Before winter truly sets in here in the northeast, it's important for New England homeowners to take stock of their homes and ensure that they're really prepared for the major storms to come. In particular, fall is a time to inspect your roofing. Massachusetts receives an average of 43 to 69 inches of snow annually, varying by location within the state, and that means your roof, gutters, and gutter guards can take a heavy hit.
Where to Start
First, homeowners should take note of the fact that there's a lot to know when it comes to roofing. Massachusetts homeowners who perform their own roof inspections take some major risks in doing so. In addition to the physical risks of climbing up to and walking around on a roof, doing so inappropriately can result in homeowners actually causing roof damage that wasn't there to begin with. Beyond that, the untrained eye simply isn't going to notice the things a professional, experienced roofing contractor will see.
All together, the risks outweigh the potential cost benefits of looking over your own roofing. Massachusetts homeowners are fortunate, however, in that there are many outstanding, reliable roofing contractors in the state who will provide honest evaluations, fair estimates, and quality work. That means the best place to start is often inside your home - at your computer, researching for quality roofing contractors.
What to Look For
When looking for a roofing contractor to perform a pre-winter inspection and handle any maintenance needs or repairs, be sure to seek out a company that will inspect your gutters and gutter guards as well as your roofing. Massachusetts homeowners simply cannot afford to neglect their gutters or gutter guards, and having them inspected and serviced by the same provider who tends to the roof can result in savings of both time and money.
Where to Look
The Better Business Bureau (BBB) and the State of Massachusetts both have websites to help homeowners find reliable, licensed contractors. In addition, many people find online review sites, such as Angie's List, enable homeowners to easily access customers' reviews and company ratings. Social media is helpful in this endeavor as well. Facebook and Google+ are great places to put out the word that you're looking for a local service provider. Neighbors, friends, and other locals will typically share their recommendations and warnings openly in these forums, and you can take that information with you to the BBB and State of Massachusetts websites to check reputations and licensing status further.
What You Need
Once you have a list of contractors who can inspect and maintain your gutters, gutter guards, and roofing, Massachusetts homeowners' next steps should be toward setting appointments for estimates. Always be very wary of companies that charge for estimates, as this is an unprofessional practice and the sign of a potentially unreliable company. Request signed, written estimates from each company, and ask that the estimates include the specific products they would use and services they recommend. Seek warranty information as well, and then check out the products' reputations and warranty reliability online.