Andres Asencio comes from a long line of roofers and homebuilding trade professionals. He’s been around roofing his entire life, and he’s now the founder, owner, and subcontractor/contractor of the family business Optimum Roofing Solutions, a residential and commercial roofing company in Houston, Texas. Because he’s such an expert in his field, we went to him first with our roofing questions, which pertain to homeowners, contractors, and business owners alike.
What are some of the biggest changes you are seeing in the roofing industry?
The roofing industry is enjoying a time of relative ease at the moment, because the strains of the recession are finally starting to let up. Both domestic and commercial customers aren’t as financially limited anymore, so they’re willing to spend more for higher quality materials.
We’re also seeing a substantial increase in the popularity of single ply membrane roofs. The built-up market is in decline, and modified bitumen and single ply products are definitely on the up. Thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) is particularly huge right now. This is likely due to a number of pricing pressures within the market; things are getting a lot more competitive now that the wider industry has gained pace again.
What’s the main thing you wished customers understood about the roofing industry?
It’s easy to forget that pricing and purchasing requires a lot of work, long before any physical labor begins on a job. But the fees that contractors charge roofing customers are not random or arbitrary; they can only be arrived at after a thorough review of market prices, inflation, material costs, labor rates, and a dozen other considerations.
Roof systems and repairs are not an area where you want to be paying for poor quality materials, even if it knocks your expenses down a little. If you’re on a tight budget, choose a contractor that will work closely with you to find suitable solutions, without compromising on strength, durability, or style.
What is your advice for homeowners looking to get a new roof? What tips would you like to share with them?
The most important thing is maintenance. We see so many customers making rash decisions about materials, only to later realize that they can’t keep up with the routine maintenance. For instance, wood shingles and shakes look beautiful, if installed correctly, but they require a huge amount of care, so we advise customers to carefully weigh all options before making a decision.
What sets your company apart from your competitors?
We simply love what we do. Yes, it’s a job—we can switch off and go home to our families at the end of the day, but only if we’ve given our customers the chance to do it for themselves first; and that’s what great roofing is all about.
We stand out from the crowd because we’re always here to help. Our customers can get in touch with us 24/7, in the event of a roofing emergency (for example, after a bad storm) and we’ll head to their location right away.
What are the top five questions homeowners should ask when working with a roofing company?
1. Do you carry general liability insurance?
2. Will you use ladder stabilizers or standoffs to protect my gutters during roofing work?
3. Are you going to dispose of waste materials yourself or do I have to do it?
4. What happens if poor weather delays or disrupts the work?
5. What is the warranty on my new roof?
In what ways is your company taking strides to be more environmentally friendly?
We now regularly build roofs that are designed to integrate solar panels. We are also working with businesses to install cool roofs that reflect sunlight and reduce unwanted heat gain during the summer months. These roofing options not only substantially decrease energy consumption, they also create healthier, more comfortable environments for employees. We are also working with eco-friendly materials, like metal, to create roofs that are as green as they are stylish.
What do you recommend homeowners do before investing in a new roof?
It’s important to plan ahead for a big construction project, and this means thinking about things like access to the work site. Are there any landscaping or garden features that are particularly vulnerable and might need protection from the roofing work? Do your neighbors know about the project beforehand?
Before any work starts, make sure that you have a cost estimate and an estimated completion date—and understand that both of these figures are subject to change. Like all construction work, progress may be delayed by the weather or other unexpected complications. Nevertheless, having firm goals to work toward helps the project stay on track and it gives customers more insight into how fast the work will move so that they can adjust their routines to accommodate it.
The best way to be informed about a roofing project is to simply talk to your contractor. The team that is originally assigned to work on your new roof will be the same one that finishes it, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and share your thoughts with them.
If you could describe your company in 3 words, what would it be?
Innovative, friendly, and dependable.