Roofing Tips

Roof Replacement vs. Reroofing

Roof Replacement vs Reroofing

One of the most important aspects of your home is the roof, and the installation and upkeep often represents a large initial and continuing investment for the life of the house. When it comes to the return on investment, for the most part reports indicate that a new roof will yield up to 80% of its original cost in the resale of a home, and 30% of real estate agents point to roof repair as one of the fastest ways to ensure the sale of a house. Considering its role in the structure and protection of your house and the value it adds overall, it is important to monitor the condition of your roof and take the right steps to maintain it. When it does come time to fix or replace your roof, the two most widely accepted options you have are reroofing and roof replacement. When choosing the path to take, it is important to know the pros and cons of each and assess them against your budget and other capabilities.

What is the Difference?

Overall, the best method for you will depend on a few things, including the lifespan of your roof and the amount of damage it has sustained. The first method to think about is reroofing, which is general the faster and more affordable method of repair which involves placing a new set of shingles over the existing set that has been compromised. Since this process doesn’t involve removing the old shingles and replacing the entire roof, it is generally the faster way to restore your roof. Additionally, it doesn’t necessitate extensive labor or materials like certain other methods, and therefore represents a more cost-effective method of repair. The cons of reroofing generally lie in the longevity and can vary depending on the extent of the damage to your current roof. For starters, reroofing usually does not last as long as a full roof replacement. Building codes also prohibit adding an additional layer of shingles if you already have two layers installed, so if the first reroofing layer fails you will end up having to fully replace the roof as it is prohibited to add an additional layer on top. Even if there is currently only one layer, if there is considerable enough damage to the shingles themselves or the deck underneath the roof will have to be replaced for structural and safety reasons. Additionally, since the existing singles are not being removed, it is difficult to know what kind of damage lies in the material underneath.  shingle roof installationConversely, if most of the roof is undamaged and there are only a few isolated spots that need minor repair, you can opt for a more cosmetic fix and bypass a full replacement. For these reasons, it is essential to know which is right for your specific situation. The alternative to reroofing is a full roof replacement, in which all of the old shingles are stripped away, any material defects in the underlying deck are repaired or replaced and then new shingles are installed. This can involve a full replacement of the deck and underlayment in addition to new shingles, but that all depends on the current condition of the roof. The main advantages of this method lie in its longevity, as it is usually more durable than reroofing and is thought of as more of a long-term fix. The main con in replacement lies in the immediate cost and labor necessary for the project, as it is more expensive and time consuming than reroofing. With that being said, for the most part replacement will be more cost-effective in the long run.

Which Method is Right for Your Roof?

As mentioned above, an important thing to consider is your personal preference in terms of time and money you will want to spend repairing your roof. Generally, if you are looking for a quicker and cheaper method of repair, reroofing would better suit your needs. With that being said, there are situations where reroofing is not a suitable alternative and replacement cannot be avoided for the sake of saving time and money. If you don’t have any prior experience dealing with diagnosis and repairs like this it is important to contact a professional, not only for the work itself but for an initial consultation to assess exactly what needs to be done to maintain adequate structural integrity and safety of your roof. Although at first glance it can appear that there isn’t enough damage to merit a full replacement, closer examination by an experienced set of eyes can tell you otherwise. This is essential not only for the value of your house, but also for its structural integrity and the safety of anyone living in the house. For all of the reasons mentioned above, it is important not only to hire a roofing professional, but one that will take the time to assess your specific needs. Even if it necessitates a higher upfront cost, the more time and care initially put into the project will guarantee a high return on investment for the life of your roof.


Coastal Metal


As roofers, we know the phrase, “location location location” isn’t exclusive to real estate industry. When choosing between a steel and aluminum roofing system, the location of your project can determine which material will best suit your needs.

Steel Roofing 101

Environmentally-friendly, sturdy and easy on the wallet, Steel is the most common material used in metal roofing. Steel roofs are a solid choice for the vast majority of roofing projects, especially where value is important. Many steel roofing products come with hard-to-beat 40 to 50-year warranties. However, in comparison to aluminum, steel is a lot more susceptible to seawater damage making it a bit undesirable for coastal applications. Over time, moisture from the ocean oxidizes the iron component in steel, creating ferric oxide, more commonly known as rust. Steel manufacturers fight rust formation by coating panels with either zinc or Galvalume in order to form a protective barrier.

Steel roofs offer a number of benefits, including:

  • Durability/Gauge – The lower the number, the more durable the metal. Steel panels range from 22 (thickest) to 29 gauge.
  • Fast Installation – Steel roofs can be installed quickly. Certain steel panels have clipless, snap-and-lock installation systems that expedite the process.
  • Cost Effectiveness – When compared to other metals, steel is the least expensive. A steel roof also saves you money by keeping your heating and cooling costs low. Steel has a higher reflectivity than other roofing materials. In the hotter, summer months it deflects sunlight from being absorbed, and in the winter, acts as an insulator, reflecting and circulating heat from the underside of the roof back inside the building.
  • Fire Safety – Steel roofs are completely fire-resistant. A class-A, noncombustible roofing material, steel insulates against sparks and can ultimately prevent a fire from spreading into a home.
  • Aesthetic Versatility – Steel is customizable and can mimic the look of wood, tile, slate or shingles. Steel panels can also be painted or designed to complement the unique appearance of a home.
  • Environmental Factor Resistance – Steel is impermeable to algae and fungi that oftentimes shorten the lifespan of other roofing materials like asphalt or wood shingles. Steel is not hospitable to pesky critters that tend to take refuge in roofs (termites, rats, racoons, etc.)coastal metal roof sales

Aluminum Roofing 101
Aluminum is among the premium choices when it comes down to metal roofing material. Similar in quality to its more expensive cousins, copper and zinc without the price tag, aluminum is still around 20% more expensive than steel. Offering superior protection from saltwater corrosion, aluminum roofing systems are ideal in coastal environments. Due to its price, aluminum is often manufactured in a much thinner panels than other materials as well. While aluminum roofing material’s strength-to-weight ratio is higher than steel, the factor of cost often results in panels that are too thin for their surroundings. In regions with high winds, hail, or strong environmental stresses, this can result in damage to the roofing material. Properly identifying the environmental strains that your aluminum roof will face will be crucial in choosing the right design.

A few things to know about aluminum:

  • As a bare, natural metal, aluminum does not age gracefully, so oftentimes it’s finished with a painted surface.
  • Aluminum used for roofing applications tends be very malleable and easy to work with onsite, making it a forgiving material for most installers.
  • Aluminum is one of the lightest metals used for roofing. It’s strength-to-weight ratio is among the highest of the “common” metals (that’s why most of the airliners in the sky use aluminum for their air frame), and therefore, a thinner piece of aluminum can often do the job of a thicker piece of any other type of metal.
  • Price-wise, aluminum falls somewhere in between most of the finished steels and copper and zinc.

The Steel vs. Aluminum Takeaway
Whether you are a builder in charge of constructing a new home or a homeowner interested in upgrading to a metal roofing system, deciding whether to go with steel roof panels or aluminum roof panels is a valid concern.

Steel and aluminum are dependable, metal roofing materials but there are distinct differences and advantages of both types that one should consider. For example, aluminum and steel are two of the most energy efficient roofing materials on the market; they’re naturally reflective, and usually equipped with coatings that meet LEED and Energy Star compliancy.

In term of cost and weight, steel is a heavier material, more dent resistant and less expensive than aluminum. In addition, steel panels are inherently sturdier and totally fire resistant, even without an underlayment. It is an attractive roofing solution for inland projects and new builds. Aluminum is the better choice for homes or buildings located along a coastline or for jobs that involve retrofitting a metal roof over existing shingles. Aluminum is a much lighter metal so weight would not be an issue if a homeowner or business owner wanted to upgrade their existing roofing system. Aluminum is typically more expensive but it is much more rust resistant. Salt water is corrosive to steel roofs, so anyone living close to the ocean should consider aluminum over steel for this reason alone.

“When choosing between steel and aluminum, think about why you’re opting for a metal roof in the first place,” says Albert Del Sol, project manager at Isaac’s Roofing in Miami, FL. “Structurally speaking, a steel roofing system is sturdier but will never outperform aluminum on the Florida coast where saltwater is known to cause roof corrosion. It’s all about your location, choose your metal accordingly.”

Ultimately, the locale and needs of your project are going to dictate which you use. If the project is near the ocean and not in hurricane territory, the choice will probably be aluminum. If you’re out West and brushfires are a concern, you’re better off with steel. If your concern is the added weight of a metal roof being retrofitted over an old shingle roof on an existing building, then you may want to think aluminum or a light gauge steel.

Roofsmart Pad Overview

What are Roofsmart Pads?

Roofsmart Pads were designed by a veteran roofer to both help protect roofing tiles from damage and help keep workers safe.  Roofsmart Pads are constructed with ABS plastic and a 1.5 inch foam pad.  Each Roofsmart Pad measures 24×40 inches and weighs about 14 lbs. Additional accessories including a ladder brace (for ladder stability and gutter protection), steep step, and utility box are also available.
roofsmart pads review
roofsmart pad size

How do Roofsmart Pads work?

The large surface area combined with the thick foam cushion spreads weight evenly over the roof surface to help prevent roof damage. The foam cushion on a Roofsmart Pad grips into rough surfaces to prevent the pad from slipping.  The ABS plastic shell attached to the cushion provides a strong, stable surface for walking, sitting, and storing materials. 

roofsmart pad foam

Who are Roofsmart Pads for?

Roofsmart Pads aren’t just for roofers.  They are ideal for anyone accessing a roof including painters, handymen, solar installers, siding installers, satellite dish installers, pest control, masons, chimney sweeps, general contractors, and more.

What types of roofs do Roofsmart Pads work on?

Roofsmart Pads can be beneficial in protecting from roof damage on most types of roof including tile, slate, shingle, metal, cedar, and flat roof systems. For steeper slopes, use the included tie-off points to help hold the pad in place, especially on metal, tile, or slate roofs with smooth surfaces. 

The Roofsmart Pad can also work as a non-slip base for ladder use on the ground or roof.

Are Roofsmart Pads safe?

Roofsmart Pads are VERY safe, but only if used as intended. The Roofsmart Pad is not intended to replace other safety practices. Fall protection should always be used when accessing a roof.  Tie-off points are integrated into the Roofsmart Pad to be used for additional safety.

Are Roofsmart Pads durable?

The top shell of the Roofsmart Pad is made with durable ABS plastic.  The 1.5 inch foam pad that contacts the roof surface is thick enough to provide long-lasting protection.

Do Roofsmart Pads really work?

Yes!  Roofsmart Pads effectively spread weight evenly over the roof surface to help prevent roof damage.  The Roofsmart Pads are also excellent for holding tools and materials and keeping them from damaging the roof.  When used on rough roof surfaces at a safe pitch, they will help prevent workers and roofing materials/tools from slipping off the roof.

How can I purchase Roofsmart Pads?

Roofsmart Pads are available in contractor packs of various quantities and can be purchased directly from their website.


How to Identify and Prevent Metal Roof Fading and Chalking


Metal roofing has considerable advantages in comparison to other roofing systems such as asphalt, tile, or cement. Boasting several environmental advantages, a speedy and easy installation process and a lifespan of 40+ years, metal panels have quickly become the most practic coastal metal salesal option for both commercial and residential use. Metal panels come in a robust assortment of colors and finishes, and having the option to choose is a major selling point. When deciding on the color for your metal roof, something you should always consider is fading and chalking – different paint colors can have different benefits and identifying your needs is imperative before selecting a color. Rule of thumb when it comes to fading/chalking is that lighter colors tend to fade slower than darker, deeper hues. This can be tied to several unique factors, including pigment concentration, whether the pigment is organic or inorganic, and whether the finishes are matte or glossy. There are several factors that can contribute to the discoloration of your metal roof which we will explore:

What is Metal Roof Fading?

The fact is anything exposed to harsh elements long term such as UV rays, water/humidity, chemicals, pollution etc., will eventually fade in color. When talking about metal panels “fade” occurs when pigments in the metal’s paint coating break down, resulting in a washed out or lightening of the once-vibrant, original color. Organic pigment-based colors on the bolder side tend to fade the quickest. While earthier tones or inorganic, metallic colors such as silver and copper, will fade the least over time.

What is Metal Roof Chalking?

By definition, metal roof “chalking” is the formation of a whitish residue on painted or coated metal panels. Metal roof chalking occurs through a similar process as metal roof fading—as the paint on the exposed metal wears down, it will turn white and appear chalky. Luckily, chalking isn’t always indicative of roof damage but rather an aesthetic issue. However, since the paint is what’s actually protecting the metal, unaddressed chalking can ultimately shorten a metal roof’s lifespan over time.

What Colors are Best to Avoid Metal Roof Fading and Chalking?

Simply put, lighter colors fade slower than dark colors. However, the most important thing to consider when selecting a color is the quality of the paint being used. At Coastal Metal, we only use Sherwin Williams paint.

“Choosing the correct paint and primer can definitely help prolong the life of your metal roofing system” says Mark Macdonald, sales and marketing manager at Sherwin Williams. “Backed by a 10- & 40-year warranty, Sherwin-Williams is a leading provider of metal roof paints, finishes, and coil coatings that will preserve the aesthetic of any metal roofing system—guaranteed. If your heart’s set on a darker, or more uniquely colored roof, my advice it just make sure that you’re using high-quality paint.”

coastal metal

How to Prevent Metal Roof Chalking and Fading

Chalking and fading is a natural reaction to the elements, but there are a set of steps that you can take to lessen their effects.

  • Ensuring you select an appropriate color and paint system for your project environment

  • Lighter, inorganic paint colors will chalk and fade slower, and it will be less apparent when they do.

  • High-quality metal paints, like Sherwin Williams will make a difference when it comes to protecting your roof from fading/chalking.

  • Make a concerted effort to avoid overexposure to sunlight, moisture, and other harmful chemicals and pollutants. For example, studies have shown that roofs facing north are exposed to less direct sunlight than roofs facing south.

  • When purchasing a dark color roof, consider tacking on a roof warranty that covers chalking and fading.

How to Explain Roofing Supplements with Homeowners

Supplements are an integral part of the insurance restoration process. So, why do we have such a hard time explaining them to our homeowners? It’s simple. We get scared. So, we either don’t tell them, or we brush over it so fast that they don’t really understand the process.

But, if you wait until the end to talk about supplements with your homeowners, they won’t understand and will be less likely to hand over the full depreciation check when they receive it. Alternatively, if you talk about it early and you inform them throughout the process, you will have an educated, informed customer, who trusts you, as the contractor, because you’ve kept them in the loop.


Talk about supplements early and often so that they are prepared, and they understand why they are receiving more money on the final check and why that money needs to be paid to you.

  • During the contingency/contract signing
  • When a supplement has been submitted 
  • If/when it’s been approved 
  • When the depreciation is released


You should have something about supplements on the form you ask them to sign – whether it’s on a contingency, contract, or agreement – it should be on there with a place for them to initial. When you’re talking to your homeowners and you’re getting to the point on the agreement where you need to talk about supplements, here are your talking points:

  1. GIVE THE WHY: Insurance Adjusters are busy, especially after a big storm and may miss things.

[INSERT NAME], listen, I’m pretty busy in this industry. In one day, I may get on four, 

five or even six roofs. Some of these adjusters get on 10 to 15 roofs a day. And then 

they go back to their hotel or back to their office and stay up until 2 a.m. writing 

estimates. So, as human beings, it’s inevitable that they’re going to miss things.”

  1. EXPLAIN WHAT A SUPPLEMENT IS: additional funds allowed by the insurance company for items that were not included in the adjuster’s original estimate.

So, the insurance company has created this mechanism called a supplement, so that 

when things are missed, or when there is a discrepancy on their estimate verse what it 

actually takes to fully repair the home, there is a way to go back to them and request 

those extra funds and extra items; and that is what a supplement is.” 


So, [INSERT NAME], right here on our agreement, it says, ‘plus any supplements 

approved by the insurance carrier.’ Notice, it’s approved by the insurance carrier, 

[INSERT NAME]. Not by me. They decide whether or not this should be paid for. And 

they do that by me, as your contractor, providing them evidence as to why something 

should be paid for.” 


So, that’s what a supplement is and that’s why it exists. It was created by the insurance companies because sometimes things are missed. Does that make sense to you? Great! Initial right here, and I’ll keep you informed about this throughout the whole process.”

So, now the homeowner understands why you will be supplementing. But you’re not done. Remember, you need to talk about it upfront, but you also need to talk about it often. You need to inform your client throughout the whole process.

At Elite, when we work with a contractor, we’re constantly updating them on each step of the process. “Hey, we just reached out to the adjuster with the new scope, here’s what the amount was. Hey, we just got word back…they didn’t take all of it, but they took these 10 items and it amounted to $4,500. Here’s what the items are…”

When you have that information, whether using Elite or a firm like Elite, or you’re doing it yourself, give that info to the customer.

If you talk about supplements early and often, your homeowners will be prepared and will understand why they are receiving more money and why that money needs to be paid to you.

Want to hear the pitch? Watch this video:

Need a cheat sheet to keep when you need a refresher? Download it here:  >FREE CHEAT SHEET<

How To Get A Flat Roof Insurance Claim Approved

How to get a Flat Roof Insurance Claim Approved

On the surface, flat roofs seem simpler than your average sloped roofs. But, with several different types of flat roofs and three different ways to install them, flat roofs are far from simple. Many adjusters don’t understand the intricacies of flat roofs and will often select the cheapest materials in Xactimate (i.e., Roll Roofing) – which often isn’t the correct material.

Because adjusters don’t have in-depth knowledge when it comes to flat roofs, the burden of proof falls heavily on you as the contractor. For example, if the adjuster doesn’t include enough modified bitumen, because he/she doesn’t understand how it is installed or ordered, you need to submit supporting documents – measurements, code requirements, core samples, invoices, etc. – that prove these funds and additional materials are needed.

So, what do you need to submit to get your flat roofing jobs approved?

1. Inspection Checklist & Measurements.  At Elite, we require a filled-out inspection checklist for all flat roof jobs. Why? We need to know what types of products are currently on the roof and how they are applied. We also need to know what type of penetrations the roof has. For example, the number of drains, pipe jacks, exhaust vents, etc. 

Measurements are super important when it comes to ordering the correct amount of materials, and for proving to adjusters why you need that amount. For flat roofs, the wall height is especially important to determine how much material to install. The wall could be anywhere between 1 and 6 feet high and most times this is left off an adjuster’s scope of loss.

Download Elite’s Roof Inspection Checklist.

2. Photos from the photo checklist. As always, you will need photos to prove your case. Damage photos, flashing photos, photos showing access issues, core sample photos, etc. will be necessary to show why you need what you’re asking for.

Download Elite’s Photo Checklists

3. Roof Core Sample. We recommend taking a core sample to give us a better indication of what lies beneath the top layer. A roof core sample is a process in which you bore or drill out a two-inch diameter hole in the flat roof, from the top layer to the deck, to see how many layers of roofing material and insulation exist. Core samples are critical to establish how much labor and debris charges should be included on the Xactimate estimate and, when documented correctly, it is very difficult for the adjuster to deny those funds.

Core samples are typically taken with a tool known as a core cutter, roof core sample tool, or a roof core sampler.  Roof core sample tools can be manually operated or attached as a drill bit and range in price from $50 to $200. 

Example of manually operated core sample tool

Example of power drill core sample tool

Remember to take pictures showing you completed a core sample and to prove the number of layers present!

roof core sample

roof core sample thickness

4. Thermal Imaging. There are a couple different ways to detect a leak, but we recommend using thermal imaging. In fact, we’ve gotten total roofs approved based on thermal images. When moisture penetrates the membrane, it causes the area to hold heat. So, if there are red areas on the thermal image, it means water is underneath the cap sheet/flat roofing system. If the image is as red as the image below, code will require the roof to be replaced. 

roof thermal image

Photo Caption: The red across the roof shows areas where moisture has penetrated the membrane

There are plenty of services out there that you can use to have thermal images taken for you. You can also ask your local supplier if they have a thermal imaging camera for purchase.

For more information about flat roof supplementing, check out Elite’s Flat Roof Supplementing page.

4 Best Roofing Hammers

Here is a selection of some of the best and most popular hammers for roofers.  This list includes the best roof hammers for shinglers and the best slate roof hammers.

Because these hammers vary in style and use, they are listed in no particular order.  Pro and cons, along with reviews can be found by clicking the link at the bottom of each description.

1. Stiletto Titanium Lathe Axe (hatchet)

best roofing hammers


Although not usually listed as a roofing hammer, the Stiletto Titanium Lathe Axe (also listed as a lather’s hatchet) is popular with shingle roofers because of its light, sleek design (and because it looks like an impressive weapon).

With the combination of titanium and fiberglass, the hammer head weighs in at just 10 ounces.  The total weight is 1.3 pounds.  The lathe axe has the comparable striking force of a 24 ounce steel hammer, while putting less stress on your body.

It has a milled finish head with a rubber coated poly/fiberglass handle. The handle is 13 inches long.  This hammer also features a magnetic nail starter.  READ MORE REVIEWS

2. Picard 0079010 Roofer’s Hammer

The Picard Roofer’s Hammer (0079010) weighs in at about 2 pounds and is great for roofing, especially slate roofing. It has a checked head for better grip on nails, and also a magnetic nail set.  The hammer also has a claw for pulling nails. Its main feature is a pointed tip that is great for punching holes in slate.  The body is solid steel and the handle has a comfortable leather grip.  READ MORE REVIEWS

3. AJC Hatchet MWT-005-MH 

The AJC Roofing Hatchet is popular with shingle roofers. It has a magnetic head that works well for installing cap nails.  The head also features a nail puller.  Other features are a shingle guide and built-in knife for cutting shingles and underlayment.  This model has a solid wood handle and weighs 1.64 pounds. READ MORE REVIEWS

4. Stortz Slate Hammer

The Stortz Slate Hammer is designed specifically for slate roof work.  It weights 28 ounces and has a leather handle grip.  The hammer’s head has a checkered face to help grip nails when hammering.  The hammer has a sharp point to punch holes in slate.  It has a double-sided claw for removing nails.  The shank of the hammer is beveled in order to be used for trimming slate. Often a slate anvil is used in conjunction with the hammer.  FIND OUT MORE

Types of Roofing Hammers

Even with the innovation of pneumatic roofing nail guns, hammers are still necessary in roofing.  There are many different shapes and sizes of hammers available, each with different specific functions.  For residential roofing, four styles of hammers are mostly used.  What type you use depends on what type of roofing you are doing.  Asphalt shingles, slate, tile, and cedar shingles are the most common roofing material for sloped residential roofs, and installation for these materials usually requires a hammer and fasteners.

curved claw hammer

Some common hammer options include smooth face, milled face (to help grip the nail), magnetic nail holder, steel head, titanium head, wood handle, fiberglass handle, steel handle, rubber handle grip, leather handle grip, replaceable heads, etc.

Double-claw Hammer

The double-claw hammer is the most common all-around hammer used in general roofing applications.  straight claw hammer The claw is for pulling nails, or to pry wood or other materials, and can either be straight or curved.  A straight claw may also be used for light demolition.  A framing hammer is usually too large and unnecessary for most residential roofing work.

Roofing Hatchet

A roofing hatchet (small axe) is primarily used for asphalt shingle installation.  The hatchet can be used for demolition.

shingle roofing hatchet

Other features roofing hatchets may have are shingle guides, built-in knife for cutting shingles, magnetic nail holder, and nail pullers.

Roofing Pick Hammer

The pick hammer includes the ability to pull nails, but has a sharpened pick instead of a double claw. roofing pick hammer The pick can be used to punch holes in slate and other materials.

Slate Hammer

While not essential to slate repair and installation, the slate hammer makes working with slate more efficient.  Features include a sharpened pick to punch nail holes, nail puller, beveled shaft to cut slates.  There are different versions for left and right-handed users. A slate anvil is an accessory often used when trimming slate.slate anvil

Roofing Safety Equipment

Roofing is a dangerous job, and it is important to provide a safe working environment for all employees in your roofing company.  It is not only crucial from a safety standpoint, but also from a legal standpoint.  Osha has strict rules about job safety that will result in huge fines if not followed.

Below is a list of roofing safety gear and equipment you may need to help protect you and your employees from injuries and to help your company avoid unnecessary fines.  This is just a sample list.  The safety equipment you will need may vary depending on the type of job you are doing.

Safety harness/ fall arrest system

Fall protection gear is designed to either prevent a worker from falling at all, or will limit the freefall distance.

Roof Anchors

Roof Anchors attach to the roof and are used in conjunction with a safety harness or fall arrest system.  There are different styles of roof anchors that are compatible with different types of roof systems such as metal, asphalt shingle, tile, etc.

Warning Line systems
Eye Protection

Ear Protection


Hard Hats

Safety Vests

Roof Ladder (also called chicken ladder)

Scamming a Scammer

Scams targeting contractors can come in a variety of forms through email, text, phone, and even social media.  Being able to recognize scams and avoid them (or report them) can help save valuable time and money.

There are different types of scams.  Some “scams” are from actual businesses, but the services they offer don’t always bring the results you expect.  These often deal with marketing, lead generation, websites, gaining social media followers, “updating your Google listing”, and more.  If it sounds too good to be true, it often is.

Most scams contractors will encounter are “nuisance scams”.  They often come from foreign countries and can be a source of enjoyable reading.  The following email wasn’t targeting a contractor, but is an example of a more outlandish scheme someone is trying to pull off.:

Other scams are slightly harder to detect, especially if you have never received one before.  I have received numerous requests via text and email through my roofing business.  Here is a recent example:

This was sent to my business number, which is found on my ROOFING website.  Yes, I am a roofing contractor.  Payment details are also available on my website.  I have received other generic messages asking if I do roof repair.  All of the scam messages ask if I accept credit card.  Many make a plea for help- they are sick, disabled, are deaf, have an emergency, etc.  If you choose to respond, you should be able to determine rather quickly if the request is legitimate or not.  You will need to be discerning and not dismiss every cryptic text or email you receive. I have had local customers who had legitimate roofing needs contact me with vague details.  Most legitimate customers will give a more detailed description of their roofing needs along with contact information.

Phone scams are also becoming more popular.  Phone numbers can be altered to show up as local numbers on caller ID.

Next, we will document a recent interaction with someone supposedly named “sara E Monk”, who is targeting roofing contractors.  Scams similar to this have been reported by local news agencies in the United States and Canada.  Some roofers have gone as far as providing full estimates and personal contact details, although I am not aware of any contractors actually losing money through these schemes.  Most of the loss is through wasted time and effort in going through the work of providing an estimate and through back-and-forth communications.

The following email was sent to our email address at The Roofer’s Helper.  The Roofer’s Helper is a website for roofers.  We don’t offer roofing services to homeowners.  This scammer saw “roofer” and decided to go for it.  I don’t know where these scammers are from, but they are obviously foreign, and may possibly be using a translator to communicate.  I always wondered how something like this works, so I decided to play along.  If you are curious as to how one of these scammers operates, read on (the screenshots are in order, but some of the email time stamps are not accurate- there must be a discrepancy between my mail server and my phone):

They just bought a house “around me”.  There is a business address on our website.  They will use this address to find the house they “recently bought” nearby.  While the email is vague, it is understandable why a contractor would respond, and at least get more information.  Many years ago I responded to the first email I got similar to this because I didn’t know any better (and also was looking for work).

I responded with enthusiasm, including my credentials, but didn’t specify what payments I accept, which is what they really want to know.

They immediately get to the mode of payment.  This is critical for things to continue.

They asked if I accepted check or credit card.  Why not cash?  What contractor doesn’t like cash? 

Now that they got an answer to the payment method, they send “the house address”.  Their response is obviously cut-and-pasted…3 different ways (different size and type of font)!  The house is a legitimate address near me, and is currently for sale.

I decided to have a little fun giving some options before providing and estimate to see how they would respond.  (It was raining while I was writing- that part was true).  I thought I wouldn’t get a response after that, but…

You will notice throughout these email interactions that the scammer tries to stick with a script.  They rarely respond naturally to what I have written, which is obviously ridiculous. My thoughtful and creative options for their roof replacement are ignored.  They want me to give a price so they can move ahead with the scam.

I was really curious if they would choose one of those ridiculous choices.  I thought the conversation would end here when they looked over those roof options again.

They want a metal roof???  That wasn’t one of the choices!

As all roofers know, metal is a horrible choice for roofing.  I already gave two premium choices.  Pick one already!

Aaaaargh!  Don’t you read????

Time for me to cut and paste.

Well, they researched the options and finally decided to go with the “combestors”.  “Combestors“???

We all know the customer is always right.  If they want combestors, we give them combestors.  To mix things up, I offered to coat the whole roof for a bargain price of $232.89.

I think I shocked them with my affordable pricing.  I low-balled the price because I didn’t want to lose the job to a competitor.


They got the method of payment and a price confirmed.  Here comes the pitch.  Oh, they need a favor!  Lung cancer…hospital…out of town…having a problem…need help.  I had to go get a box of tissues.  A side note: It looks like they got an incredible deal on this house!  They said they already paid 85% and that they now only owe $2,000 more.  If my math is correct, that would mean that the purchase price of the house is approximately $13,3333.00.   The current listed asking price was almost $240k!

This is a perfect example of one of the classic schemes.  The scammer will overpay you, and then ask you to wire the difference somewhere.  The money they send won’t clear the bank, or may be from a stolen credit card.  You end up losing any money you send.  Although it is rare, people have fallen for this.  Don’t be that person!

I don’t agree to the scam, but do call them out on cheating me of $0.89.  I mean, come on!

They ignore my response and want confirmation that I agree to be suckered…I mean agree to help them.

Ok, I don’t want to be too cold-hearted.  I’ll help.

I’d rather not give my phone number to you.  Can’t we do this through email?

Oops.  I think they started to cut and paste the first email again…and accidentally hit “send”.  Do I have to start this whole conversation over again??

Ok.  I will if I have to.

Guess they didn’t like the content of my last email.  Ignored.  They are still pressing for my contact info, and of course they want to know I will do a very good job.

I’m getting tired of this and kindly send an email address where they could continue the dialogue.  This is the email address the Federal Trade Commission provides to report deceptive emails.

They ignore me and appear to be getting frustrated. Is that anger or disappointment?

Maybe they’ll communicate with our Billing Coordinator, Ima Spam.

Guess they aren’t interested in dealing with Ima.

Last email I sent.  Haven’t heard back.  Either they decided to contact Ima, or they have given up.

As you can see, these scammers are very persistent, but also very scripted.  It’s amazing that the conversation lasted as long as it did.  Perhaps some scammers are better communicators than others, making the scam harder to detect.  An optimistic person (who only sees the good in others), a generous person, or a contractor desperate for customers, may all be more susceptible to falling for something like this.  There’s not a whole lot that can be done other than ignore and/or report these scammers.  If you choose to interact with a scammer, do it at your own risk.  You may possibly be dealing with someone who won’t appreciate you doing to them what they are trying to do to you.