Regardless of where you live, replacing your roof is an expensive endeavor. According to data from Roof Cost Estimator, the cost of roof installation can range from $7,000 to as high as $50,000.
With that type of investment, it’s imperative that you utilize a vetting process that ensures you’re working with a roofing contractor that can be trusted to get the job done the right way. In most cases, the best way to vet potential contractors is by developing an initial list of 3-5 roofers in your area and then interviewing each of them to ensure they’re a good fit.
To help with you with the interview process, let’s take a look at 10 questions that you’ll want to ask your roofing contractor:
1. “Are you licensed and/or do you have credentials?”
If your state requires that roofing contractors be licensed, you’ll want to be sure they have one and that they’re able to show it to you. And while not all states require roofers to get a license to perform contracting work, most professionals maintain third-party credentials that ensure they have the knowledge and skills to complete roofing jobs.
2. “Do you provide workman’s comp to employees and/or subcontractors?”
As we’ve touched on, roof installation is already an expensive investment. The last thing you want is to be stuck in a legal situation where you become liable for contractors hurting themselves while on the job. By ensuring that the business you’re working with provides workman comp, you’ll protect yourself from having to dish out for medical bills if an injury occurs.
3. “Do you have liability insurance?”
While workman’s comp covers the actual contractors completing the job, general liability insurance is necessary to protect you from having to dish out for any damage done to your property during roof repair. It’s also a good idea to ensure they use ladder stabilizers that protect your gutters from being damaged while the project is being completed.
4. “How long have you been in business and how many projects have you completed like this one?”
While this isn’t a ‘make or break’ question, it’s an important one to ask to ensure the contractor has had success with similar projects before. Contractors often get their start by working for established roofing companies and then branching out to start their own, so don’t get deterred if the business is only a few years old. In most cases, the more important thing to know is that they have experience with the task at hand and can prove it.
5. “Is removal of my old roof included in the quote?”
It’s surprisingly common for roofing contractors to not include the removal of your old roof in their original quotes. In some cases, they may even suggest that you allow them to simply shingle over the old roof. The problem with this, however, is that it can prevent you from finding issues with rotting wood or soft spots that can cause leakage (and money for roof repair) down the road.
6. “What is the extent of the warranty you offer on my new roof?”
When asking this question, be sure that you’re not just settling for an answer of “36 years.” While the manufacturer of the roofing material will likely have a warranty of at least that length, it’s also important that you know the warranty that the contractor offers on their workmanship.
If you’re looking for the best long-term bang for your buck, look for contractors that offer a full system warranty (which covers both the material and the workmanship for the entirety of the warranty term).
7. “Do you have references that I can speak with?”
Every experienced roofing business that you contact should be able to provide at least 2-3 references from customers that were happy with their roof installation. If possible, try to get addresses of the references along with contact information so you can visit the property and see for yourself whether the work provided satisfies what you would want for your own property.
8. “What do you do when there’s inclement weather?”
An experienced roofer will have dealt with this situation dozens of times during past jobs and should have a clear answer about their process for tarping and protecting your roof when inclement weather is imminent.
9. “Do you install drip edge with the new roof and is it included in the quote?”
Drip edge is typically made of aluminum or metal and is installed to protect the edge of the roof and ensure that water flows freely into your gutter. Without it, the wood structure underneath your roof is vulnerable to water damage and rotting. You’ll want to be sure that the contractor you’re interviewing plans on installing drip edge when putting in your new roof.
10. “How do you handle cleanup after the project is completed?”
Many contractors will outsource cleanup to a third party once the job is completed. While this isn’t a big deal, you’ll want to be sure that a plan is in place to quickly handle cleanup when the job is done.
Ensuring Your Investment in a New Roof is a Good One
While it may seem like a tedious and time-consuming process to interview multiple roofing contractors, it’s necessary to protect your investment. In most cases, the businesses you interview will be prepared to answer all of the above questions as other customers have likely asked them before.
If a roofing contractor you contact is impatient, unprepared, or unable to answer these questions, that should immediately throw up a red flag as to their ability to complete the job safely and successfully.
Protect yourself and your investment by putting in the time before the job to make sure the professional you hire can be trusted to get the job done the right way. The peace of mind it will provide for you is priceless.