Roof repairs keep the phones ringing at Ray St. Clair Roofing even though they also handle siding, windows and doors, chimneys and insulation, says Kevin St. Clair.

“We see a variety that includes brand-new roofs installed incorrectly and leaking immediately to a roof needing replaced and everything in between. Fifty percent is due to someone else’s poor workmanship, fifty percent from the roof reaching its life expectancy.”

To avoid the former, he advises homeowners to consider the longevity of the company, a Better Business Bureau backing, a spot on Angie’s List and references that a homeowner has actually checked.

“We are a non-licensed industry, not regulated like plumbers and electricians,” he says, “and that opens the door for a lot of poor workmanship.”

Many roofing companies don’t like to deal with repairs “because there’s no money in it” or they don’t like trying to fix someone else’s mistake. But it’s the St. Clair bread and butter.

“It’s the building block of our company,” he says. “Most folks who we do repairs for call us back when other work needs to be done. We build a relationship and that evolves into other work – siding, gutter protection, insulation.”

Five of the most common roof repairs St. Clair gets include:

Missing shingles. The telltale sign for the homeowner is an errant shingle, a piece of shingle in the yard or a portion of the roof that looks discolored. But in many cases, homeowners don’t know there’s a problem until a stain or spot shows up on the ceiling inside. The best way to prevent it is to get the roof inspected every couple of years. “We give free estimates if there’s a problem. For inspections – for example, if a homeowner is buying or selling – we charge $150 then wave the fee if we do the repair work.”

Flashing leaks. Most often, leaks occur in the flashing area, where metalwork is installed at any penetration or wall detail on the home … spots where proper workmanship is especially important – for example, a chimney, skylight or pipe.

Gutters. “The gutter system is only as good as its securement,” St. Clair says. “We find a lot of gutters improperly fastened to begin with so they loosen quickly.” Gutters are first cleaned, and then properly secured, making sure the pitching is right for drainage and that the end caps and miters are sealed to prevent leaking.

Skylights. Failed flashing, a skylight that needs to be replaced or one that has been compromised in some manner usually brings the crew out. “A lot of firms don’t like to deal with skylights because they are somewhat complicated and often come from many different manufacturers. Skylights have come a long way and you should be OK as long as you have a good quality window with top insulation.”

Ventilation. “A repair we often find in the summer months occurs in homes that are 30-plus year old or older and need additional ventilation for proper air flow. If you don’t have proper air flow through the attic shingles can prematurely age or dry rot can occur.” In summer, homes already have the sun beating down on the roof. The last thing you want is for the underside of the roof to be heated up “cooking” the roof. That will help prolong the life of the roof and make the living area more comfortable at the same time.