When it comes time to replace your roof, choosing the right person for the job is crucial. If installed improperly, a new roof can lead to water leaks and damage to your home. Make sure you get it right by carefully vetting potential roofers to find a roofing company you trust. Here are nine questions to ask when hiring a roofing contractor:
1. Will they provide references?
If a potential roofing service provider won’t provide references, there’s likely a reason for that. Most reputable contractors will be willing to give a list of satisfied clients. Ideally, you will want contact information for at least three clients they have worked with in the past six months. Don’t just take the references at face value. Reach out to them to confirm what the roofer tells you and ask questions about timeliness, sticking to the budget, respect for your property, whether they left a mess or caused any damage, and anything else you might want to know. You can even ask for addresses of past jobs and drive by to see the quality of work yourself.
Every contractor is going to tell you they will do a good job. Hearing it from someone else can reinforce the things they are telling you and build trust between you and the contractor.
2. How long have they been in business?
This question can provide a great deal of information. Newer companies aren’t necessarily bad. In fact, sometimes they will be less expensive because they need to build up a client base. However, with that lower price come more risks since the company is less established.
An established contractor is more likely to be around years from now if there is a problem with the roof they installed. Your new roof is an investment. A company that will be around for many years, standing by that investment, can provide extra security.
If their prices are slightly higher, that may be because they are charging enough to keep their business healthy. In the end, that may be worth paying for.
3. Are they local?
A local roofing company is more likely to stand by their work and be available to you if you have questions or issues. They are a part of the community. That means they have a reputation to protect.
Larger, national roofing companies may have lower prices because they do more business, but the downside to that is that they don’t know the area, and they may be hard to reach with questions or concerns. A local roofing company knows your area’s climate and what that means for roofing. They also have a local presence that makes them easier to contact with questions and respond to concerns.
4. Will they put it in writing?
A written contract protects you and ensures you get what you were promised.
Reputable roofing contractors should be willing to put in writing the scope of the work and any other particulars to which they agree. This should include the specific materials they will use, including color, type, and brand; the timelines for the project; payment schedules and total cost; any subcontractors they might use; and the plan for debris removal, as well as any other specifics that are important to you.
If they won’t put their promises and terms in writing, that should raise a huge red flag.
5. Are they licensed, insured, and bonded?
The answer to all 3 of these questions should be ‘yes.’ Let’s look at what each of them means.
Licensed: This means a contractor has registered with the state board of contractor licensing.
Insured: All contractors should have insurance to cover themselves and their work. For example, if a worker is injured on your property, this insurance covers that, removing some or all of your liability.
Bonded: Contractors work with bonding companies that guarantee work is performed correctly and ethically. If your contractor fails to finish a job or doesn’t correctly perform the work, this bond gives you some recourse.
Any roofing contractor you are considering should be willing to provide copies of documents verifying all three of these things.
6. What warranty do they provide for their work?
If they don’t trust their own work, you shouldn’t trust it either.
That’s why it is essential to find a roofing contractor that stands by their work. Warranties range from non-existent to 25 years or more. This is different from the warranty or guarantee that comes with the product and applies only to problems associated with the work performed. If your roofing fails due to installation issues, this warranty protects you as long as the company is still in business.
7. Are they certified by shingle manufacturers, especially the brand you plan to use?
Shingle manufacturers will typically select several contractors in a given area to receive their certification. Often the manufacturer will research to find roofing contractors with the best reputations and track records in a community. Sometimes, this allows the contractor to provide extended warranties, and it is also an indication that the shingle manufacturer has confidence in the contractor’s ability to install their products properly.
If a roofing contractor you are considering doesn’t have this, it need not be a deal-breaker, but if they do, that’s one more reason to feel comfortable selecting them for your project.
8. Is your property protected from damage, and if so, how?
If your roofing contractor doesn’t take proper precautions, materials from demolition can damage your property. Ask potential contractors if they use tarps to protect lawns, landscaping, light fixtures, etc.
Also inquire about who is liable for any damages that may occur. If a roofer puts his foot through the ceiling or a falling section of the old roof damages your sidewalk, you want to know who is responsible. When you read your contract, make sure it includes this information.
9. When will the work be performed?
You will want to know how quickly they can begin work and what their schedule will be. Will they work weekends? What time do they start and finish each day? How long will the project take? While unexpected issues can create delays, it is essential to discuss the schedule and timeline so you know what to expect.
A new roof is a significant investment that needs to protect your home for years. That means it is worth the time it takes to ask these questions and find a roofing contractor you can trust to do the job.