If you are, here are some factors that you should be aware of before selecting your roofing contractor.

The New York State residential code has some new requirements dealing with the roofing of a home. First and foremost is article R907.3, which addresses recovering versus replacement. The law states that any new roof coverings shall not be installed without first removing the existing roof coverings where any of the following conditions occur:
1. Where the existing roof covering is wood shake, slate, clay, cement or asbestos-cement tile.
2. Where the existing roof covering is water-soaked or has deteriorated to the point that the existing roof or roof covering is not adequate as a base for additional roofing.
3. Where the existing roof has two or more applications of any type of roof covering. This particular part of the law is the one that gives the homeowner the most trouble, as the some contractors will tend to confuse the customer as to what should really be done. It really is very simple. If you are going to have a new roof put on your house you cannot go over the existing roof unless there is only one roof there at present. Any more than one roof means that all layers must come off before a new roof can be installed! The law doesn't say anything about being able to remove a layer or layers to get down to one roof but I would suggest that if any layers have to come off then you have all the layers taken off down to the wood sheathing.

There are other sections of the new law too numerous to mention but when reading specifications of a contract you should be sure that a ice and water shield type product is installed on the roof edges a minimum of 3' from the house wall edge up and in all valleys and areas where you may have had a leak problem before. Last year's snow and ice backed up even farther than the required 3' so I would suggest that you insist that the roofing contractor install the ice and water shield a minimum of 6' up from the house wall up for added protection.

Another thing to watch out for is proper ventilation of the roof. Without proper ventilation you will have all kinds of problems. In the summer your attic will be too hot making air conditioning work overtime and in the winter, as in this past one you will have ice back-up problems that can cause all kinds of damage to the interior of your house. The usual rule of thumb is one roof vent for every 150 feet of roof area but I would suggest a continuous roof vent. However, no matter how your roof is vented if you don't have a good number of soffit (overhang) venting the ventilation will not work properly.

The next step after familiarizing yourself with the information above is the selection of a reputable and professional roofing contractor. There are many so called roofing contractors in the business and because of the many fly-by-night ones you should make sure you select the right one. Get at least three estimates from similar size companies and be sure to check them out with the Better Contractors Bureau at 338-3600. Also have them all bid on similar work specifications. Check to see if they are insured and ask to see a copy of their certificate of insurance showing that they carry enough liability coverage and if they have employees' evidence of their workmen's comp. After you decide on the roofing contractor that will be doing your job you now should make sure that the contract meets all requirements under Article 36A of the NYS Business Law. The most important aspects of the contract should be your 72-hour right to cancel, escrow clause, a start and completion date, payment schedule, warranties, and a complete specification list.

Be sure the specifications list everything including, if it will be a complete tear-off, type of shingle, debris removal, warranties and guarantees, etc. Remember that if they tell you your roof is warranted for 25 or 30 years it only pertains to the materials and not the workmanship which, is usually guaranteed only for one year.

Don't give a large down payment and by all means dont make final payment until the job is completed to your satisfaction! Remember the saying, "Let the buyer beware" also pertains to the home improvement business!