Choosing a Roofing Contractor

While we understand you may decide to use a roofing contractor than McLaughlin-Phillips for your roofing repair, installtion, replacement or maintenance work, the following tips can assist you in making a good decision.

Roofing – Repair & Installation

Numerous factors may affect a roof system’s performance, including sun, rain, snow and ice. To help keep your roof in good shape, you should perform a visual inspection of your roofing system each spring and fall. Look for:

*curling, buckling or blistering shingles

*excessive amounts of shingle granules in the gutters

*blocked vents or improper ventilation

*loose material or wear around chimneys, pipes and other penetrations

*drooping or sagging in the overall roof structure.

If you notice any of these problems, you should contact a roofing contractor for further inspection. Often, a contractor can make repairs without having to replace the entire roof. However, the contractor may recommend replacing your existing roof if it is more than 20 years old or shows significant damage. A number of factors – including local climatic and environmental conditions, proper building and roof system design, material quality and suitability, proper application and adequate roof maintenance – determine the actual lifespan of your roof. The right roofing system for your home will take into consideration cost, durability, architectural style and aesthetics. To help you make an informed choice, you may wish to familiarize yourself with the common materials used. Note that current New York State Building Codes now only allows a maximum of two (2) layers of asphalt shingling on a roof system. In addition, older systems that have cedar shake shingles as the original roof surface must be completely replaced; contractors may NOT roof over these shingles.

Choosing a Contractor

Before choosing a contractor, consider the following tips:

*Solicit at least three bids. Keep in mind the lowest bid may not be the best fit for your long-term needs; if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.


*Make sure the company has a permanent place of business, telephone number and tax identification number.


*Check the company’s reputation with the Better Business Bureau or other organizations such as the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA).


*Request a list of roofing manufacturers with which the contractor’s firm is a licensed or approved applicator. Most roof systems require special application expertise to achieve lasting quality.


*Ask to see copies of the company’s liability and workers’ compensation insurance certificates, and make certain they remain in effect throughout the duration of the job. If a contractor is not properly insured, you may be liable for any accidents that occur on your property.


*Request references and follow-up with the clients to determine if they had any problems or concerns with their roofing job.


*Don’t pay for the entire job in advance, and don’t pay cash. Work out the down payment with the contractor, and have the final payment ready when the job is completed.


*Obtain a detailed, written proposal and make sure it states complete descriptions of the work, specifications, and materials to be used, and includes any verbal agreements, approximate starting and completion dates and payment procedures.


*Carefully read and understand your contract and any roofing warranties provided. Make sure you understand the terms and conditions under which the warranty may be voided.



For more information, contact:


Better Business Bureau Serving Upstate NY

(800) 828-5000


New York State Department of State Division of Licensing Services

84 Holland Avenue Albany, NY 12208-3490

(518) 474-4429


New York State Department of State

Division of Code Enforcement and Administration

41 State Street Albany, NY 12231


Telephone: (518) 474-4073


New York State Consumer Protection Board

(800) 697-1220


New York State Attorney General

(800) 771-7755

Tips on Roof Ice and Snow Removal

Snow and Ice on Roof“We are approaching another winter in the Southern Tier and the Better Business Bureau has published the the following article on Tips on Roof Ice and Snow Removal which we believe will be beneficial to our customers.  If you have any questions on this topic or any roof repair or roof maintenance questions please call us here at McLaughlin-Phillips and will be glad to answer your questions.”

Roof – Ice & Snow Removal

The Better Business Bureau is receiving a high volume of calls regarding ice dams and snow on area roofs.

There may be several reasons why these problems occur, ranging from inadequate insulation or ventilation in one’s home to having debris left in gutters after fall clean up.


As everyone knows, New York is not immune to substantial amounts of ice & snow throughout the winter months. This has led to many of the ice problems homeowners are currently facing. Inadequate insulation or ventilation can be corrected, but “Mother Nature” can’t be controlled. The unusual amount of snow combined with earlier sleet caused ice dams not normally experienced by homeowners. Professionals point out that besides removing snow from the roof, your safety is most important. DON’T JEOPARDIZE YOUR WELL BEING WHEN TRYING TO REMOVE THE SNOW AND ICE FROM YOUR ROOF.


If you are unable to remove the snow yourself in a safe manner, the BBB will provide a special list of local BBB Accredited Businesses who offer ice and snow removal.




1. There is a wide range of fees being charged for this service, anywhere from $60 to $300 per hour, with the average going rate between $75-$100 per hour. Make sure to ask questions: Is the hourly fee per job or man? Does it include removal of snow from driveways and walks? Some companies are charging a flat fee plus a hourly fee just to go to your home, ask what is included in the flat fee?


2. Make sure that the company has CURRENT liability and workers compensation insurance before hiring someone to go up on your roof. Ask them for the name of their insurance agency and call the agency to get confirmation of insurance or ask for the company’s CURRENT certificate of insurance.


3. Expect that a contractor may not be able to provide immediate service. Many contractors are receiving hundreds of calls and can’t set up appointments for several days.


4. Understand that there is no guarantee that the problem won’t happen again. Many contractors are having customers signing waivers stating that they aren’t responsible for damage incurred by their ice and snow removal, and their is no guarantee against future ice build up.


5. Be careful of contractors going door-to-door. Ask for proof of the company’s reliability; how long in business, business card and contract with name, address and phone number of the company, references and call the Better Business Bureau for a report. Demand a copy of any estimate for repair work that would be part of any insurance claim.




1. A “short term” remedy is to create water runoffs through the ice and snow so there is water discharge off the roof. Creating the runoff may unavoidably damage the roof. This unavoidable damage is a trade off and may be less severe than the interior damage caused by leaking water.


2. Some contractors may suggest that rock salt or calcium chloride be used to melt the ice and snow. Some manufacturers of shingles state that use of these ingredients invalidate the shingles warranty. They may cause additional damage. If used, the homeowner assumes liability.


3. If inside water leaks occur and form “pools” of water in the ceiling, puncture a small hole in the ceiling and allow water to escape into a container.


4. If water is running near an electrical source, shut down the circuit breaker.


5. Never use heating devices, such as torches to melt the ice.





1. Notify your insurance agent and if you aren’t sure, find out what type of homeowners insurance you carry. Depending on the coverage, certain things may or may not be covered.


2. Once a claim is filed, your agent will notify the insurance company, who will assign a claims adjustor. Expect a phone call from the adjustor to discuss the claim or to set up an inspection of the damage. Over the next several weeks they will be processing many claims, so please be patient.


3. Keep good records of ALL costs for repairs.


4. Safely attempt to minimize your loss by removing personal property from any damaged area. BE VERY CAREFUL OF ELECTRICAL APPLIANCES AND OUTLETS WHEN NEAR WATER LEAKS.


For more information, contact:

Better Business Bureau

(800) 828-5000