5 TIPS – HOW TO HIRE A ROOFING CONTRACTOR
One of the most important parts of your house is also the most at risk to damage: the roof. Whether it’s wind, snow, ice, heavy rains, hail or fallen trees, your roof can take a beating. Making sure you hire a reputable roofing contractor to repair or replace your roof will ensure that your home is protected from the elements and help hold its value. Roofing contractors have a busy season, like many other home contractors. This may affect pricing and availability. With this in mind, here are a few tips on how to hire a high-quality roofing contractor.
Look for referrals from people you know – neighbors, friends, co-workers, and relatives are all good sources. If possible, ask to see how their projects turned out. You should also complete additional research by talking to at least three contractors and requesting written estimates. Review bids carefully and especially all the details. You’re looking for skill, commitment, and integrity. Make sure they have references and have worked in your area for a period of time. The Better Business Bureau warns against fly-by-night roofing contractors who roll into town after a disaster to scam desperate homeowners. BBB, Nextdoor, Yelp, Google and Facebook are all good resources as well.
Be sure the roofer is licensed, bonded, and insured including current workers compensation insurance. Also, the contractor should carry insurance in case your new roof fails in a storm, which could damage your property and possessions. Ask for the different warranties involved in both the roofing work and for the materials the roofer uses.
Be sure to check references. Some good questions to ask references include: Was the job finished on time? Were the results what you expected? Was the foreman on-site? If it rained during the construction, did they tarp and protect the unfinished areas? How thoroughly did they dispose of the old roof? Did they take precautions to safeguard the landscaping around your house?
Know the types of roofing materials a contractor uses—tile, shingle, shake, rock, concrete, and metal—and plan to discuss the advantages and disadvantages regarding your house. Certain types of weather may affect material choice. Some roofing projects may require a permit, and you can be fined if your project is not up to code. It’s the contractor’s job to get the permits.
After you select a a roofer, look through the written contract before you sign. It should itemize what’s to be done, the timeline, milestone payments, and specifications and prices of the materials to be used. If you are claiming insurance, be sure to include your agent in the process and review these questions with him or her. Be clear about your expectations and how potential cost overruns can be prevented. Paying a deposit is a standard practice, but don’t pay in full until the project is completed to your satisfaction. This goes for paying yourself or if insurance is covering the cost – you still want the job done right even if you are not paying out of pocket.