Is it time to replace your roof? You’ve gone and checked out a bunch of different styles, and you’ve figured out exactly what you are looking for. Before you jump into any quick decisions, ask these ten questions of all candidate roofers before you hire them for the job.
1. Are you licensed?
Most states require certification to install new roofs, however, the codes vary from state to state. You should understand the requirements of your specific area by either doing independent research of the code requirements or talk with an expert. Always make sure that you choose a contractor who complies with your local code, and avoid any who are not certified. If certification is required, you can call your local licensing office to verify that the contractor’s license is up to date and free of violations.
2. Do you have any references?
You want to ensure that past customers are happy with their experiences. Did this contractor install a new roof in a professional and timely manner? The contractor won’t likely be able to give you personal details of the customers, but they may be able to show non-identifiable images and feedback. Additionally, you can learn a lot if you can find anyone in your area that has worked with your potential contractor in the past. Talk with your neighbors, look for advertisement signs in customers yards and search for online reviews. You can rest easy knowing that you’ve done your due diligence in checking out your roofers background.
3. Can you provide proof of insurance?
You want to be sure that the roofer you select has both worker’s compensation insurance as well as liability insurance. Worker’s compensation insurance protects you (as the homeowner) in the event that there is an accident and one or more workers are injured while on the job. If they don’t carry worker’s comp, then you could be responsible for medical bills and other costs in the event of an injury. Liability insurance covers your actual property during the project. If for example, your roof caves in during the replacement, you won’t be responsible to cover the repairs. Play it safe and make sure that the contractor can prove they are covered.
4. Will subcontractors be completing part of the work?
When you are working with the roofing company, find out whether they will be completing all of the services, or if they will be subcontracting a portion of the work out. If they do subcontract some of the work out, find out who they are and do your homework on them too. You’ll want to make sure that the subcontractor has a good track record, is licensed, and most importantly, is insured.
5. What is your full company name and physical address?
This one may not seem obvious, but you want to make sure that you can locate the company you are working with on a map. This problem arises when you find a contractor through word of mouth, or if you pull their phone number from the web without doing a thorough investigation. You want to ensure that they are a local company. What happens if these guys put a new roof on your house, and you have quality problems a few months later? Who do you call? If the roofer can’t provide you with a physical address, then steer clear. It’s not worth taking chances on a company that doesn’t have a good foundation in your area. While on the topic, find out how long they’ve been in business. You’ll want to make sure that this isn’t their first job and that they’ve been doing this type of work for at least a few years if not longer.
6. What is the scope of work?
Before you sign up and pay for a roof replacement, make sure you fully understand the scope of work. Is removing the old roof included? The last thing you want is to find out that you were quoted merely for roof installation and not removal. This could lead to hundreds of dollars extra you’ll have to shell out. How is the waste handled? Do they provide a dumpster or do you have to call a waste management company? Is there a cost associated with disposal? How long do they expect a full replacement to take? A few days or a week? All of these questions on the scope of the project are important so expectations are met.
7. What will you do in case of inclement weather?
Nothing puts a damper on a good roof replacement more than rain. You should inquire with your roofer as to how they will protect your house in the event of rain. They should have a plan to properly place plastic sheeting or tarps over the roof to keep everything dry. What if there are heavy winds associated with the rain? Do they plan for this, and have workers check in on the temporary coverage to make sure that it didn’t blow off during a heavy storm? Finally, you should understand their intent to finish the project – if rain halts them for a few days, are they going to be ready once the weather clears?
8. Is there a warranty and what does it cover?
Basically, you want to find out if you’re going to be covered in the event that a problem arises. The two types of warranties that you’re most concerned with are the manufacturer’s warranty and the contractor’s warranty. More specifically, will the manufacturer cover any defects or failures of their product, and will the roofer guarantee the quality of their work? Generally, the manufacturer will cover the materials between 10-30 years, depending on the material type, and the contractors will guarantee their work for 1-2 years, but make sure you check into these details.
9. Can you provide a detailed estimate?
Before agreeing to and handing over money to a roofer, request that they provide you an estimate of the total cost of the project. This estimate should include line items breaking down the cost into labor, materials, and other services. As you should have a good understanding of the scope of work, you should understand where and what your money is going towards. Additionally, you should find out about any cost contingencies (labor hours, repair roof structure if necessary, extra supplies, etc.)
10. What is being removed and installed?
Sometimes there will be two or more layers of roof already installed, which will have to be torn off before installing the new roof. Sometimes contractors try to cut corners by leaving the old flashing in place. Are you choosing a conventional shingle roof or a metal roof? Many go with conventional shingle roofs, but there are advantages to metal roofing, and this will determine what layers are going to be installed. It’s also a good idea to keep a record of the materials being used in case you need to replace any of it in the future (if shingles fall off) or if you decide to put on an extension.
Now you have a better understanding of what you need to look out for when contracting a roofing company. Follow these ten questions and you’ll find a contractor that will do a quality installation.