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Get the Facts About Your Roof Estimate: An Interview with Douglas Turner of Turner & Sons Roofing & Siding, LLC

By Douglas Turner

Please tell us a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Turner & Sons Roofing & Siding, LLC, is a third-generation family business owned and operated in Middletown, Connecticut. It was started by Donald Turner Sr. in 1956 under the guiding principles of beauty, quality and responsibility for every project. The company operated with his six sons until 1979, at which point the brothers split up the company geographically in Connecticut and opened their own remodeling businesses under the same principles of their father.

Today my father, Hayden, and I own and operate the original Turner & Sons, still in Middletown, and are currently transitioning ownership to myself, the third generation. Besides our founding principles of beauty, quality and responsibility, I will continue to operate Turner & Sons under the best advice from my father: If you are honest and do good work then you should never run out of work." Running a successful and respected business is as simple as that advice. We treat our customers like family and will work with you to get your project completed correctly. We offer residential exterior remodeling services for roofing, siding, replacement windows, gutters and repairs in Middlesex County.

Is there something important that people should know about getting an estimate from a roofing company?

There are a few general criteria that every roofing company should meet. Do they hold a current home improvement license? Do they have the proper insurance - both worker's compensation and liability insurance? When searching for a home remodeling contractor, ask friends, family and neighbors for referrals! I cannot stress this enough. No shiny ad can possibly give you insight to how good a company is like a referral from a past customer.

During the estimate, ask questions. Any roofing contractor can repeat manufacturer created sales slogans about their roofing system, but the good contractor can tell you why the system will or will not work on your home and adjust as necessary. Educate yourself prior to calling for estimates. Learn common roofing nomenclature but do not get caught up in specific installation specifications. One size does not fit all.

How do you calculate an estimate for a new roof? What about the cost to re-roof or repair a roof?

We calculate an estimate for a new roof by determining our labor and material costs and the time it will take to complete. I want to make sure we're all on the same page. A new roof is removing the old roofing down to the wood decking, installing all applicable underlayments and installing new shingles. A re-roof is installing a new layer of shingles over top of an existing layer. A maximum of two layers is allowed by code on Connecticut roofs. So, if you have one layer you can go over it again. If you have two layers, they must be removed before applying the new layer. Although, not all one-layer roofs are ideal to be covered with a second layer.

We do not condone roofing over shingles that are curling or over the top of a layer of architectural shingles. Often the unevenness of the shingles below will transcribe into the new roof and is not aesthetically pleasing. Also, the uneven layers below create voids between the two layers of roofing causing the fasteners to "blow through" and not creating a good seal. The cost to re-roof is less than a new roof because you do not have to strip the first layer, saving time, labor and dump fees. Repairing a roof is a cost-effective way to extend your current roof if the roof is not beyond its useful life expectancy.

Are there any extra charges that could possibly raise or lower an estimate?

Not all roofs are the same. Aside from normal roofing costs and materials, the following can add costs to any project: roof deck wood replacement and flashing repairs or full replacement around chimneys, skylights, and roof to wall junctions. It is important to make sure you are comparing. It is important to make sure you are comparing apples to apples when deciding between estimates. Some contractors do not replace the chimney counter flashing when doing a new roof. This is often necessary to appropriately cover the step flashing along the sides of the chimney. It is also necessary to add or replace step flashing at roof to wall junctions and skylights as the size of shingles have changed to metric and no longer fit the standard English flashing that was installed when the home was built. Ask your contractor about these concerns.

Finally, ventilation. Roof ventilation is necessary for all homes to extend the life of the roof shingles, as well as remove unwanted heat from the attic space of the home. There are two types of ventilation systems: gable vents and ridge vents. You do not want both. Many contractors often use ridge vents as an upsell when the home is properly vented already. Educate yourself on the two types, and pros and cons of both.

After people receive an estimate, how can they make sure that everything is included?

Best way to make sure everything is included is ASK questions. The contractor should leave you with a detailed proposal of everything that is to be completed and the payment terms.

What advice do you have for a homeowner who has a limited budget but doesn't want to go with the company who provided the lowest estimate?

This is often the toughest decision for any homeowner. Everyone knows that money doesn't grow on trees and you often get what you pay for. If you have done your homework, asked for neighbors' referrals, gotten estimates, and have a really good feeling about one of the contractors but their price is out of budget, ask for a different payment schedule or if a repair can extend your roof until funds are available. You cannot receive if you do not ask.

What's the best way for people to contact your company?

The best way to contact us is call, 860-346-7405. We do have a website where customers can submit a request for us to contact them and both owners are always available and present on all jobs

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