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12 Critical Questions To Ask A Roofing Contractor Before You Commit

It’s time to replace your roof, but picking the right roofing contractor can seem like a daunting task. The Better Business Bureau receives thousands of complaints every year, so finding a reputable roofing company can be the difference between a beautiful new roof and a mountain of woes.

How do you know if you’re hiring a reputable roofing company? Asking the right questions can help weed out unscrupulous contractors and help you find the right roofing contractor for your roof replacement or installation job.

General Roofing Business Questions

Roofing Contractor Job - New Roof Replacement Job

Before diving into a detailed estimation process, getting a general understanding of the roofer’s business practices and ethics is recommended. Ensuring they are a legit, trustworthy roofing company is critical to deciding who to hire and ensuring that you’re protected no matter what happens.

Are You A Licensed Roofing Contractor?

The Right Answer: Yes

Most states require roofing companies to be registered and comply with state roofing codes and code requirements. In Washington State, roofing contractors are also required to be licensed and bonded. Most states provide you with tools to verify the contractor’s license. Keep in mind that a business license is different than a roofing license.

Do You Have Insurance?

The Right Answer: Yes, both Workman’s Comp & General Liability Insurance

All roofing companies all required, by law, to have workman’s comp insurance. If an injury occurs on your property, and the roofing company doesn’t, you could be held liable for medical expenses, or worse, that could cost thousands of dollars.

While Workman’s Comp Insurance covers injuries to workers, General Liability Insurance covers damages to your home. Should your home or property become damaged due to roofing work, you won’t be held responsible for covering the damage expenses.

Ensure you protect yourself and ask to see proof of insurance – both workman’s comp and general liability insurance.

Do You Use Subcontractors?

The Right Answer: No

Your roof is more than just shingles. It’s a complete and complex system that also requires hip and ridge shingles, ventilation, waterproofing underlayment products, and much more. Only experienced, well-trained roofing technicians will understand the nuances of roofing systems and should be trusted with your roof.

Do You Offer A Roof Warranty?

The Right Answer: Yes

Most manufacturers now have a limited lifetime warranty for new shingles when installed to manufacturer specifications. Typically roofing contractors also provide one-year warranties on their work. A Better Roofing Company provides a 10 years warranty on workmanship.

Roof Estimate Questions

Close Up Of Roofing Contractor Next To Home

No one wants to be blindsided by hidden costs after the completion of the roofing project. When going through the estimation process, be sure to ask the following questions to know what you’re getting before signing a contract. After installation, it’s hard to backtrack and dispute costs and charges. Experienced roofers will be happy to answer your questions.

What Is The Cost Of New Plywood?

The Right Answer: Dollar Amount Per Sheet Of Plywood

Find out during the estimation process about the cost of new plywood should rotten plywood or soft roof decking be found. Some unscrupulous roofers will leave this out of the cost to artificially lower the estimate to lock in a job.

Is Old Roof Removal Included?

The Right Answer: Yes

We will get into more detail on a later question, but your old roof should be removed. Make sure this is included in the estimate and not just the cost of the installation of new shingles.

How Is The Estimate Process Done?

The Right Answer: In Person

Getting an estimate over the phone or email is going to lead to disaster. Professional, qualified roofers need to see the actual property and structure to get an accurate understanding of the roof’s condition. This includes getting on the roof, when safe to do so, to examine skylights, flashings, etc… Be wary of those who don’t want to take the time to visit your home.

Roof Installation Questions

Roof Installation On New Construction Home

When it comes to the actual roof installation, several questions will help ensure the final product is of the utmost quality. When incurring the large expense of a new roof, you want to have the peace of mind that you’re getting a lasting product.

Will My Old Roof Be Removed?

The Right Answer: Yes

To save time and money for customers, some roofers will shingle over the existing shingles. Unless existing shingles are pulled up and removed, soft or rotten wood decking may be missed. By not making the necessary repairs now, you’ll create larger, more costly problems in the future. Old roof materials should always be removed and all issues identified and addressed.

DO You TAKE STEPS To Protect My Property?

The Right Answer: Yes

A good roofing contractor will make sure your landscaping, driveway, pavement, gutters, and deck are all protected. Ask how they will be preventing damage to your property during installation. There should always be tarping, coverings, and other prevention measures taken. If damages do occur, find out what the company will do to repair the issues.

How Will The Jobsite Be Left?

The Right Answer: Clean

At the end of the day, roofs need to be cleaned up and covered should inclement weather hit. If bad weather hits, uncovered roofs can create damage to the roofing structure. Nails, stripped shingles, and other materials should also be picked up by the roofing crew around the house.

How Do You Dispose Of Old Roofing Materials?

The Right Answer: Dumpster

On the average home, approximately ten thousand pounds of debris are removed off of roofs. Roofing contractors will supply a dumpster for roofing debris. You shouldn’t have to supply the container or deal with the cleanup once the job’s done.

Will New Flashing Be Installed?

The Right Answer: Yes

Flashing is an important part of your roofing system. It helps prevent water leakage at angles or joints. While reusing flashing is technically allowed, old flashings were installed to integrate specifically with your old roof. By not replacing them, you could open yourself up to roof leaks and water damage.

High-quality roofs are an essential factor in maintaining the health of your residential home. Don’t get fooled by inexperienced roofers or unscrupulous roofing contractors looking to make a quick buck and aren’t worried about their workmanship quality. With these questions in hand, you should be able to make an informed decision. Roofs are a vital element to a home’s health. So, treat finding a roofing company with care.