Replacing or repairing a roof is one of those projects that should always be left to the professionals. Though there are likely a variety of roofing companies in your area, unfortunately not all companies provide the high-quality workmanship and professional attitude that you should expect. However, selecting a roofing company that is reliable, affordable, and professional can be a daunting experience, especially if you aren’t sure what sort of qualifications you should be looking for.
To help you weed out unreputable companies here are some questions you should be asking while interviewing your roofer.
Ask About Their Experience
More experience is always better since companies that do poor quality work don’t tend to last very long. However, even the most seasoned company may not be familiar with all types of roofs. Before you agree to anything make sure that the roofer you are interviewing has experience with the style of roof your home or business has.
Ask Them About Their License and Credentials
You should always check a contracting company’s credentials before you agree to anything. To make sure the company you are considering has all of its credentials and licenses do your own research. By knowing the code requirements in your area, you will be able to weed out companies that may be tempted to cut corners. Choosing a contracting company that has the appropriate licenses, and keeps them up to date, gives you a lot more recourse should something go wrong.
Ask Them If They Have Insurance
You should never hire a company that doesn’t carry insurance for both their own workers (worker’s compensation insurance) and for the general public (general liability insurance). If the company you hire does not carry these types of insurance, then an employee or a member of the public gets injured as a result of work on your roof, you could be on the hook for compensation.
Ask For An Estimate In Writing
The purpose of an estimate is to give you a rough idea of how much your roof repairs or roof replacement is ultimately going to cost. A comprehensive written estimate will include all of the details, including how much it will cost to remove your old roof (if applicable), how much your new roof or roof repairs will cost, and any additional costs that may come up (such as replacing rotten plywood). By insisting on getting a written estimate (as opposed to just a verbal one) you have a lot more leverage if the total cost listed on the contract is much higher than the one you were given in the estimate. It will also let you verify for yourself what is included in the total cost and what is not.
Ask for a Warranty, and Get it in Writing
A new roof is an expensive investment, and even repairs can be pricey depending on what needs to be done. To protect your investment you should ask any contracting company you are considering whether or not they offer warranties. A reputable company will always stand behind its work and should have no issues providing a reasonable warranty. You should also insist that you get the warranty in writing so that if something does go wrong you can refer back to the document instead of getting stuck in a he-said-she-said type of situation.
Ask If They Will Remove Your Old Roof (If Necessary)
If your entire roof needs to be replaced be sure to ask any contracting companies you are considering if they will remove your old roof, and what that will cost. A reputable company will remove your old roof as part of the total cost of the project. If the cost of removing your roof is not included in the written estimate make sure you ask for the estimate to be updated to reflect the true cost of your project.
Ask About Their Working Times
Especially if you are replacing a residential roof you will want to know how early the work crew is planning on starting in the morning. Not only can a very early start potentially disrupt your sleep, but it may also run afoul to local bylaws or community standards. Double check with your municipality and any homeowners associations that you belong to and make sure that your work crew isn’t making noise in the morning before it is permissible to do so.
Ask About The Total Cost
Even the most experienced professional roofer will never be able to give you an exact final cost, but you should still make sure they are able to give you a realistic expected cost. Make sure that the estimated cost of the project includes the cost of all the work that is being done and outlines what potential additional costs may arise and how their cost is calculated.
Ask How They Intend to Protect Your Gutters and Landscaping
A shiny new roof is great, but it is a lot less great if the building process decimates your gutters. Reputable contractors will use either ladder stabilizers or standoffs. You should also ask how the workers intend to protect your landscaping (such as making sure bushes and flowerbeds aren’t damaged during construction). Make sure your contractor has a plan in place and that all workers are aware of the plan before work begins.
Ask If They Provide Their Own Refuse Container
Refuse from your old roof, such as shingles, needs to go somewhere once it has been removed. A good company will make sure to bring a container to the worksite for this purpose so that they can clean up after themselves as they go. You should not be required to provide your own container, and you should not be responsible for cleanup once the job is done.
Ask About Their Bad Weather Plan
When you are having your roof repaired or redone rain becomes a major problem. Before work begins make sure the company you have chosen has a rainy day plan in place to protect the interior of your home. A tarp or some plastic sheeting should be sufficient for keeping your home’s interior dry.
You should also make sure that the company you choose is willing to regularly check that the tarp or plastic sheeting is effectively keeping the interior of your home dry and that if the wind picks up they have a plan for ensuring the tarp or plastic sheeting remains firmly in place.
Ask if They Have a Local Office
Should something go wrong during the construction phase, or need to be repaired or redone before your warranty expires you will want to be able to easily get in touch with the company you have selected. If you choose a company that has a local office it will likely be much easier to get someone out in a timely manner to do any necessary repairs.
Ask About The Cost of Plywood
If your old plywood is rotten it will need to be replaced during the repair or rebuilding process. Unscrupulous contractors may either neglect to factor this potential cost into their estimate, or may artificially inflate the cost of the necessary plywood. To avoid getting stuck with a bill that is larger than you expected make sure to ask any companies you are considering how much they charge for plywood. A reputable company will only charge you per sheet they actually use, not a fixed amount, and will be more than willing to add that information to the written estimate they have provided to you.
Ask About On Site Communication
Make sure that the company you choose will have someone on site that is able to address any concerns that you may have. However, some less than professional companies may say that a project manager will always be on site, only for the crew to arrive without the project manager. If this happens you should call the company right away, and if no one answers you should send the work crew home for the day. A reputable company will always have someone on site throughout the project to answer any questions you have and address any potential concerns.
As with hiring any professional contractor make sure you avoid companies that employ high-pressure sales tactics. A true professional will never try to force you to replace your entire roof if its life can be extended with a few simple repairs. Choose a roofer that is willing to explain what exactly is wrong with your roof, and give you details regarding how they intend to fix it.
If your roofer is being pushy and won’t give you time to give their offer serious thought before committing you should walk away. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.