How to choose a roofing contractor
Maybe you noticed some curling or missing shingles. Maybe – worse yet – you saw a water spot, a noticeable leak or even light poking through from the outside. After 25 or 30 years (or the misfortune of a terrible storm), you need a new roof for your home. It’s time to call a roofing contractor.
After searching the web to see if you really need a new roof, you’re ready to find a roofing contractor in your area who can answer your questions.
A normal search usually yields a few dozen roofers that service your community. Some have clever names and fancy websites. Others provide little more than a phone number.
At this point, you may feel overwhelmed. How do you find a roofing contractor who is truly qualified without turning the search into a full-time job?
How to pick a good roofer: 5 questions to ask
The easiest way to learn how to choose a roofing contractor is by having a conversation and asking questions. The answers that they give will tell you a lot.
What is the full name and physical address of your company?
This type of basic information may seem like it goes without saying. Not all roofing contractors, however, have an easy-to-use website that provides you with all of the details you need — like who you’ll actually be working with and where you can find them if there’s trouble.
A physical address is important for 2 reasons:
- A contractor with an office nearby is likely to provide better service and have references in your area.
- A P.O. box can indicate that a company has not been in business for very long.
An experienced roofing contractor is usually more informed about local roofing requirements. A seasoned roofer can offer valuable feedback on how different products perform because he has been installing roofs for decades.
Does your company carry insurance?
Any contractor working on your home should carry both liability and workers’ compensation insurance. These insurances ultimately protect YOU, the homeowner, in the unlikely event that an accident occurs.
Liability insurance provides the contractor with coverage for job-related accidents or damage to your home.
Workers’ compensation insurance provides coverage for the employees if they are injured on the job.
Specific options for liability insurance vary and insurance requirements are often different state-to-state. You may need to do a little research regarding what to expect in your region.
Both liability and workers’ compensation insurance ensure that IF anything goes wrong while work is being performed, the contractor’s insurance company covers the bill.
Don’t be afraid to ask for proof of insurance! If an uninsured or underinsured company has an accident on your property, you may wind up paying for a lot more than a roof.
What are your credentials?
License and schooling requirements vary by state, so again, this question requires some homework.
Different states, different standards: Some states demand licensing, while others may require passing an exam or even certain amounts or schooling or apprenticing. HomeAdvisor’s State-by-State Contractor Licensing Requirements article is a solid starting point for researching requirements in your region.
Be sure to call or check the websites of local and state municipalities to verify any information you find is up to date.
Do you have references?
References provide feedback from real-life roofing experiences. Your roofing contractor should be able to provide you with several references or referrals from previous jobs.
Why are references important? People are twice as likely to share a negative experience than a positive one.
Online reviews may be incomplete or inaccurate. Talking to an actual reference can provide you with facts based on their personal roofing experience, as well as the added bonus of feedback on product performance since installation.
What products do you recommend?
You’re already busy vetting your roofing contractor, so you shouldn’t have to spend time researching all of the roofing options on your own. A roofing contractor should be there to walk you through the decking, shingles, flashing and related products that are right for you based on your unique needs, wants and budget.
Show and tell: A reputable contractor will bring samples to your home so that you can review the quality and aesthetics of the recommended products. The contractor should explain how different roofing materials and options can be combined to work best for your home.
A good roofing contractor will also work with you to meet your budget without sacrificing quality. He should be able to support his recommendations with information that outlines the following details:
- Cost and Options
- Warranties (labor and product)
- Specifications and Standards (types of shingles, ventilation and underlayment )
- Durability (fire, wind, tear and wind-driven rain resistance)
If you can’t resist doing some preparatory research before you schedule to meet with a roofing contractor, Consumer Reports offers a list of basics when shopping for a new roof.
Comfort: The final question.
You should feel comfortable asking questions. Your calls should be returned promptly. Schedules should be adhered to within reason, keeping in mind that weather is an unpredictable factor that can affect roofing schedules.
Knowing how to choose a roofing contractor will put you at ease next time you experience an issue. Remember that the professionalism of the roofing contractor translates through the entire re-roofing process. If you aren’t getting answers to your questions or if the contractor is unprofessional, look elsewhere.
Ready to talk to a roofing contractor?
When you’re ready for an honest conversation with a professional roofer, contact us. We’ve spent 70 years protecting home and carry CertainTeed – SELECT ShingleMaster accreditation, a credential reached by just 1 out of every 100 roofers in the United States.