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Added Mar 20 2012

When we bought our house in December we knew we would need a new roof in the springtime. Well here we are! Being brand new homeowners we do not know very much about hiring contractors or getting quotes. In fact I don't know anything about roofing either!
Does anyone have advice about roofing for brick bungalows? Or suggestions for the right questions to ask and what to look for in who we hire for the job?

  • Interview and get quotes from at least 4 roofers. Be careful of the cheapest and highest bids. Low bids they might be cutting corners or lack experience. High bids, they may not need the work. Interview and ask questions, hire the one you feel comfortable with. Make sure you compare products used equally. Subsitituting product can raise or lower costs.

    We had a flat roof torn off and installed. As it turns out the highest bidder was the only one who was completly truthful. The low bidder was enticing -- small company, but I did not want to chance it. The high bidder I rejected because who wants to spend top dollar. Like I said the top bidder was telling the truth. Our parapet wall woud need to be rebuilt to actually tear off the roof. No one else brought that up. We went with the middle bid and then wound up hiring a mason to rebuild parts of roof line for an extra $3500.

  • cheesecake chick i want to be the person my dog thinks i am

    Hi Lite Roofers - Rick did a great job for me. Complete tear off of three layers, and then i recommended him to work on my mother's roof. Get a written quote from more than one vendor. Make sure they are both quoting 30 year shingles, same type/thickness of replacement plywood, clean up, tuckpointing/flashing around chimneys and any stack pipes exiting through the roof, and whatever warranty they offer.

  • Alderman Tim Cullerton 38th Ward 38th Ward Alderman

    I recommend that you have the contractor install a membrane under the shingles, at least 4 feet up from the roof edge/gutter. This will prevent water damage when the gutter freezes and fills with ice, a condition known as damming.

  • We had water coming in from the roof, called Lindholm and they came out, quickly diagnosed the problem and replaced the flat roof on our dormer. Since then, we had them do our garage roof. Been happy with both jobs.

  • Maureen Cuyler near the park

    Stephanie--I was in the same position as you a few years ago, and Steve 2431's advice about getting several estimates is solid. I would add: join Angie's List just for a few months and look at local firms with high customer service ratings. i went with JZ Roofing because they were in Jeff Park and had won Angie's List awards, and they did a great job. They weren't the lowest bid, but the attention to detail was impressive and neighbors actually came by to tell me they'd never seen roofers clean up after a job so well.

  • Rick and the Hi Lite Roofers do an excellent job, they did a complete tear-off for us a few years ago 773-625-6399.

  • JennS 6-year portage park resident

    (Full disclosure, I work for my family's home improvement company.)

    My advice, get at least 3 estimates. Eliminated the cheapest because they are not likely to be in business in 5 years if something goes wrong with the roof. Check each company with the BBB, and make sure to see an IL Roofing License & proof of workers comp/liability insurance. Pretty much everyone out there these days is using Lifetime Shingles (Shingle manufacturers have changed their shingles from 30 year warranties to lifetime warranties, so if anyone tries to sell you a 25/30 year or a 3-tab rather than architectural, don't do it.)

    Final advice, please make sure to use a local company. There are a lot of out of town companies around that roll in after hail storms or severe weather. Don't use one of those - they disappear in a year or two, and if you have a warranty issue they won't be around to repair it. So make sure to use a local, established company.

    Also, I'd avoid CertainTeed shingles, they've had a lot of issues historically, and while some companies are still using them, many won't. Stick with IKO or GAF.

    One final work, you never know how much of your roof decking is going to need to be replaced until after the shingles come of. You might look into building a certain amount into the contract price, just so you don't get hit with a large amount extra due to replacing the decking. When we did our bungalow 6 years ago, all of the decking had to be replaced.

  • justbabs chgo lifer - now in pp

    I second Lindholm roofing at Milwaukee and Addison. I will need a complete tear off but where I had a leak, they came and helped me work out an immediate problem which left me with time to plan for the complete tear off. Also, check out the Chicago Historic Bungalow website. They used to have a show where vendors for bungalows would set up - the bungalow assn maintains contact info for those vendors on the website. It has lots of good resources for bungalow owners.

  • I second Maureen when it comes to Angie's List. I think it was the best thing we did after moving into our bungalow a few years ago. It helped us find our electrician, pet-sitter, plumber, flood control people, and roofer. As Steve mentioned, having estimates/interviews of a few different folks is key -- Angie's List can help you narrow down that list.

    We used Jack Lekarczyk of JL Contracting Services. He's a great, no-nonsense local guy. He and his crew did a fantastic job on our tear-off 2 springs ago. Highly recommended!

  • Cynthia Resident Since 1988

    I second NajionlJDo about Angie's List. You can look up individual contractors and see their ratings from other people. Plus, since you have a new home there will be other things you'd like done. Perhaps bush/tree removal. Or a bathroom remodel. Or someone to paint your living room (since painting a ceiling is such a pain to do). The list is huge.

  • as

    I was totally going to suggest joining Angie's List too! When we bought our house and had lots o'work to do, that was our go to place to find contractors. Good luck!

  • I just (literally two days ago) had my entire roof ripped off and replaced. I have a 100 yr old colonial/victorian and it had the original wood slat shingles on the darn thing.
    I got lots of quotes and opted with someone that was in the middle range and also recommended by a friend in Elgin (did his roof).
    the guys name is Ivan and I can give you his number (B2B roofing is the company)
    they completed the entire thing and did the garage in three days.
    and my house is 3 stories with little porches and bump outs
    what a mess but they cleaned it up
    cost (let's just say under $20k)

  • oh - something that shouldn't freak everyone out but could make you go .hmmmm....
    there are three major insurance companies in the midwest that by September will no longer cover replacement roofs for anything older than 10 years - just taken right out of the policy.
    made me sit up straight last fall when I heard this
    and reach for the Grey Goose

  • Portage Patty 30+ year veteran of da hood.

    Rainbo Roofing over on Central. Second generation roofers been in the neighborhood forever.

  • How much do new roofs cost? We are in desperate need and have horrible hail damage but just keep on putting it off.

  • Monica S. Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association member

    I know very little about roofing, but since you mention you're in a bungalow, I know that the Historic Chicago Bungalow Association has recommendations for preserving your home's historic value. I wouldn't be surprised if roofing is part of that. www.chicagobungalow.org

    A representative from HCBA will be speaking at the Jefferson Park Neighborhood Association meeting on August 29. It's not posted on our site yet, but it will be www.jpna.net. I'm sure you don't want to wait that long, but I say give the HCBA a call or send them an email.

    Congratulations on the new home and good luck with this project!

  • Susan Long-time Jeff Park resident

    Can tell you who NOT to use--AAffordable Roofing on Techny Road. Massively long story, but they are truly awful in so many ways. Three years after they installed brand new roof, shingles started falling off the roof--were nailed on the wrong part of the shingle. We used Matthews to tear off and fix their screw-ups; we found them cheaper than Lindholm, but still top rate. You are VERY smart to do so much research. Don't rush the process; all of the BBB and Angie's List references above are very good ideas. I got an Angie's List membership--I hired a professional organizer who just came out today, and she was EXCELLENT. Peggy Lambert, the cost of a new roof varies so much based on how high and/or how large the house is; you're better off having estimates done. The longer you wait, the more you risk internal damage and mold. And PatseChi, your Grey Goose comment was the first good laugh I've had today!

  • JayCee resident

    First, I agree with Monica S, check about bungalow roofing... Last fall Champion Roofing did our 8 unit condo & garage roof (excellent Angies List & BBB ratings). Their bid was in the upper/mid range but we went with them because of the amount of time their estimator spent checking out the job before bidding and the very detailed bid they submitted to us. Turned out that it was not as bad as we thought but at least we had the facts before hand. There are many unknown issues when replacing a roof and no one can tell before the existing roofing is torn off however Champion included the prices of potential concealed damages so we knew what the worse case costs would be. Three crews did the job; masonry repairs to the chimneys, the roof replacement & the new gutters. Great guys, great work and all of them cleaned up their messes!

    Congratulations on your new home!

  • I echo Monica's advice to seek out HCBA's guidelines to help preserve the character of the bungalow. We had our bungalow's roof re-done and had the dormers clad in siding--not roofing shingles. Looks great.

  • Dennis 30 year Jefferson Park resident

    I agree with the HCBA advice. And Lindholm roofing is extremely expensive. They are good, but very over priced.

  • southsideandy A South Side outpost in the heart of the N.W. Side

    We had our brick bungalow roof (including a low-slope dormer) redone when we first moved in as well, and then last summer we had our garage roof redone too, both by the same company, Nyberg Exteriors. Stuart was honest, a nice guy and a great guy to work with to where I didn't even bid out my garage project last year -- just gave them the business. Stuart is local to Old Irving Park, and his brother is local to Palatine, I believe. Check them out among your bids...also, the person who mentioned deck replacement is spot on. Make sure you factor in over-budget for deck replacement. We had to replace some 225 linear feet of decking when they did ours. Lots of rot and bad stuff under three layers of shingles.

  • Stephanie Jeff Park native, New Portage Park homeowner!

    Thank you all so much for your advice. This is incredibly helpful! Thanks so much neighbors!!

  • alex trebeck Ukrainian Village since 1990

    If the company has been around for years, they are much more likely to provide a quality job, and stand behind their work if there is a future problem.

    Some unscrupulous construction companys go "out of business" in only a couple of years, to avoid warranty work and lawsuits. Usually they have not been in business for very long.

    Some ways to check on how long a company has been around: the state of illinois grants licenses. You can go online to see when the license was first issued and if it is still active. You can also see if they are listed with the BBB, ....and for how long.

    You can also start GOOGLING the company name and the owners name. Sometimes things pop up about past problems complaints or even lawsuits.

    Also check with the city to ensure they have a current license. You can also do that online.

    If you or a friend knows a reputable general contractor, he could give you a good referral. I would not take recommendations from everyblock posters. You have no idea who they are. About angieslist....if they know nothing about construction/ roofs, they may have no clue if the roof was done improperly. A bad roofing job may still work for 3 - 8 years. You want a 30 year roof.

    Finally, NEVER let them put the new shingles over the old shingles. It will void the product warranty and is a poor practice (but is more profitable for the roofer.)

    The suggestion on how to avoid ice dam issues was also good.

    Finally, this can take some time. But be warned: there are MANY unscrupulous contractors out there. Especially with this bad economy. Caviat emptor !!! So do some research.

    Good luck.

  • Kirsten

    We had Lindholm do some work for us about 2 years ago. We were very happy with their professionalism, service, quality of work, and price. We'd definitely go back to them for any future work we need.

  • Dan Trujillo Humbolt park resident/ Current Galewood Resident

    I have a friend who is a Union Carpenter who does all types of home remodeling on the side, he'll probably charge you half of what a company would charge. His name is Lino 773-370-7954

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