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Advice on roof / roofers

Hi everyone
We had noticed some slipped slates on our roof a few years back, got some quotes and struggled to agree what to do. Our house is a former-council-owned non-standard construction but shouldn't be replaced as-is due to building regulation changes, as I understand it. Different roofing companies came round, lots openly admitted they hadn't seen anything like it before. Some came up with different options and then seemed to leave it to us to decide which was best.
I emailed/phoned to ask follow up questions to one that never replied to me.
Not feeling confidence about this at all, we contacted the council to ask if they could help us find/ask for the right thing (a number of identical houses to ours locally are still council-owned), but couldn't seem to get any assistance that way.
We caught(!) a roofing company doing a still-owned-council-house identical to ours, in our road, and they sent a surveyor round, who also gave me multiple options and told me he'd never seen anything like our roof.
Last year we had a independent surveyor come round to look at it. Seemed interested, said he'd have to do some research. And despite chasing, I'm still waiting for his report.
Of the ones that seemed more confident in what they were looking at, they told us it wasn't just a few slipped slates, and we'd likely need the whole roof redone.

We ended up not doing anything (yes, I know), and during a particularly bad bout of rain in the last month, we've discovered water is now coming into our loft worse than before (depending on wind direction, etc.). I've done a very temporary bodge.

We had a roofer come round and give a quote (saw their van outside a house they were working on a few months back), but I'm struggling with a few things. We had contacted roofing company A (name on van), and a different company responded - let's call them B. Company B has an email, website, landline, and postal address, but the postal address doesn't seem to exist according to google maps/Royal Mail (too high a number on a much shorter street). They don't list a postcode, or company number, VAT number, directors names, etc. The only google search results for the phone number or email is their website. Archive.org shows that the website has existed for less than 6 months in this form - was a totally different type of business before.

Firstly am I worrying unnecessarily? Are there better/more important checks to do than this? Is it unreasonable to ask for references from happy customers? Should I ask for more/corrected information and give the benefit of the doubt, or move on to another roofer? I know I need it fixed asap and it's tempting to take any roofer that can actually fix it. This one answered the phone, and turned up, but roof replacements are a lot of money. They weren't asking for anything up front, but mentioned that the cost might go up if they should find additional problems as they go - by how much, I'm unclear.

Their quote includes a guarantee of more than 15 years. How does this work in practice? Because a part of me thinks if they go bust in 5 years (or relaunch under a different company name...), surely the guarantee is completely worthless? Are these things usually tied to an insurance policy through a third party?

Any tips on finding a good roofing company? Does finding one on the National Federation of Roofing Contractors make any difference? I'm not sure if you just pay to be in the search results (and there's thousands more registered but don't show up when using the online search), or if just being listed is in itself an endorsement?

They quoted for fibre cement slate. I've googled this but am still unclear whether it's worse than real slate, and by how much. Roofer above told us that fibre cement slate lasts 50+ years, but google seems to disagree on that by quite some margin (although varies by how much). Price of slate seems to vary a lot also (real and fake) - but I don't know what I'm looking at really.

And just to further complicate matters, we have recently been wondered about having solar panels. We don't have a south facing roof - it's east/west, but that seems not to be as big a problem as I thought (again, according to google). Surely having solar panels installed while having a new roof put on will save a lot on the scaffolding? Has anyone done both at once?

Any tips anyone can offer, much appreciated.

Replies

  • ElephantBoy57ElephantBoy57 Forumite
    799 Posts
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    Firstly am I worrying unnecessarily?  And just to further complicate matters, we have recently been wondered about having solar panels. We don't have a south facing roof - it's east/west, but that seems not to be as big a problem as I thought (again, according to google). Surely having solar panels installed while having a new roof put on will save a lot on the scaffolding? Has anyone done both at once?
    There are lots of knowledgable people on here, what type of roof, why is it different, name the companies, more information.
    You really need to make your mind up.
    I had solar panels fitted 5 years ago, you save in electricity, but you would not get any money back from the feed-in-tariff, that was axed a few years ago. Still a good idea if you believe in saving energy.
    They are very unlikely to share scaffolding. Just get your roof sorted for now.

  • edited 29 June 2020 at 10:51AM
    jbondojbondo Forumite
    102 Posts
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    edited 29 June 2020 at 10:51AM
    You're about to spend a recent amount of money getting your roof looked at, if your unsure about a certain company, do ask questions and if need be, keep looking!

    I've had a issue with our roof for several months, roofers been out twice now and still not fixed. I won't get into it here but here's the  thread https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6158298/roofers-not-fixed-leak-tricky-to-get-hold-of#latest

    Once you've found the 'right' one, do make sure you check reviews as much as possible, Google, Check-A-Trade, Facebook etc. Pop their name into Google and see what appears

  • edited 29 June 2020 at 3:21PM
    toastermantoasterman Forumite
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    edited 29 June 2020 at 3:21PM
    There are lots of knowledgable people on here, what type of roof, why is it different, name the companies, more information.
    You really need to make your mind up.
    I had solar panels fitted 5 years ago, you save in electricity, but you would not get any money back from the feed-in-tariff, that was axed a few years ago. Still a good idea if you believe in saving energy.
    They are very unlikely to share scaffolding. Just get your roof sorted for now.

    Not sure where my post went. Second attempt.
    It's a concrete and steel former-local-authority Dorlonco property, mid-terrace. It's got steel beams and concrete floors throughout (even in the loft).
    It's close-boarded, there isn't an air gap (and there should be?), and I'm told the felt has gone porous. There's also some of the (likely original) slates that have moved/slipped, or are missing.

    The complication arose from being given options like whether we want it vented and the same height, or cut shorter, and a whole new roof built to make it the same height, or whether they install the gap and it could be approx 45-60mm higher than the neighbours either side. I'm not an expert - how should I know which is the best/most reliable option?

    I'm now happy to go ahead with the raised option, because an identical still-council-owned mid-terrace house on the opposite side of the road has just had their roof slates all off and replaced (higher than neighbours). We've contacted the company that did it, but they're stacked out with work for the council so we're struggling to get a price to do the same job on our roof. When our neighbours (both still council-owned) are finally updated, presumably they'll have the same thing as the one across the road/ours, and they will all be the same height.

    My logic for solar panels was that lots of local roofing companies seem to also do solar panels. If they've got their own scaffolding up already, that's surely a cost saving to them, that might be passed onto us.

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