Finding a qualified roofer takes some time, so we strongly recommend vetting prospective contractors before you even need one. You never know when your home will have a roofing emergency, so it’d be a good idea to have a trusted residential or commercial roofing contractor’s contact details on your phone or on a sticky note.
To help you find a qualified roofer, we’ve listed some vetting tips in this guide:
Make a Shortlist of Prospective Roofing Contractors
The first step in the vetting process would be to make a shortlist of prospective roofers. Here are some tips on narrowing down your options quickly:
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- Limit your search to local contractors – You can narrow down your options faster by focusing your search on roofing contractors near your area.
Why hire local roofers? Hiring locally also has its advantages. For starters, local residential or commercial roofing contractors can make better recommendations since they’re familiar with the local climate and building codes. And in case you have a roofing emergency, local roofers can get to your home faster. Local contractors are also known for their personalized service. After all, they have a reputation to uphold in their local community. Another advantage would be their extensive local network. For instance, if your home suffered extensive storm damage, finding local plumbers or electricians should be no problem for local contractors, thanks to their extensive connections.
- Ask local references – Ask your friends and family if they’ve ever worked with one of the local contractors before.
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- Check online reviews – Online reviews should give you a good idea of the kind of service you can expect from a local roofer. Keep in mind that a few bad reviews aren’t necessarily a red flag. Miscommunication sometimes happens, after all. What you should focus on in these cases is the contractor’s response to online customer complaints. Did the roofer take the time to respond to the customer’s complaints? And if they did, was it done in a professional manner?
Make Sure a Contractor Has Met the Minimum Requirements
You need to make sure the roofers have met the minimum requirements to work as a professional contractor within the state. Ask them if they have:
- A license – Licensing requirements vary from state to state, but the state of Washington requires professional roofers to have a license.
- Liability insurance – The state requires contractors to have workers’ compensation insurance, which will protect you from legal liabilities in the event accidents happen on your property.
Assessing a Roofer’s Level of Expertise
Keep in mind the aforementioned requirements are just the bare minimum. To assess a roofer’s level of expertise, ask a prospective roofer about:
- The number of years they’ve been working in the industry – Ask the roofer how long they’ve been in business. The number of years they’ve been working in the industry should give you a good idea of their level of expertise.
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- The kind of projects they’ve worked on – Certain kinds of roofing projects require a higher level of expertise. For instance, low slope roofing is trickier to install than residential sloped roofing because water tends to pond on flat surfaces, making flat roofs more leak-prone.
- Memberships in trade associations – Trade associations such as the
Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties provides extensive training to their members, helping them keep up with the latest developments in their industry. Memberships in trade organizations signify a contractor’s commitment to ongoing training.
- Company certifications – Certifications given by manufacturers such as GAF® as well as independent non-profits are proof a contractor has undergone additional training. Manufacturers and non-profits screen prospective contractors before certifying contractors, so in a sense, they’ve done all the vetting work for you.
Why Hire a GAF-Certified Weather Stopper Roofing Contractor?
GAF, one of the most trusted names in the roofing industry, also gives several certifications, one of which is the Weather Stopper® certification. What are the benefits of working with a Weather Stopper contractor?
- Professional workmanship – To get certified, roofing contractors need to undergo professional training and pass exams administered by GAF. GAF factory-certified roofers also have access to the manufacturer’s CARE program, which provides live job-training for roofing contractors, to ensure their skillset remains up-to-date.
- Exclusive warranties – Roofing systems installed by GAF-certified roofers are eligible for exclusive warranties that offer stronger protection than a standard roofing warranty.
- Better product recommendations – Since GAF-certified roofers are more familiar with the manufacturer’s products, they can make better recommendations and help you make the most of your roofing project.
Making the Most of a Roof Replacement
Another way of assessing a contractor’s level of expertise is to ask them questions about a roofing project you’ve been planning. You can ask the contractor about:
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- The best roofing materials for your area’s climate – Your roof won’t last long if it can’t handle your area’s climate, which is why you need to choose a roofing material that can withstand the frequent rains in the state. For residential roofing systems, most contractors would recommend installing asphalt shingles, which also happen to be the most popular roofing material in North America. They’re cost-effective and durable enough to withstand a wide range of climates. As for commercial roofing systems, PVC roofing would be a smart choice. PVC membranes have a minimum breaking strength of 350 pounds per inch and are durable enough to withstand daily wear and tear from the elements and foot traffic, making them a great choice for buildings with an open rooftop.
- Brands they’d recommend – Keep in mind that a roof’s durability depends on the quality of the materials used to manufacture it. If you have doubts about the quality of roofing shingles, it’s best to stick to reputable brands such as GAF.
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- Suitable roof colors – Don’t forget that your roof forms a large part of your home’s curb appeal. While choosing a roof color is mostly a matter of preference, it’d be helpful to consult a contractor.
Here’s a tip: the color of your roof can also have an impact on its lifespan. For instance, most contractors would recommend choosing a light color for low slope roofing since light shades reflect heat instead of absorbing it. This in turn helps extend the roof’s lifespan and reduces the strain on the HVAC system.
Red Flags to Keep An Eye Out For
- Lower estimates – It might be tempting to hire the roofer with the lowest bid. However, if a roofing bid is too good to be true, then it probably is. Professional roofing contractors may have been able to offer a low roofing bid because they don’t have enough experience or cut corners on material costs. Remember: while it’s important to stay within your budget, you can’t get too preoccupied with the costs. Focus instead on maximizing your returns on investment.
- Upfront payment – Professional contractors would never ask for a full upfront payment. The standard practice in the industry is to ask for a good faith deposit of 10 percent or less.
- The lack of a website – In this day and age, there’s just no excuse for not having an online presence.
- Difficulty communicating with the contractor – This a big red flag; after all, a roofing project is essentially a collaboration between you and your contractor. As such, constant communication is essential to a home improvement project’s success, which is why you should hire a contractor you can easily get along with.
Looking for professional roofers near you?
KLIM Roofing & Construction, a proud member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties, offers a wide range of professional roofing services as well as premium roofing options, including PVC roofing.
KLIM Roofing & Construction, a GAF-Certified Weather Stopper roofing contractor with more than 15 years of experience, offer their expertise in flat roofing, re-roofing, roof repairs, and new construction. With our trained and experienced team, you can rely on us for quality workmanship. To learn more about our services, you can call us at (425) 485-5546. We serve homeowners in Seattle, Redmond, and Bellevue, WA, as well as the surrounding communities. Get a FREE Estimate Today!