Tips on Finding a Good Roof Contractor
Choosing a roof contractor is an important decision that most of us will only need to do once or twice in our lifetime.
A good place to start is by asking friends and neighbors if they have any recommendations. Checking with your local Chamber of Commerce is another good approach. Be prepared to contact several and set up appointments with at least three.
You can often check online reviews to find out about peoples experience with specific roofing contractors’ in your area. Keep in mind that online reviews should be verified and unverified reviews might contain false information.
If you have already chosen your roof product, you may be able to check with the roof manufacturer and ask if the contractor you are considering is an authorized installer and how long they’ve been installing the product. Most manufacturers have criteria that the independent contractors must meet before becoming authorized installers, but the criteria are not intended to guarantee the contractors workmanship. It’s ultimately the homeowners’ responsibility to do their due diligence prior to hiring any roofing contractor.
When setting up the initial appointment to meet with a contractor, ask them to bring several references. A good roofer should be happy to provide you with examples of their work. Specifically asking to see some recent installs and some older installs is a great idea. This will help confirm how long they have been doing this work and how their workmanship holds up. Also, this extra effort may avoid hiring a company that used to do great work but might be struggling now. It’s unfortunate, but roofing contractors sometimes have a hard time keeping good workers in place long term. When the good ones move on, the company’s quality of work can suffer. It’s also a good idea to speak with previous customers to ask them about their experience with this roofing contractor.
Things to avoid:
- Beware of fly-by-night contractors. Contractors will come into your area, most often after a recent damaging storm, to sign up as many jobs as they can. They often do quick and shoddy work, collect their money then leave town before anyone is the wiser.
- Hiring a contractor from outside your area. If any installation issues arise, which is not uncommon even with the best contractors, it will likely take significant time and effort to get that out-of-town contractor back to resolve the issue.
- Never pay in full for a job upfront. Don’t sign until you are ready to hire the contractor. Do not sign anything that you haven’t read fully or haven’t received a copy to keep.
- Don’t hire a contract if you are not comfortable with the answers they provide to your questions. They should be able to answer all of your questions and if they seem to be avoiding questions or can’t answer several of your concerns, move on.
Important Final Thoughts
Your chosen contractor should be able to show you proof of all required insurance and licensing (applicable to your local region). Important factors you should know are how many years of experience they have as a roofing contractor and also how long have they been installing this particular product in your local area. Different climates can require slightly different materials and install methods. Your roofing contractor should be familiar with what is best for your local weather climate. Ask who will actually be doing the work on your home and if they use subcontractors. You want to ensure that workers experienced with the product you have chosen, end up on your roof. The lead hand on the jobsite should have a minimum three years’ experience with the product.
Warranty details for the work done. The homeowner should receive two warranties upon completion of the job. A workmanship warranty from the contractor (usually 5-10 years) and a product warranty from the manufacturer (from 10 – 50+ years depending on the type of product). The warranty details are something you should definitely ask about prior to hiring any contractor.
You may have chosen the best roofing product out there, but if it’s installed poorly, it won’t be able to perform as intended. Make sure you do your homework.