8 Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor With Tips
It’s fall again and chances are you’re starting to get your house ready for winter and to think about all the maintenance your roof needs. If you’ve been saving up for this day, and you’re ready for the new roof, here is a list of questions and tips to help you make your decision about what roofing contractor to hire.
You don’t want just anyone slapping on an expensive new roof. A qualified roofing contractor should be able to answer every one of the following questions to your satisfaction.
Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor
The number one question you should ask is…
- Are you licensed?
Most states require a roofer to be licensed, but all codes are different. It helps if you know the codes in your area and make sure you only work with those who are licensed in your area’s codes. Make sure their license is up to date!
Here’s the tip: Get local referrals. You are less likely to get scammed if your roofer works in your community regularly.
- Do you have workman’s comp and general liability insurance?
Some contractors would rather skimp than obey the law to provide workman’s comp insurance. You do not need to be liable for the medical bills of workers taking chances on your roof who aren’t covered.
Same goes for liability insurance, which covers the cost of any damage that occurs to your property should it occur. You shouldn’t have to pay for someone else’s mistakes on your property and you shouldn’t take your contractor’s word for it – ask to see the certificates!
Here’s the tip: Pay your deductible and handle your own claim. In the event of storm damage, it’s insurance fraud for a contractor to claim he can handle the repair without the homeowner paying their deductible. The quote should reflect that it is the responsibility of the insured without inflating the estimate to cover any part of the deductible.
- Do you provide a written estimate?
Do not get into business with anyone without a written estimate. It will cause you problems down the road. Before you sign, get a detailed, written estimate for the job – it should include the cost of removing the old roof, adding the new roof and anything that could come up in the process.
Here’s the tip: Research the roofing contractor’s better business bureau ratings. Stay away from contractors who don’t show up in your research.
- Will there be someone on site who can answer my questions?
Sometimes renovation projects do not run smoothly. What happens if it starts raining and your roof is open to the elements? You want to know there is a project manager who knows what to do so the crew isn’t leaving you in a bind.
Here’s the tip: Talk to the company beforehand to make sure there will be one. If there’s no project manager before you leave that day, call the company to find out who it is. If no one knows, send the crew home until you know who it is.
- Is my warranty good for 25 years?
Any type of shingling product should be under warranty for this length of time.
Here’s the tip: Get a copy of the warranty.
- Will you remove my old roof and install a drip edge?
Some roofers will claim that if everything looks good on the old roof it is safe to shingle over it. Wrong. You never know what lurks beneath old shingles. There could be old or rotten wood and it will be costly to go back and fix it. Get in writing that they will pull up the old roof.
Similarly, if you don’t specify that you want a drip edge (metal edge installed under the roof and extending past it into the gutters to keep water from ruining your fascia) some contractors will skip it.
Here’s the tip: Make sure this is written into the estimate.
- How will you protect my gutters, landscaping, home interior, and asphalt driveway during this renovation?
- Contractors should use ladder stabilizers or standoffs to protect your gutters. If they don’t, and can’t say how they will protect your gutters, don’t trust them.
- Get specific promises about what they will do – tarps, traffic patterns and placement of ladders – to avoid ruining your landscaping.
- Contractors should have a plan – and tarps – in place to protect your home interior in case of inclement weather during your roofing process.
- Contractors should both supply the container for refuse and be able to tell you where it will be placed for the duration of the job in order to ensure it does not crack your asphalt driveway.
- What is the dollar amount per sheet of plywood should you find rotten or soft decking?
The roofing company should be able to provide you with a written estimate of a dollar amount per sheet of plywood. You should not get stuck paying inflated plywood costs that you can’t dispute after the fact.
If you’ve chosen the right company, you will know it by the surety and ease with which they answer all these questions and any other questions you have.
Here’s the last tip: Be wary of any contractor who pressures you to do business without fully answering all of your concerns.
Do you have any questions? We would be happy to help. Please contact us today.