A thousand questions might run through your mind when picking a roofing contractor. A new roof can be one of your most expensive home improvement projects, so picking the right contractor is crucial. At the very least, picking a contractor who is trustworthy, licensed, insured, and in many states bonded, will protect you and your home from illegitimate and inexperienced roofing “companies”. In many areas of the country, there can be many, many options of roofing contractors. So the first step in choosing a contractor is getting to a short list. Here are five essential questions to ask roofing contractors when you’re looking to get work done. These questions will help you identify potential contractors to whom you can pose more detailed questions.
How long have you been licensed, and what is your insurance coverage? (If you live in a state that requires contractors be bonded, then you should ask about that too.)
Make sure you ask your questions in a way that a contractor can’t come up with a quick “get out of jail free” answer. Asking how, what, and why questions will produce more thorough answers that help you determine if the contractor is legitimate, instead of just yes/no answers. If you feel like the contractor may not be completely up front with their answer, do not hesitate to ask for an email copy of their license and insurance policy statement.
What does your estimate process look like?
The purpose of this question is to find out how thorough the contractor would be in the performance of a roofing estimate. A good contractor will tell you that they will need you there so they can discuss issues they find. They should be spending a good deal of time on the roof, inspecting every inch of it. And they should at the very least, perform a cursory inspection of the underside of the roof in the attic. Or if you don’t have an attic, they should come inside to search for signs of leaks in the ceiling and walls. The best roofing contractors should be as skilled in inspecting the attic as they are the exterior of the roof. By spending a lot of time inspecting your roof and discussing any discoveries with you, you may be spared surprise expenses during the roof repair process.
Tell me about the warranties you offer.
If a roofing contractor does not offer a warranty, walk away. There should be plenty of other reputable roofers in the area that do. They should discuss two different types of warranties with you. One warranty is provided by the manufacturer and covers materials. The other warranty is provided by the contractor and covers services.
Who will be present on job day to do and oversee the work?
Asking these questions will give you an idea to the attention the contractor is likely to give your project. If they use subcontractors, you’ll have to do your homework on those contractors as well. If anyone less than a project manager is going to be on site that day to oversee work, then this contractor should not move on to your shortlist.
What do you charge per square foot?
While they may be able to give you a very rough ballpark figure, a good contractor should not be able to give you a specific answer over the phone without visiting your home and conducting a roof inspection. A number of factors can contribute to price changes in your roofing project, so throwing out a firm number over the phone may be an indication that this roofer is less than thorough.