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Expert Advice on Roofing and Roof Repair: An Interview with Brian Atkins of Orange County Roofing

By Brian Atkins

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

My first job in the roofing industry was with my father's roofing company when I was in junior high (1983) helping the tear-off crews and doing clean-up work for $2.25 an hour. I continued working for my father's company, learning the trade on the weekends and summers up until I graduated from La Quinta High School in Westminster, California. After graduation I started working full time for my father's business doing roof repairs. I moved on to get my own roofing license and started a roofing company in 1991. As a roofing company we specialize in roof leak repair, detection, maintenance and dry rot repairs.

What's one of the biggest challenges that homeowners in Southern California and Orange County face when it comes to their roofs?

One of the biggest challenges a homeowner can have regarding their roof is knowing when to bite the bullet and just replace their roof or when it is best to simply repair it and finding a roofing company to give you an honest opinion about that. For instance, if after a big rain storm your notice your roof is leaking and you think some roof maintenance may need to done you have two options: you can either repair the roof or replace the whole roof. You would think the answer to that question is pretty cut and dry but it is not. That is because many roofing companies specialize in doing new roofs and if you were to call them chances are that they will advise you to get a new roof.

Then you have some roofing companies that only do small repairs. When you call them about the same problem chances are they will tell you to just get a small roof tune up and will try to make your roof last for as long as they can. Who can you trust? That is the challenge. That is why it is so important to be working with a licensed roofing company who has excellent reputation and will give you an honest opinion on what you should do, even if it is not something they can help you with.

What are some important things a homeowner should consider before hiring a roofing contractor?

Hiring a roofing company can be tricky. I would suggest first they be licensed, second they should be local and third check online for any hints of a bad or good reputation. A lot of our customer are using Yelp these days. Look for a company with a lot of good review and some bad ones. You want to make sure they are not all five-star reviews or something fishy may be going on there. It is possible to put fake reviews up but no one will put up a fake bad review and no company is perfect. A good company who had been around 5 to 10 years and doing a lot of work should have 30 to 40 reviews to look at; last time I checked we have 44 on Yelp alone.

Can you explain the typical length of a roof warranty and what it should cover?

There are two types of warranties you can get; one is for a complete new roof and the other is for leak repair or roof maintenance. The new roof warranty should be at least 5 to 10 years in length and cover the whole roof. The roof repair warranty should be a minimum of two years and probably a maximum of five years. The roof repair warranties can be deceiving, so make sure your roofer provides you with a separate page that clearly spells out the Term and Conditions of your warranty and does not use any language in the warranty like a maximum amount of repair attempts, or a peroration on refunds, or a show up fee. For example our warranty states: "South County Roofing Service Policy Guarantee has no co-payment, deductible, minimum show up fees, maximum amount of repair attempts, and no-proration's on refunds." And we also state that if we cannot fix your roof leak, we will refund your money.

What advice would you give someone who's in a situation where they need an emergency roof repair because of a leak or dry rot?

I would suggest you be very careful who you call and not act too quickly. Often customers believe they need to do something immediately and they don't. An emergency service should be done only to minimize damage and your out of pocket costs. If that cannot be accomplished then you may not need to do an emergency repair. That is another reason it is so important to be talking to the right people because an experienced person will know if you should attempt tarping or some other measure immediately or if you should just wait. But, when it comes to peace of mind the contractor just needs to listen to what the customer needs and wants and do their best to serve them appropriately.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you and your company?

The best way to reach us is to simply call us at 949-597-0192. We have people in the office 4 to 5 days a week and reps in the field 5 to 6 days a week.

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