• Bob Schisler

Crucial Questions that You MUST Ask Roofing Contractors Before You Commit

Investing in a new roof is a big decision. Like any other large financial commitment, you need to do research to track down the best possible roofing professional for the job. The average roof can last 20 years or more if it is installed properly and maintained. That’s why it’s important to ask roofing professionals a few key questions before you decide who to hire.

  1. Could you provide a list of roof replacement references? Companies that don’t specialize in roofing might provide you with a list of references that are for other projects including new siding, gutters, or something else. In order to find the best roofer for your job, make sure you’re contacting references who got similar work done. One of the best things about being a roofing company that’s been around for 70+ years is that we can provide references for roofs that we replaced over 20 years ago! It’s easy to say that a recent job was done well, but what about 5-10 years down the road? You might also want to ask the roofing contractor for a mix of newly replaced roofs and jobs from years ago. Are they still leak-free? If not, how did the company handle the necessary repairs?

  2. Can I see a copy of your license and insurance certificate? Rather than just asking if a business is licensed and insured, make sure you see proof of it. Some employees might assume the company has these credentials when that is not the case. They aren’t intentionally deceiving you, however, you’re the one who takes on all the risk. (And there is a small portion of contractors who misrepresent their company because they know what you want to hear.) To take it a step further, contact their local insurance agent and ask about their current coverage and if there have been any claims for the policy year. This is referred to as the “loss history” and could mean that a company that says they have $100k in coverage actually has far less.

  3. Will you provide a comprehensive estimate? If it’s not in the estimate, do not assume you will get it. Even if you had a verbal agreement you must make sure that you get it in writing. Your roofing contractor should send you more than a scope of work estimate. It’s easy enough to look up the square footage of your roof space using Google images. That’s not enough. You want a company that comes to your property, fully inspects it firsthand, and understands what the underlying problems are. Then, that estimate should be written out in a formal detailed proposal.

  4. What other fees or charges might be incurred that aren’t included in this estimate? The comprehensive proposal should provide details about how anything unexpected would be handled. For instance, after removing shingles the roofing expert might notice that some of the plywood needs to be replaced. This would be handled according to the terms in the detailed proposal. Some roofing contractors will intentionally submit a low-ball bid in order to get the job. Then, they tack on additional fees and charges so that they can make money on it. A comprehensive proposal ensures that you are getting the most honest quote and are protected if something does come up. Don’t just look at the price or you could end up spending two or three times that amount.

  5. Will you have someone on-site from start to finish? Many companies contract with subcontractors and there’s nothing wrong with that. But you do want to ensure that the company you are hiring is the one in charge of the project. It’s important to have at least one employee, preferably a foreman, on the job site at all times, keeping an eye on the project and guaranteeing quality results. It’s important for your new roof to be installed according to manufacturer specifications so that it lives up to its warranty.

  6. When and how will the work be done? You know who will be doing it, so your next question needs to be about when it can get done. If you have a leak, you don’t want to wait long. Most companies cannot provide a specific date immediately, but they can give you an estimate of when the project can be scheduled. Then, determine who will obtain the permits for the work, if required. And, find out when a dumpster will arrive for the waste materials. An organized company gives you all the details, so you are completely comfortable with the outcome.

  7. What is the warranty? You’re going to want to see a written warranty so that you know what’s included. Is it a total system warranty or just a shingle warranty? Most of today’s roofing materials come with long-term warranties. These cover the materials themselves and only if they are installed properly. Look for the roofing company installing your roof to also offer a workmanship warranty. Better yet, if you use an installer certified by the manufacturer, a non-prorated full system warranty is available for added protection and peace of mind.

The more information you have, the better. Discuss any concerns you have with the roofing company before you decide to hire them. Ready to get started? Give us a call at 301-662-0533 or contact us today!

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