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8 Simple Questions to Ask BEFORE Hiring a Roofing Contractor

modern home with new roof

Hiring the right roofing contractor can save you a ton of money, headache and hassle. But how do you know who to hire? You could trust the google rankings when you do a simple search, but that will just narrow it down. You need to do more investigation before you can trust your home and your money with any particular roofing contractor.
Here are a few questions you should ask and the answers you should expect, with some reasoning why. Take these questions to any meeting with a roofing contractor to make sure you get them all answered.

  1. Are you licensed?

    What you want to hear: YES

    This seems like a simple question, but you’d be surprised how many people are completing roofing jobs without the proper licensing in place. This depends on the state, but many states require a license.

  2. Will you remove my old roof?

    What you want to hear: YES

    Many times, an inexpensive workaround can be to shingle over existing shingles. This is never okay. Without getting down to the boards, you’d never know if there were existing leaks, soft spots or other damage. Roof shingles are also not made to sit underneath other shingles. This may seem like a money-saver, but it’s a bad move in the long run.

  3. Do you have references? Can I talk to them?

    What you want to hear: YES, here is their contact info.

    Seeing other work and hearing from their previous customers can demonstrate the pride they take in their work. If they are reluctant to give you any or very many references, I’d stay away. You can also look online for reviews in various locations such as Google, Facebook and Bing.

  4. What will replacement roof decking cost, should you find any boards that are bad?

    What you want to hear: Each board will cost $XX

    Understanding your potential additional costs and getting them up front will help you plan for future costs should any boards need replacing. Hearing the cost afterwards can lead to concern about being taken to the cleaners. Up front expectations are always better and leads to a more satisfactory job.

  5. Will you provide a written estimate?

    What you want to hear: YES

    In addition to the answer for number 4, knowing the full scope of work and the associated costs will help you compare your prices to other estimates you receive. If something is missing that another contractor accounted for, you can ask them why and maybe get a better estimate.

  6. Do you carry liability insurance and workers comp insurance?

    What you want to hear: YES

    Workers comp insurance protects you against any incidents where a worker gets injured on your property. If a worker was to get hurt without workers comp insurance, you may be on the hook to pay for the costly medical bills!

    General liability insurance protects your home in case some disaster happens as a result of the work. For example, if a worker damages your windows, the liability insurance would cover that damage.

    Ask to see the certificates. If you are nervous, call the companies to verify. Workers comp insurance should cover all workers that will be on-site. Liability insurance should list your name and home address as an “additional insured”. If they can’t provide this, run!

  7. What is your warranty?

    What you want to hear: 25 Years (or more)

    Modern dimensional shingles are roughly the same cost as the older style shingles and they are much more durable. You should receive at least a 25 year warranty. Anybody offering less than this should not be hired.

  8. How will you protect my yard?

    What you want to hear: A plan specific to your yard.

    You want to make sure they are accounting for your specific needs (trees, shrubs, flowerbeds) and general needs such as picking up debris liked dropped nails, shingles, felt and other supplies that can get lost in the mix. You don’t want your kids running around with a handful or rusty nails scattered throughout your yard!

    Many times their plans will include good placement of refuse containers and magnets for helping grab nails. Also, ladder placement is key to avoid smashing up your rose bush.

That’s it! There are more, but these are the basics. Beyond this, you should base your decision on your feeling you get when speaking with them, with their references and how they conduct themselves. Finding a great roofing contractor can be an asset you keep with you for the rest of your life, passing their information to family and friends and always having someone you can call when you have a question or some work.