Angie's List: Finding the right roof

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - If you're working to repair or replace your roof, be prepared for a lot of choices.

"There's really only three shingles," roofing contractor Tom Scribbins noted. "There's a 20 year three tab, which is probably the shingle that was put on the house when it was built. There's a 25 year three tab, and there's an architectural which is the laminated, people will say the fancy shingle, people will say ‘how come that roof looks so good?' Chances are that's a 30 year or lifetime laminated shingle."

Asphalt is the most common type of shingle used today and is relatively inexpensive, but other materials can also be used like wood, slate or tile. Before you decide, consumer advice expert Angie Hicks suggested to take a look at your house.

"When determining what kind of product you want to use for your roof, first you want to think about what is their now? What kind of roofing material is being used on your house? What about your neighbor's houses? What's used in the neighborhood? What is going to fit best with the style?" Hicks said. "Also consider the color you choose. The great thing now is there are many choices, especially with asphalt shingles. A lot of roofing manufacturers also have a computer program that can show you exactly what it's going to look like when it's on your house. The last thing you want to do is pick a roof that doesn't compliment your home or the neighborhood because you don't want to be an eyesore."

If the shingle isn't installed incorrectly, it will fail, that's why it's important to hire a reputable roofing contractor who has experience with the type of product you want.

"Re-roofing your house is one of the biggest projects you'll do as a homeowner," Hicks said. "Your roof typically lasts 20 to 30 years, so you want to find a reputable contractor who is licensed, has insurance because you are going to have people on your roof, so you want to make sure they have worker's comp insurance. And that they have a good reputation and good warranty for standing behind their work."

Scribbins knows what it takes to have a good reputation.

"Most people know to get a lien release for labor. Fewer people know that they should get a lien release for material, and that means you want proof that this guy has paid for the stuff at the supply house. Otherwise you paid him and then a year later here comes the supply house wanting you to pay for those shingles again," Scribbins advised. "Doesn't seem fair and you would think that you can get out of it, you can't, they are going to put a lien on your house."

When choosing a color for your roof, hold up samples against the exterior of your home. Make sure it compliments your brick and paint colors.  Also make sure to look at the sample in both the sun and the shade.

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