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Neighbor Referrals Help Out

The appearance of the new roof was the main concern of the Tilleses when they re-roofed their home in Mar Vista.

February 11, 2001|MARCIE GEFFNER | Special to The Times

Like many homeowners, David and Anna Tilles made appearance the top criterion when they decided to purchase a new roof for their 2,200-square-foot home in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles. And in their case, appearance meant a "nice, big textured composite shingle," David Tilles says.

The style of the couple's home and other homes in the neighborhood was a prime consideration.

"If you have a flat roof, whatever you put up there isn't visible. But if the pitch is steep, people see more of the roof," Tilles says. "We wanted to go with a textured thick shingle because our roof has a steep pitch and the original roofs in the neighborhood were wood shake. That eliminated most of the other building materials."

The cost, durability, manufacturer's warranty and other factors were at best ancillary considerations for Tilles.

"I didn't have too many choices because the appearance of our roof was the main consideration," he says.

Tilles wasn't altogether surprised at the $18,000 materials-and-labor price tag on the roof he wanted because he'd obtained preliminary estimates for a new roof when he purchased the home in 1997. The original roof wasn't leaking then or even last year, when he decided to replace it, but he knew it didn't have many years remaining on its estimated 20-year life span.

Rather than shopping for the perfect roofing material, Tilles focused on finding a well-qualified roofing contractor, then selecting the materials from among those the contractor recommended and had available. But first, he sought references from several neighbors who already had replaced their roofs.

"The installation job on my neighbors' homes was very professional, and I decided that since the materials were all within the ballpark in terms of cost, that I would go with whatever [the contractor] was selling," Tilles says. The chosen material was described in his contract as "fire-free rustic shake plus."

Tilles is still working on other projects in his homeowner to-do file.

"I am actually not done with the house," he says. "I decided to paint and do some other things. One thing triggers another."

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