So you've got a roof leak. Now what? Should you call a general roofing contractor or call a company that specializes in fixing residential roof leaks?
First, let's define the difference between a simple roof leak repair and a major roof leak repair.
Is there a real difference?
Yes. Definitely. 100%
A simple roof leak repair is normally caused by superficial problems such as, a small piece of chimney flashing that was not properly installed, or a skylight that popped a few nails, or a few shingles blown out of place by strong winds.
All these scenarios are easy to repair because it is really only a matter of quickly repairing the roof leak damage using a few nails and some additional caulking or roof leak sealants.
These type of roof leak repairs happen all the time. The key is to get them repaired the minute you see the initial signs of leakage. The signs usually include water ceiling stains on the upper floors of your home.
Sometimes, however, roof leaks are caused by more serious, larger reasons. Lack of adequate attic ventilation is a fantastic example. You may be asking: "How can attic ventilation cause water to leak down in to my house, especially in the summer when no rain has fallen for at least 2 weeks?"
Let's understand that moisture is moisture. When too much moisture collects it becomes water. Water always moves downward. If your attic is trapping all the moisture from your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry room it will transform your attic into a tropical rain forest. This, for example, could warp your roof deck and therefore cause the shingles to buckle and pop out of position.
A lesser roof leak repair company would replace the missing or faulty shingles but never get to the undering cause of the damage. This, in turn, could lead to a never-ending repair scenario, every few years or so. And the cost will eventually be insane. You may end up needing a whole new roof if the leaks are allowed to fester.
Here's the good news about leak repair.
Whether you hire a general roofing contractor or a leak repair business, always find out their plan of action. In other words, if they only offer you a quick patch job and refuse to mention the true cause of the leaks, you need to call a few more roofing companies until someone gives you the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
How will you know if your are being told the whole truth?
Your gut reaction is always the best indicator. For a more practical approach, ask for specific examples of leaks that the company has recently solved. Get references. Phone all the references and listen to exactly what they say to you. You can also compare what each leak repair company outlines for your house as their ultimate solution.
Normally the roofing companies that have been in business for more than 10 years are the best bet. Although keep in mind that some of the huge companies are very busy and can often be less reliable than the smaller companies.
On the other hand, the smaller companies may not have the experience or educated tradesmen to successfully handle the job. It boils down to you being diligent and investing a little time to get the right information that will make you feel at ease.
Final note: See proof of liability insurance from every roof leak repair company.