the country that stretches from Montana to north Texas, Colorado frequently racks up huge numbers of hail-related homeowners- insurance claims. The most expensive hailstorm — in 1990 — resulted in $625 million of home- and auto-damage claims, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association.
"It's not unusual to have $100 million hailstorms along the Front Range," said association executive director Carole Walker.
Wood roofs, which can crack if dried out, are declining in popularity, Walker said. They're also expensive to replace. Some insurance companies such as State Farm even offer home-insurance discounts to customers willing to invest in top-quality roofing material.
Denver requires building permits for roofing work. This places responsibility for ensuring that the project satisfies code requirements on the permit holder, usually the contractor. But according to Nick Gromicko, founder of the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, relying on city inspectors to verify the quality of work is a bad idea.
"The city doesn't know anything about roofing," Gromicko said. "City inspectors only inspect for safety issues and occupancy issues. They're compliance officers."
Gromicko said homeowners should hire an independent inspector to visit the project while work is underway and immediately after.
"Most of the lawsuits in Denver involving builders and remodelers could be easily solved if (homeowners) would just spend another couple of hundred dollars and have an inspector look over the work," Gromicko said.
The BBB's Liehe said she doesn't expect most people to spend the time or money to hire independent inspectors.
"Excellent advice, but I'm not sure how realistic it is," she said.
No matter what type of roof homeowners have currently, or what type they opt for when a roof is replaced, asking questions and researching roofers are key.
"There's a big difference between roofing contractors who are businesspeople making their living in the roofing industry and roofers who've gotten tired of working for someone else and gone out on their own but don't have enough business acumen to make their living at it," Shepard said.
Of trusses and trust Tips on maintaining and repairing your roof:
Annual precautions
  • Establish a maintenance schedule for your roof. Walk around the perimeter of your house and look for loose or broken shingles. Inspect roof-drainage systems, gutters and downspouts. 
  • Hire a qualified, local, licensed roofing contractor or inspector to go onto your roof and inspect covering materials and flashing. Pay particular attention to caulk and other sealants and to areas of penetration such as chimney or plumbing vents and wood-stove or furnace flues.

Before you hire a roofer

  • Ask for recommendations from trusted sources. 
  • Research companies at the Better Business Bureau online. 
  • Consider hiring an independent, local, insured contractor or inspector to evaluate your roof's condition before having any work done. Compare the report you get from him or her with the one you get from companies bidding for the job. 
  • Interview at least three roofers before making a decision. Ask for references, and contact them. 
  • Review and make copies of contractor's workers' compensation and general liability insurance certificates. 
  • Have start and completion dates — and a plan for what happens if water comes into the home before work is finished — in writing in the contract. 
  • If a building permit is necessary, define who obtains and pays for it in the contract. 
  • Stipulate in writing under what conditions you will make the final payment.
Sources: Denver/Boulder Better Business Bureau, Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association, State Farm Insurance; Kenton Shepard, Certified Master Inspector.
To have an inspector in your neighborhood look at your construction project, visit: OverSeeIt.com