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There's a knock on the door; she answers. Forty-five minutes later she has an estimate to replace all the windows. She's convinced this company is the best. Later that day her family warns her that the company she wants to hire is known for shady practices, such as giving

discounts for leaving a five star review before work even starts. Without her family's knowledge she signs a contract. A few months later she is stuck with a huge bill for cheap windows installed with terrible workmanship. This bill is so large it will take all of her life savings to pay it. Sure, better windows would have been good if she could afford them but she couldn't and they weren't that important. Also, if they really needed to be done, her family could have helped her find a reputable company to do much better work at half the price.

An older couple had some vents not working well. They called an HVAC contractor to check it out. The contractor had them convinced that it was absolutely necessary to replace the whole system and to move the attic access. This would "only" cost $8000. A family member who was a contractor came over and discovered that a couple connections had tape coming off. After fixing those connections with less than a roll of tape, all the vents worked perfectly.

A widower is down to two roofing companies. He settles on the one that is "factory trained." A month has now passed since the job started. The company has left the job unfinished and won't return to complete it. A few months of fighting with the company and he finally decides to call another contractor to finish. The other contractor discovers that a large section of the roof will have to be redone too. This widower is stuck paying to tear off a section of brand new roof and have it redone and then paying to get the roof finally completed.

All of the stories above have a few small details changed but they are all based on stories that happened to my family and/or customers and/or potential customers of mine. There are more similar stories I could tell. Please, be careful when choosing a residential roofing contractor, check ratings and actually read the reviews, look roofing contractors up on the Better Business Bureau, on the Contractor Board's website, and make sure you understand exactly what each roofer is offering. Don't be afraid to ask contractors for proof of insurance and to check their ID against the Contractor Board information before signing a contract. If you have an elderly friend or family member help look out for them because predatory sales people will target them. When you hire a good company, spread the word. Last but not least, do your part to never take advantage of people. Treat everyone as if they were your grandparents.

21 Point Asphalt Shingle Inspection service sheet screenshot

When should I consider getting a roof inspection?

• If a home inspection shows a few minor problems with the roof


• If a home inspection estimates a roof life of less than 10 years


• If your home inspector doesn’t get onto the roof during the inspection


• If you just want a roof inspection because the roof protects the house and belongings inside


• If the roof is brand new (sometimes sellers will get a new roof in anticipation of selling the house but won’t research for a good roofer. They could have a new roof that is missing important components such as flashing or underlayment or is not installed to code!)

There isn’t any need for an additional inspection if the inspector already recommends replacement. There probably isn’t any need for a roof inspection if the roof is brand new and it has a written transferrable workmanship warranty (make sure you read the warranty).

Why wouldn’t I just go with what a home inspection says?

Home inspectors typically have very limited construction knowledge and limited time for each inspection. Extensive training and time would be crucial to find every issue with every component of a house.

Do home inspections ever actually miss anything major?

Yes! It is very common for buyers to receive a home inspection stating that the roof has at least two years of life left when it’s in desperate need of replacement. The inspection may mention relatively minor issues such as some nails backing out or bad rain collars (the rubber part of the flashing around the vent pipes) but miss major granule loss or overlook major damage from large amounts of moss having been removed.

What if I find out the house needs a new roof and can’t find a roofer who can replace it before the sale?

If you go with a local lender such as Umpqua Bank or a credit union they are much more likely to offer what is called an escrow hold-back. Basically, with an escrow hold-back the seller signs a contract to have the roof done with the contractor and provides the contractor the down payment. Money will be kept as part of escrow in order to pay the contractor the final payment for the finished roof after you already have the loan to buy the house.

How can I verify that the contractor a seller has chosen will do a good job and is properly licensed and insured?

• Look up the contractor’s CCB number (our CCB number is 226020) at for a history of compliance and complaints

• Look up the contractor at

• Read online reviews

• Be skeptical if they offer things which may be too good to be true such as 30 year shingles or 50 year shingles (very high end shingles such as triple laminates may last 30 years)

Flat Rate Roofers LLC recently filed an assumed business name (ABN) a.k.a. doing business as name (DBA): Divergent Roofing. You may be wondering, "why?" "Why divergent" or "why a new name at all?" Those are both great questions and this post should help clear them up.

Divergent Roofing Logo

First let's answer, "Why a new name?" Flat Rate Roofers started with the idea of providing a roofing installation service that went way above the status quo. A big part of that included doing a thorough inspection before doing a re-roof so the price you are quoted is the price you pay in the end. The thought was, the fact that almost nothing could raise the price once a contract was signed, would resonate with people. Little did we know, people are so used to contractors finding every excuse possible to get them to sign a change order to raise the price, that even when a homeowner had the concept clearly explained, they wouldn't believe it or maybe they would just forget. We will still work hard to avoid change orders which raise the price. The name however, wasn't resonating with people as well as hoped, so it has been scrapped while the company is still young enough for that not to be a huge deal. Another big reason for changing the name is people commonly referred to it as "Flat Rate Roofing" instead of "Flat Rate Roofers".

Now, "Why Divergent?" Divergent is a synonym to different. We want to be different. Not different for the sake of being different but different for the sake of being better. There are many great business practices that have been adopted by almost every industry. Construction, however, is a relatively noncompetitive and highly regulated market, increasing the time it takes for substantial improvements to be seen by home owners. Our view is, why wait for competition to demand it? Let's do what we can to make good changes for our customers. Why not? Are we successfully getting closer to our goal of beating the status quo? You decide!

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