Not knowing a lot about roofing, I did a lot of research. There are many stories about being taken advantage of, but it is still difficult to be sure. I came down to four companies from whom to get estimates, based on their websites, reviews, and telephone discussions. We had a tile roof that was 30 years old. I couldn't see how tile could deteriorate much in 100 years, let alone 30. I learned from the research, however, that it wasn't the tile, but what lay beneath.
I gave the four my requirements: proven technology, no leaks, met code, able to accommodate a solar system, and work with the solar installation team. Of the four, one came back with an estimate to replace everything, including the tile (I didn't believe I needed to replace that, and it cost about $2,000 more). The others came back with a "lift and re-lay," replace the underlayment, and other work as needed. One proposed a new technology. Since I am trained in some of the relevant technologies, I called the manufacturer and asked some very technical questions, which they answered honestly (to their credit) – I ended up not choosing that bidder. Of the other two, one just offered a cursory estimate. He was late for his appointment – and, after two hours, called to reschedule. Nearing the time of his appointment again, he called and said that because of rain he did not feel safe getting on the roof. I rejected his bid based on his commitment to keeping schedules, his lack of transparency, and customer engagement.
The first to respond was San Diego County Roofing (so, everyone else was compared to them, luckily). Dylon, the estimator, was courteous, paid attention to detail, and answered all my questions fully. He went through the attic to check to see if everything was up to code. Dylon got up on the roof to check for potential problems. One such was our chimney. It turns out the code had changed and he had to add in a small charge for a different flashing to accommodate. I asked about working with a solar company. The solar company wanted to take measurements, mark out the panel installation, and have the roofer install stanchions and their flashing, part way through the roofing project. Dylon said no problem. He said that they would also install more, smaller vents (turned out to be very cheap). Dylon was very knowledgeable, took the time necessary for a good estimate, provided a detailed proposal, and, best of all, listened to my requirements and concerns.
The virus pandemic occurred about the time we were going to start. The solar people had asked to postpone for a month. SD County Roofing was able to accommodate that request and was more than happy to coordinate directly with the solar company. During the installation, all the workers on the installation team were friendly, courteous, and very respectful of virus precautions. It went quickly and according to the schedule laid out in the proposal. They lifted the tile, checked for rot on wood sheathing and fascia, installed a sheet metal cricket for the chimney to meet code, and installed new low visibility ember resistant vents. They then paused to allow the solar company to make their measurements and deliver the stanchions and flashing. SD County Roofing then installed the stanchions, flashing, and re-laid the tile roof – with extra-long nails to ensure the solar team did not cause the tiles to move during their installation. The team was fast, efficient, and a pleasure to have around. It has only been a month since the installation, but I will report back should any concerns arise. I highly recommend San Diego County Roofing – they were knowledgeable, transparent, willing to answer questions and provide detailed answers, courteous, and took good virus precautions.