Whether it is to patch up a leak or tear off an old roof, roofing is a complicated — sometimes time-consuming — task that needs to be done by the right person. Most homeowners collect bids from multiple contractors and then opt for the one that meets their specific needs based on materials, expertise, budget and timeline. To be able to choose the best option for you, however, you need to start by asking these 13 questions.
1. Is the Roofing Company a Local Business?
When searching for a professional roofing company, it is recommended that you go local. Hiring a contractor who operates within your area offers more benefits than hiring a national company from out of state, especially when it comes to performing emergency repairs on time. A local roofer is also familiar with the weather conditions your roof is exposed to all the time. You can count on them to recommend, say, the right type of shingles for your roof or the appropriate fix for the storm damage to your roof.
2. How Long Have They Been in Business?
Because your roof is an expensive investment, you will want an experienced contractor to handle the roofing job you require. During the initial meeting with a contractor, make sure you ask the team how long they have been in business to see if they have the required set of skills and years of experience to carry out your roofing project successfully. Do not be one of those homeowners who failed to do proper research and fell victim to storm chasers or handymen who lacked technical skills.
3. Do They Have References?
Most of the time, homeowners get word-of-mouth referrals when looking for roofing contractors. Ask your potential roofing contractors if they can share with you details of previous customers so that you can speak to them, pick their brain and unearth information regarding the professionalism, communication and cleanliness of the contractor.
4. Who Will Be Installing Your Roof?
Only work with a roofing company with a team of dependable roofing installers to complete all kinds of roofing jobs. Roofers from reputable companies usually undergo in-depth product and installation training from trusted manufacturers to help them deliver top-shelf roofing services guaranteed to last for many years.
5. What Certifications Does the Crew Have?
It is always a smart choice to work with a factory-certified residential or commercial roofing contractor. After all, all roofing projects require adherence to industry standards in order to guarantee good performance. So, when vetting a roofing company, ask the team if their roofing crew has specialized training and received certification from the manufacturers of the products they install, such as GAF, Owens Corning® and CertainTeed®. Additionally, the contractor must be properly licensed, bonded and insured. You should also ensure that the roofer has maintained a good reputation in the industry and the local community.
6. How Long Will It Take to Complete the Job?
Of course, you should ask your roofers when will they be able to schedule the project and how long will it take to complete it. An established roofing company should be able to provide definite timelines from start to finish. Generally, the roof of an average-sized home can be replaced in a day. Sometimes, it takes three to five days, depending on the weather conditions as well as the complexity of the roofing structure. Bear in mind, however, that a quick replacement is not always better. The contractor you hire should express the importance of getting the job done in a timely fashion while still maintaining the quality you expect.
7. Is a Building Permit Required for the Roofing Project?
In most states, the building permit required for roof replacement is the same permit any major renovation or structural change to your home will require. Minor roof-related repairs, on the other hand, do not usually require a permit. A dependable local contractor should be able to advise you about permitting requirements in your area and pull one on your behalf, though it is still a smart move that you do a little bit of research on your own.
8. What Steps Will Be Taken to Ensure the Safety of the Workers?
While it is now required by law for roofing companies to provide workers’ compensation to their employees, it is still worth asking how they plan to protect their crew. Roofers are faced with serious hazards every working day, and they can ensure safety on the job by following safety practices, such as wearing appropriate clothing, utilizing netting or guardrails, and organizing and cleaning their work area. The cold hard truth is that some roofing companies take chances to cut down on operating costs, which exposes their customers to the risk of liability claims in the event of an incident.
9. What Steps Will Be Taken to Ensure the Safety of Your Family?
A roofer’s job requires the use of a myriad of tools and equipment. In addition to asking about the safety of the workers, do not forget to ask the contractors how they plan to prevent damage to your home and, should you decide to remain in your home during the construction, injury to your family. Most professional roofers use dumpsters to store old shingles and other refuse materials, minimizing the chaos around the residence. They also carry general liability insurance to cover property damage or bodily injury that occurs while they are working on your roof.
10. Do They Offer a Workmanship Warranty?
Sure, manufacturer-certified roofing companies offer warranties for their products. But some reputable companies also offer workmanship warranties as proof of the quality of their work. Such a guarantee can protect you from subpar work that leads to needing repairs or even a full roof replacement, so make sure to ask them about it when you meet with them.
11. Will They Be Removing and Disposing of Your Old Roof?
It is not uncommon for residential roofing contractors to include roof tear-off in their roof replacement service. To confirm, ask your roofing contractors if they will be responsible for removing your old roof and disposing of it before installing a new roof. A dependable contractor will take care of the process, from bringing in a waste container at the start of the job to disposing of what is left.
12. Will They Provide a Written Estimate?
Wait for your roofing contractor to present a detailed estimate of the roofing project in writing before you sign any legal documents. In this estimate are the actual costs of materials, roof tear-off, roof installation, permits, disposal and more. A written estimate will help you understand the scope of the project, establish your budget appropriately and see how the company is different from its competitors.
13. Are There Any Additional Costs?
Finally, do not forget to ask your roofing contractors if there are any additional costs associated with the roofing job that has not been discussed yet. These might include the repair of loose flashing around the chimney, the upgrade of the roofing underlayment, and the addition of roof ventilation and attic insulation. If so, then their proposal should also outline them. More often than not, additional costs come from existing issues in the roof that the contractor has to repair before a new roof can be put in place.