Questions to Ask a Roofer: Checklist for Hiring a Roofing Contractor
Choosing a roofer is one of the most important decisions you will make for your home. It’s vital that you choose someone who is trustworthy and has your best interests at heart.
Some less reputable roofers cut corners during the roofing process, such as by not installing drip edge flashing. This could lead to expensive repair bills down the road.
1. How long have you been in business?
Few home improvement projects have a greater impact on energy efficiency, long-term inhabitability, and homeowner peace of mind than a roof. That’s why it’s important to select a roofing contractor who has been around for awhile and has established a track record of professionalism.
Ask the roofers you’re considering whether they weave their shingles or use steel in the valleys. A roofer who weaves shingles is likely cutting corners to save money, but it can lead to leaks and expensive repair bills later on.
2. What type of roofing do you install?
Roofers typically offer several types of roofing materials and systems. Choosing a roof that is compatible with your home’s design can enhance its exterior and increase its value.
Asphalt shingles remain the most popular type of roofing purchased in the United States. Many roofers also install metal roofing.
Asking the roofer what they specialize in can help you narrow your options. For example, a roofer who specializes in new roof installations may be more familiar with how to properly vent your attic.
3. What type of warranty do you offer?
Few home improvement projects are as significant and long-term as a roof. Make sure you’re working with a professional who stands by their work.
Ask how they’ll handle things like eavestroughs, flashing, and chimneys. Inexperienced roofers may cut shingles too close or use angled nails. Both of these problems leave your shingles vulnerable to high winds and water penetration.
Some roofers will install a new roof over the existing one, saving on tear-off and disposal costs. However, this method can hide soft spots in the decking, leading to costly repairs.
4. Do you have a license?
Many unscrupulous contractors use fly-by-night tactics to take advantage of homeowners in times of crisis. One way to spot these contractors is by confirming their business address.
Roofers who are newer to the business may not have as long of a track record as others, but it is important to find out if their company is licensed. This ensures that they will be around to honor warranties and insurance claims.
Some homeowners choose to have a new roof installed over their old roof to save on tear-off and disposal costs. However, this can cause leaks and other problems down the line.
5. How much experience do you have?
Roofing is a skillful job and it takes time to become proficient at it. It’s important to ask how much experience the contractor has in roofing.
A reputable roofer should have a clear and comprehensive process for re-roofing your home. This process should include steps they take to protect your property from damage during the project, including a plan for protecting your eavestroughs.
It is also a good idea to ask about the roofing contractor’s process for discovering hidden damage. This includes whether they strike a chalk line and inspect the roof for waviness and short exposures.
6. Are you local?
Choosing who installs or repairs your roof is one of the biggest decisions you will make for your home. It can have a significant impact on energy efficiency, longevity, inhabitability, and homeowner peace of mind.
To protect your home and your money, it is best to work with local roofing professionals who know the area well and can quickly respond to storm damage repair or installation. They should also be able to provide local references and proof of insurance.
7. Do you have insurance?
Many states require roofing contractors to carry workman’s compensation and general liability insurance. Without these policies, you could be left footing the bill for any damages caused by the roofing company.
Also ask how the roofing company deals with debris removal. If they simply dump it in your backyard, you’ll have to deal with that mess later on. The right roofing contractor will recycle the materials and take care of all trash. They should also provide a detailed written estimate, ensuring there are no surprises down the road.
8. What type of references do you have?
If they can’t provide you with a list of recent clients, ask how long it took them to complete the project. This question will help you weed out contractors who are “racing to the bottom” on price alone and may not be around to honor a warranty.
An experienced roofer will have plans and protocols in place to deal with inclement weather. This could include things like tarping and ladder stabilizers. They should also know how to protect your eavestroughs from damage during the roof installation.