By Amy DeYoung
Updated Oct 12, 2022
Hiring a roofing contractor is no small task, not when the right choice can make the difference between shoddy workmanship or a durable, high-quality roof. A reputable roofing contractor can set your mind at ease, knowing that your roof won’t start leaking the next time it storms. That peace of mind is invaluable.
Here are 12 questions to ask your roofing contractor before you sign a contract and make the final decision about which roofing company you want to hire.
The weather and storms your area faces are critical factors when selecting roofing materials. For example, a house in Texas will need to withstand some of the most severe weather conditions in the United States, including hail and high winds. Certain parts of the country also need to consider how to hurricane-proof or tornado-proof their homes as much as possible.
If a roofing company only lists a Post Office box, ask for the company’s full name. If the company can’t provide a physical address, this is a red flag, and you should move on to another one. Likewise, you should check the company’s name and address online. Google the information, and search for it on social media websites, online databases, and the Better Business Bureau to ensure that the information is consistent with what you’ve been provided.
A reputable company won’t hesitate to provide you with its license information for the city, county, and state. Ask for the specific name of the license holder, then check with local licensing offices to ensure that the license is current and free of outstanding violations.
Remember that a business license and roofing contractor license are two different licenses you want to check that your roofer has. The business license serves as company identification and tax information. In contrast, the roofing contractor license means that the roofing contractor has passed the qualifications required to work in the area as a roofer.
You’ll also want to ask your roofer about the insurance they have on their business. Your roofer should have workers’ compensation insurance and general liability insurance, which protects the homeowner if workers are injured on the job site, your home. The insurance will cover the medical bills incurred, rather than that falling on you.
Some roofing companies cut costs by hiring subcontractors. Some subcontractors won’t have the right insurance or licenses to work on the job, putting you and your home at risk.
As such, asking if a company uses subcontractors is an important question you won’t want to miss out on. Verify the physical subcontractors’ names, phone numbers, and physical addresses, then run this through the Better Business Bureau and online review websites. It’s also a good idea to ask why a company hires subcontractors. Is your project especially big, and they need extra help, or is this a common practice?
The answer to “how long have you been in business” isn’t the only factor you should consider when hiring a roofing company, but the many references and examples of their work can provide great insight.
An experienced roofer can put your mind at ease. After all, they have more experience dealing with a variety of roofing projects and installing many types of roof decking, flashings, shingles, gutters, and more.
A written estimate should outline every part of the roofing project, including labor costs, roofing materials, and any other upgrades. The most significant benefit of the written estimate is that it helps you avoid surprise expenses later on, especially when the company agrees to a fixed estimate.
During the project, keep track of anything that is damaged and take photos so that you can ask for reimbursement or repairs before the end of the project.
Many homeowners don’t think about how a roofing project could damage their landscape and home. Damage can occur when debris falls off the roof or is left behind.
Ask your project manager what steps they take to protect your home. Many contractors set mandatory foot traffic patterns for their crew, so they aren’t crushing your plants, grass, or flowers. Other companies will keep heavy equipment on the sidewalk rather than the grass. You can also ask if the roofer will use a heavy-duty magnet to find and pick up stray nails at the end of the project. After all, you don’t want yourself, your children, or pets to step on nails or debris.
Some roofing companies offer roofing warranties. These warranties usually last a year, but some are longer than others. Consider how important a roofing warranty is to you and if you’re willing to pay extra for an extended warranty. If they offer a warranty, ask about the type of coverage, the warranty length, and if the warranty covers the materials or the roofer’s work.
No matter how experienced a roofing contractor is, they may run into bumps along the way that lead to delays in the project. However, roofing contractors should do everything they can to prevent delays in the project by having a contingency plan in place.
For example, your roofer may have employees who can complete extra work if the project falls behind. They may have extra supplies, tools, materials, and plans if inclement weather occurs.
If you’re under a tight deadline for your roof repairs or roofing project, consider asking for a “no later than” clause in the contract, which will nullify the contract if the job exceeds the agreed-upon time.
Refuse material is any waste or disposable material from the roofing project, including both recyclable and non-recyclable materials. You don’t want your yard filled with debris and waste after the project is complete, so ask in advance what the roofing company will do with the material.
Many areas have specific laws regarding how certain materials need to be disposed of. As such, most reputable companies will bring their refuse containers and dumpsters for debris and disposable materials after completing the job to ensure these regulations are met.
Gutters can take a beating during a roofing project because ladders may lean against your gutters, potentially causing damage.
Ask if your roofing contractor will assess and repair any damage to your gutters before completing the project.
Most roofing companies allow customers to pay once the whole job is complete. Some may require a small deposit. You should never need to pay in full before the job is completed or make payments ahead of what has been completed. If a roofing company tells you that you need to put down a large amount of money before work is completed, we recommend you check other companies out, as this can be a red flag.
If possible, push the payment schedule back enough so that your new roof can experience stormy weather and you can check that there are no leaks.
Hiring a roofing company can be a bit stressful as there are many factors to consider and questions you should ask before signing a contract. However, once you’ve selected a reputable and experienced company, you can rest easy knowing that your project is in good hands.
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