We know after a storm you are inundated with choices from all directions and it can be overwhelming. But if you find yourself needing a roof inspection here are things you should look for while trying to choose your roofer:
How To Choose A Roofer For Your Next Project
Choosing the right roofing contractor can be a stress-filled process. But it doesn’t have to be that way. A great place to start asking around is your neighborhood. Your community has a good pulse on contractors in the area and will be able to guide you in the right direction.
Also, make sure to check local requirements for your area and start finding reviews on the companies you’re looking at.
Once you’ve narrowed the field, start reaching out to them for inspections/consultations.
Below, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of the process and make it easy to find the roofer that is perfect for your project.
Roofing Contractor Qualifications
Licensed in your area
As mentioned above, required qualifications might change depending on your area, so check your state’s roofer qualifications and directories before hiring.
Roofing is known to have a lot of shady parties, so it’s important that you find an expert in the field.
In addition, it’s important that they have experience in construction, as replacing a roof can often lead to repairs all around the home.
Holds liability insurance
Check this by asking for written proof. The last thing you want is an uninsured worker falling and getting hurt while on your roof. consumer protection
Willing to provide references
If they’ve done a poor job in the past, it’s unlikely that this will change with your home. There are plenty of high-quality roofers out there so its worth spending the time to find them.
Willing to write an estimate
After they’ve inspected your house, request a written estimate from them so that you can determine the details of repairs.
Has the proper credentials and certificates for their industry
A good place to start here is to check that your roofer is a reputable member of the Better Business Bureau. Other good signs are having special warranties through renowned manufacturers like GAF, Owens Corning, and CertainTeed.
Willing to walk you through their business process
Replacing a roof is an endeavor and it takes a good plan to execute well. So make sure that you understand what your roofer will do in each step of the roof repair process.
Willing to answer questions
There are a lot of moving pieces when getting your roof repaired, so it’s important that you’re able to wrap your head around everything. If you keep getting non-answers from a roofer, it’s best to move on. Don’t be afraid to question what they are doing and why.
Willing to explain what building materials they use
Your home is a major investment in your life, so it’s crucial the roofer you choose used high-quality materials that will last a long time.
Services a Roofer Offers
When choosing your roofer, it’s important to understand the scope of services offered.
Roof inspections that check for:
Repairs and maintenance
Installation and replacement
Shoveling (removing snow and ice dams)
Roof cleaning (pressure washing away mold and buildup of other materials)
Sealing, treating or painting
Keep in mind, independent roofing contractors may have fewer services than a full-blown roofing company. This may end up being more expensive if you’re looking at multiple types of repairs on your home (siding, gutters, windows, etc.).
If you choose a roofing company, their ability to conduct all repairs might be cheaper than the aforementioned route.
So if you’re looking for a company that can service your house from top to bottom, go with a roofing company like Red Ladder Roofing & Construction.
How to Hire a Roofing Contractor
When you’re ready to make a decision on a high-quality roofing contractor, keep in mind that there are two main types of roofers: independent contractors and roofing companies.
There are pros and cons to each, so let’s cover them both.
Independent roofing contractors are smaller operations that are focused on quick repairs to your roof. Most are sole roofer’s working with subcontractors, so it may take longer to complete larger and more complex projects.
In addition, they may specialize in specific styles and systems that larger operations don’t.
Roofing companies are larger entities that are able to undertake large and complex repairs with ease. Their size and breadth of experience may also mean that they have access to certain premium materials that smaller companies don’t (clay tiles, metal roofs, natural slate, cedar shake, solar shingles, green roofs, etc.), are covered by high-caliber manufacturer warranties, and may offer discounts on their work.
What questions should I ask prospective roofers?
Do you take before and after photos?
This is standard for most roofers, but its important to have pictures taken during the inspection so that you have all damage documented.
The after pictures are great for both your records and insurance verification.
Most companies will be quick to agree to pictures as they can use them for marketing.
Do you offer a free on-site inspection?
This is rare, but if a roofing contractor is trying to charge you for a roof inspection, run for the hills.
Are you insured? What kinds of coverage do you have?
Make sure you ask for written proof.
Do you work with my insurance provider to manage my claim?
We can’t overstate how critical this is. The insurance process is long and involved, so having someone on your team to bear the brunt of this work is paramount
Where can I find out if a roofer is licensed?
While there isn’t a dedicated licensing board in Texas, the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association is the next best thing. If a roofer isn’t part of this association, consider other options. Something else to look for is a partnership with an established roofing material manufacturer, like Owens Corning, CertainTeed, and GAF.
Do you have a current license to do this work in my area?
Certain areas require special permits to perform work, so it’s important to be aware of and confirm your roofing contractor’s status before they begin work.
When and how do you bill or invoice? Do you accept credit cards? Do you offer financing?
This is a specific implementation of understanding a roofer’s process. It’s important to understand the entire system upfront so you are prepared for how much money you will pay, when you will pay it, and how you will pay it.
What types of roofs do you install?
A question best asked at the beginning of your selection process. If you have a rare material or wish to change materials on your roof, make sure the company you hire is capable of supporting that decision.
What do you recommend for roofing materials?
If you’re undecided on your roof materials, ask for some input from the professional. They might have some valuable suggestions for your type of roof/home.
Will you give me a written estimate?
An important note: this is an irrelevant question if insurance is paying for your roof.
They will tell you the precise value of each component of your roof, so getting an estimate is a waste of time.
Is your work covered by a manufacturer warranty?
Sometimes the worst-case scenario happens, and the materials on your roof deteriorate due to labor errors. In a situation like this, you want to make sure you’re protected.
How do you keep projects on schedule? How long will my project take?
Set expectations up front. Get a date for project completion and ask how they will ensure that the deadline gets met. Also ask about what kind of scenarios might cause that deadline to get pushed back.
What happens during unforeseen weather changes?
Your primary purpose here is to understand how they’ll protect your home if a rainstorm pops up while they’re peeling your roof off. The last thing you want is a simple roof repair turned into a indoor flood.
Do you dispose of the old roofing materials? Is there a disposal charge? Do you recycle old materials?
Get an idea of what cleanup looks like so you can have peace of mind when shingles are lying all over your yard. It’s also a good idea to inform your neighbors about what will be going on so that they aren’t having a panic attack.
Do I tip roofing contractors for their services?
While we’ve never had this happen before, we don’t believe that there is anything legally inappropriate about it.
Do you use subcontractors?
It’s important to understand whether the people working on your home will be long-time employees of the company, or subcontractors. Be aware that subcontractors may not share the values and attention-to-detail that a company employee does.
Do you have references I can contact?
As mentioned above, if a roofer is all that they say they are, they’ll have references for you to contact. Ask about their experience and whether they’d work with that particular roofer again.
Choosing the Right Roofing Contractor
Before you start getting bids from different roofing contractors, we want to cover something important. If your roof is being covered by insurance, they’re going to provide you with specific amounts that you’re allowed to spend on each part of your repair.
Unless your insurance policy has a clause that allows you to keep extra cash, there’s no reason to take bids.
You should use the full amount allotted by your insurer. Depending on your situation, this may mean that you get an upgrade from your previous roof.
If your roof isn’t going to be covered by insurance, then taking bids is the appropriate route to go.
No matter which route you go, make sure your roofer has the right qualifications and can do the job right.
As a rule of thumb, it’s smart to be wary post-storm. Roofers will be flooding your neighborhood looking for new business, and it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and select the wrong person for the job.
Ask good questions, understand each roofer’s process, and you’ll be well on your way to making the right decision.
This is a video I made in 2019, but it still rings true:
We were here before the storm and we’ll be here after.