Photo by Marc Lacoste

Essential information for maintaining your French home’s roof

With the winter well and truly behind us and spring firmly on its way, it’s worth considering taking a look at the state of our roofs as the cold winter weather and sudden freak storms, could have caused some minor or even considerable damage to the roofs of our houses and barns. Maybe your thinking of buying (or are in the process of buying) a property here in the France? If so, it’s certainly worth finding out as much as you can about the state of the property and its roof and with this in mind, we have put together some essential information about roofs that you may find of use. Frank Devlin of Limousin based roofing specialists Rooftek explains…

When people are buying a home they often get caught up in an overwhelming whirlwind of emotion in the excitement of anticipation of home ownership in France and often overlook the need for a proper property inspection.

Get it checked out

raising the roofBesides the foundation, the roof is one of the most expensive repair jobs a home may require and the roof is often the most overlooked part of a home, especially important on older existing properties in France. It’s certainly worth considering hiring an expert to give you an assessment of the roofs condition if you are unsure of it yourself. The other option is that you get on a tall ladder, climb on the roof yourself and check it out (risking a possible fall, possible extensive injury or even death). A far safer bet instead would be to ask a specialist to do it for you… just in case! If the roof is fine or just needs a few tiles replacing then this can simply be done putting your mind at ease, however if the inspection reveals something more serious then knowing about what’s involved in replacing a roof surface and the likely costs involved could mean the difference between making an offer or a sale falling through. Some roof repairs are expensive and the costs involved could be used as leverage when negotiating a purchase, especially when it’s backed up by a professional roofing companies report.

Buying a new roof

Along with some new house buyers in France and many homeowners already here, at some point you will need to replace their roof in order to maintain the appearance and quality of life within their house. However, before jumping into the process of installing a new roof, it is important to understand what to expect with regards to contractors, completion dates, the installation process and materials. Looking for a new roof can be exhausting work, but with the proper knowledge and planning anyone can complete a successful roofing project.

Installing a new roof can often be a daunting task for most homeowners. Some people feel as though they can take on the project themselves, only to find out in the end that it should have been dealt with by a professional. Make sure to plan everything out before you invest your money because you could end up wasting a lot of it due to poor judgment. If you do decide to have a professional roofer install your roof, know that the project will be handled in a way that accommodates those living within the home. However, you will want to agree with your contractors on completion dates so that you can plan accordingly.

Hiring a roofing specialist

raising the roofHiring a professional has its advantages. For starters, you get expert feedback on what materials you need, for both visual and practical reasons. Pretty much any question you have regarding your new roof can be answered by a qualified roofer. Furthermore, not only will your roofing company do what you request of them, but they will also be able to locate any problem areas that may be arising. Making repairs early on can save you a lot of time and money.

How much will it all cost?

The price of a roofing repair or installation will vary depending on the size and location of your home. If you shop around for prices and notice that a company is well below the average, there may be a reason why. Cost alone will not determine quality. Professionalism and quality workmanship should also weigh heavily on your decision.

Most roofing companies may require a deposit at the start of work. Most of the contracted amount should only be due after all of the work is completed in a satisfactory manner. Do not issue full payment for the job until all work has been completed. Lengthy projects may require progress payments, be sure the amount does not exceed the value of the work performed.

Make sure that the company is registered to carry out the works and more importantly insured. Due to inherent dangers of working on roofs, workers’ compensation and liability insurance are a significant cost to a roofing company. Since the cost of the insurance is high, some companies do not carry it. This practice is a shortcut some companies take to underbid the competition. As with any major job that needs doing to the house one of the most important factors that is likely to play on your mind is the cost.

Roof price is made up of several factors that we discuss below and you should always be careful that you aren’t compromising quality or service in order to lower the roof price by a few Euros. Many roofing contractors will provide similarly priced quotes but you should always ensure that you are comparing them on a like for like basis and don’t forget that the cheapest offer isn’t necessarily the best value for money and the most expensive offer isn’t necessarily the worst value for money.

Materials

raising the roofMaterials will be one of the biggest factors involved in calculating your roof price and while it is possible to reduce the cost by using different types of material you have to remember that this can often lead to a false economy. If using a different material means a saving of 10% on your roof price, but the material will last 30% less time then your best option is to choose the more expensive material. Obviously, it is important that you select materials that are hard wearing and good looking where required but that are also cost effective. You should have selected a roofing contractor that you have some faith in and discussing the particular materials with him or her will usually give you the answers you are looking for.

Labour

Labour cost may vary slightly from one contractor to another but not by very much and it is certainly unlikely to be an area that can be negotiated. Within your roof price will be charges for all labourers including the people who strip your roof and load the skip. Any preliminary work you can do yourself is always advisable and if you are able to do any of the menial work yourself then you should consider this also. You need to check the terms of liability insurance with the roofing contractor first though and agree the tasks you will complete yourself before negotiating a contract. This really can make a difference to your roof price.

Profit

This is the area that may have little room for negotiation but every company needs to make a profit. Get quotes from small companies and from large companies and compare the roof price associated with these quotes. While small companies may not require the same level of profit as the larger companies, they will usually have to pay more for materials and other factors making the bottom line roof price very similar.

Contingencies and other costs

raising the roofThings can go wrong, even to professionals. Roof work is by no means any different and roofing contractors may include a contingency fund in their quote. This means that if they do come across a problem then they won’t need to persuade you to part with more money before they can continue. You should, of course, find out what happens to this contingency fund if it isn’t required. You may think you are better off having the contingency fund taken out of the roof price but prepare yourself for having to stump up extra money if you do try this.

Emergencies or storm damage

Finally, getting a roof repaired is something most homeowners dread but it needn‘t be. When the roof does need repair, it is important to get not only the finest quality materials
available but the best price on installing those materials as well but carried out urgently too. Sometimes due to freak storms you may find yourself without parts of your roof and the need to weatherproof your home as quickly as possible before more damage is created internally. In cases such as these please contact us and we can offer a temporary roof repair in an emergency or at the very least to weatherproof your roof whilst you decide the next course of action.

•Article kindly provided by Rooftek

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