Robert Lamoureux | In search of a scrupulous roofer

Robert Lamoureux
Robert Lamoureux

Question: Dear Robert, I am an avid reader of your column, and I have been able to do small home repairs as a result of your detailed instructions, and also ask the right questions when dealing with repairmen. I am a retired senior, living in Santa Clarita, with a large project in front of me: a new roof for a single-story 1,250-square-foot home.  

Last year I spoke with two roofing companies about the project. When I mentioned a “permit” for the roofing they both wanted to increase the price by $300 to $500 because they said “their employee would have to stand around waiting for a permit.” They did not want to get permits.  

This year I must get the job done as the roof is 26 years old and missing a small number of tiles here and there. My request is, would it be possible for you to give me a referral for two or three reputable roofing companies that serve Santa Clarita? It would be appreciated tremendously.  

I also have two questions. (1) Do I need a permit? (2) When my second roof was installed in 1996, the roofer said I could put on up to three roofs (original plus two). When did Santa Clarita change that rule to two roofs (original plus one)? Maybe it was always two roofs. Just curious. Robert, thank you for any assistance you can provide.  

Sincerely, Francesca G. 

Answer: Francesca, thank you for being a loyal reader of The Signal. Let me start with, if a roofer does not want to pull roofing permits, then there is a problem somewhere and you don’t want to be involved with someone like this. There are many substandard contractors out there.  

I’m happy to hear that you read and follow my guidance. Let me be very clear here. Building and Safety is there for you. They are called Building and SAFETY. SAFETY is the key word. They really don’t care what color you’re painting your house or what mirrors you’re hanging. They care about your SAFETY. The city of Santa Clarita is one of the best to deal with, in my experience. They are expeditious in getting your permits as well as the inspection times. I work with many cities and hands-down, Santa Clarita is the top on my list as far as making things move along.  

These men and women are highly trained in this field and will only do things the right way. If the sheeting (the plywood below the shingles) happens to be bad, the inspector will require that the old sub-roof be replaced. They make sure the roof is being replaced with a like material so that the existing roof will handle the load. You don’t want to overload your roof with materials that are heavier than what it was designed to hold, and they make sure there are no more than the two roofs to not overload the structure.  

These people are in the building department to protect you. They will make sure the paper is installed correctly and it’s then at that time the contractor will be permitted to install the shingles or whatever roof you are installing.  

In a nutshell, I recommend you go with a licensed, insured contractor who will go through the proper permitting process. Best of luck. 

Robert Lamoureux has more than 40 years of experience as a general contractor, with separate licenses in electrical and plumbing contracting. He owns IMS Construction Inc. in Valencia. His opinions are his own, not necessarily those of The Signal. Opinions expressed in this column are not meant to replace the recommendations of a qualified contractor after that contractor has made a thorough visual inspection. Email questions to Robert at [email protected].    

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