7 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Roofing Contractor

So, you’re looking into getting your roof repaired….or maybe you’re in the market for a complete re-roof. If either scenario sounds familiar, there are definitely some questions you should ask prospective roofers (notice the “s” on roofers. I added it because you can do yourself a favor by talking to more than one). The questions you ask will help you make an informed decision, compare apples to apples, while weighing the pros and cons of each, including majorly important topics like cost and turn-around time.

Some things to consider before diving in head-first: 

Price DOES matter. Any roofing company that presents you with a significantly lower bid should raise your eyebrows a bit.  Why? Because experienced roofers know the costs involved to get the job done. Newer roofing companies may come in with low bid because they’re either not aware of the true costs of doing it right, or they’re so new that they really, really, want the business.

You’ll want to make sure you ask the right questions when selecting a contractor. Doing your due diligence prior to the job ensures that you won’t have to worry about inferior workmanship, leaks, or other easily avoidable mistakes down the road. Makes me think of my Dad….he always used to say, “Do it all the way, or don’t do it at all.”  Spot on, Dad.

7 Must-Ask Questions:

There are obviously a lot of questions you’ll want to ask, especially since no job is the same, and other questions will most likely arise from the answers you’re given to the below.  This should be a pretty good starting point.

  1. What exactly will the job entail?

If there are more than one layer of roofing, it’s required that the layers are removed prior to having a new roof installed. There are some roofers out there who might try to skirt this issue. You want to also make sure that any flashing will be replaced while they’re up there (might as well, right?) and install Ice & Water Shield (rubber membrane) at the eaves so you won’t have to worry about leaks caused from ice dams in the future.

  1. Do you have documentation from your insurance company showing your liability & workers comp coverage?

Telling you they’re insured is one thing. Showing you they’re insured is another thing entirely. Asking to see a document shows you know your stuff, and any reputable roofing contractor will never find this an odd or offensive request. If they aren’t properly covered, you could be the one paying for it, in the form of a lawsuit if anyone was to be injured on the job site. Taking the precaution and asking to see it up front makes sense. Safety concerns, and making sure workers will be using personal fall arrest systems should also be something you bring up.

  1. Do you offer a warranty on workmanship?

Warranties on roofing materials obviously don’t include labor, so you’ll want to make sure they have at least a one to two year warranty on workmanship – they should even be able to add this verbiage to your contract.

  1. Can I visit a project that’s currently being worked on?

The person who tries to sell you the job is usually not the same as the people who will actually be doing the job. It’s not a bad idea to swing by a  jobsite and check out how the crew’s work looks, how the overall site is kept, and even the attitude of the crew. As an added bonus, not only will you feel better in making a decision after seeing work in progress, but by asking this question, you can also pretty much guarantee you’ll get the best crew they have.

  1. Would you be hiring out any subcontractors?

If the answer is yes, this is NOT a red flag, so I don’t want you to think that’s the reason behind asking the question. The reason you should ask this important question is so you can get all the info you can about the subcontractor. Info like their name, insurance and licensing. If a subcontractor will be used, I would also ask who will be overseeing the on-site work while it’s happening.

  1. Can you provide a few references from past jobs?

I know, this is a no-brainer. But actually calling or emailing the references after you get them could make or break your decision to go with a prospective company. Along with driving by to see the work for yourself, I would also ask each homeowner if their roofing project was completed within budget, as well as on-time.

  1. How will you leave the job site at the end of each day, and at the end of the job?

If you’re paying someone to do your roofing project, make sure you won’t be the one stuck cleaning up the mess at the end of the day or at the end of the project. Clean up should be included in any contractor’s estimate, and normally is, but it never hurts to double check.

Roof repairs or roof replacements don’t need to be a giant headache, and doing your homework upfront will give you something money can’t buy – peace of mind.

Good luck on your project!

And remember, if you need snow guards installed on your roof (new or existing), Alpine SnowGuards has over 60 models to choose from for every roof type. All of our systems are engineered to be rugged, versatile and attractive.

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Alpine SnowGuards®  designs, engineers, and manufactures snow management systems from our facilities in Morrisville, VT. We work closely with leading roofing contractors, engineering firms, developers, and roofing manufacturers to ensure we deliver quality products that do what we say they’ll do.

(Images from Bob Vila, mtmic, and Big Stock Photo)