10 Questions to Ask a Roofing Contractor Before You Sign a Contract!

Choosing a roofing contractor is an important decision because having a roof installed or replaced is expensive, and a roof is designed to last from 20-50 years depending on its type. These 10 questions to ask a roofing contractor will give you the answers you need to make a good decision about which one to hire. Once you’ve identified 3-4 companies that you’ve heard or read good things about, ask the owner or project manager the following questions.

1. How much experience do you have and how experienced is your crew? Since the crew will be doing most of the hands-on work, it is essential that they have good experience no matter how long the contractor has been a roofer.

2. Can you provide a list of references?

Most contractors will supply you with the name and address of 3-5 previous customers. Keep in mind that even a poor contractor may do 3-5 good jobs over the course of 10 years, so don’t put all your stock in the words of past references. If the references are conveniently located, drive by their homes to take a firsthand look.

3. How do you handle customer complaints?

Look for a contractor that will respond immediately to concerns about the work performed. Which leads to the next question.

4. Do you provide a warranty for the materials used and a warranty for the labor?

Most types of roofing — shingles, shakes, slate, tiles, metal roofing — come with a manufacturers warranty that covers defects in the material. They won’t, however, cover problems that are the result of improper installation. That is why getting a written warranty from the roofing contractor that covers the labor is essential.

5. How is payment handled? Ask about a deposit and how much it will be. Final payment is typically due upon your inspection of the completed work. Don’t hire a contractor who asks to be paid fully in advance. The deposit should be only enough to cover materials and supplies. Ask for receipts on any payment made.

6. Are you bonded and do you have both liability and workers compensation insurance?

Bonding protects you if they fail to start the job after you’ve given them a deposit or if they fail to complete it. The insurances protect you in the event an accident occurs and your property is damaged or a worker is injured.

7. Will you use sub-contractors?

If the roofing contractor uses sub-contractors, this is a warning sign. A sub-contractor is essentially a second contractor hired by the original contractor to do the work. It is very hard to find out the quality of the sub-contractor’s work ahead of time and whether or not they are bonded and insured.

8. Will you get the proper permits?

The purpose of obtaining a permit is to protect the homeowner. A local building inspector will examine the work to make sure it is done properly.

9. Do you offer a maintenance agreement on the roof?

Some roofing contractors will offer an affordable service agreement that covers basic maintenance of the roof that includes annual or semi-annual inspections along with any repairs. Having the roof inspected twice a year and after major wind or hail storms is the best way to catch minor problems before they let in enough water to produce major problems.

10. Describe how you clean up the job site.

The roofer should go to great lengths to clean up a site. This includes laying tarps on the ground to catch falling debris and having a large magnet that is run over the ground around the house to collect roofing nails. Cleanup is especially important when a roofing job includes tearing off old shingles.

Conclusion

The quality of the installer is just as important as the quality of the material you use. Ask each roofing contractor these 10 questions and you’ll get answers that will help you decide which one will do a good job for you.

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