What to look for in a roofing contractor
Your roof is a major investment. Whether it’s minor repairs or a completely new roof, the contractor chosen will determine the quality of the roof and determine how well it will protect the home in extreme weather conditions. Proper installation is required to obtain coverage under the shingle manufacturer’s limited warranty. Therefore, choosing the right roofer is important. We are going to cover roofing questions to ask your roofer to make sure your roofer is a good choice. Below we will walk you through the process of choosing a roofer more generally.
Questions to ask a roofer
Before you engage with your roofer, there are some very specific questions to ask to make sure they are honest and the best fit for you. To discuss specific questions to ask a roofer, we reached out to Milt Kreitzer, vice president of operations and sales for Castle Roofing in Dayton, Ohio.
Here are 22 questions to ask a roofer
Starting with questions about your business is best, as it gives an idea of your qualifications and experience.
1. Are you associated with a manufacturer?
Most roofing shingle manufacturers – including IKO – have special programs for eligible participants who have been trained on their products and installation. If your roofer is affiliated with a manufacturer, it’s a sign that they have a greater understanding of how to install that company’s products, which may result in a better quality roof for you. You can use our search tool to find an IKO ROOFPRO® contractor near you.
2. Do you have insurance?
Your roofing contractor should carry insurance, not only to protect your business, but also to protect you if an accident occurs on your property. If your roofer does not have insurance, you could be liable if your employee is in an accident while working on your roof. All roofers must have valid general liability and workers’ compensation insurance, at a minimum. Learn more about what kind of insurance roofers need, and make sure the roofer’s policies are still valid before letting them start work.
3. Do you have a permit?
In many areas of North America, roofers must have a permit. Don’t just take their word for it, look up your roofer near me permit in your specific state or province.
4. What is your permanent address?
Storm chasers can be ruled out by confirming their direction. Make sure it’s not just a post office box. Google Maps can be used to view the actual building and verify that the business exists at the address given by the roofer. Notice if the building has a roofing company sign, or if it looks like a warehouse or storage unit where a roofer might keep his tools and materials. Unfortunately, there are some unscrupulous operators, acting by surprise, which reach entire neighborhoods with a single truck and disappear as soon as the job is done, leaving you unable to contact them if something goes wrong in the future.
5. Are there photos of your work on your website?
Before and after photos can help you get an idea of the type of work a roofer does. It can be difficult to gauge the quality of the work if you don’t know much about roofing, but the simple fact that roofers are willing to show photos of their work indicates that they are at least somewhat transparent. A reputable roofing professional will be proud to share photos and details of the projects his company has completed, on social media and on his own website. If possible, you can also stop by the residences to take a look at the actual roof top.
6. How much experience do you have?
If their website doesn’t list how long they’ve been in business, it’s probably a new company. However, roofing contractors who are just starting out on their own may be just as qualified as companies that have been in business longer. Typically, roofers spend some time working for another company before starting their own roofing business. Therefore, the hiring decision should not be based solely on years of operation; other factors must also be taken into account. Your new roof is certainly a long-term investment. You must be sure that the contractor’s company will remain active to meet the guarantees
7. Where can I find feedback about you?
Reviews can be found on roofers’ websites. Also keep in mind that roofers will gather the best reviews for their website. Therefore, it is advisable to search for roofers in a trusted secondary commentary source. Google offers feedback on contractors in its maps feature. Yelp, Angie’s List, and Home Advisor all host reviews from contractors. You can also check the qualification of roofers at the Better Business Bureau. Ultimately, the feedback should serve as a guide, but not be the only deciding factor in your decision.
8. Are you specialized in something?
Some roofers specialize in specific parts of the job, such as installing skylights. If the roof is known to be more complex or needs specialist work, it may be worth seeking out a specialist who is familiar with it. For example, if you own a historic home, you can find a roofer who will install historically accurate roofing materials, or partner with a mason who can make sure your historic chimney has the proper flashing to protect it.
9. What type of training and education do you have?
Does the roofer’s website mention anything about certifications or ongoing training for their staff? Training, as well as the safety and health of workers, must be a priority for all roofers. Roofing materials and their proper installation are constantly changing. Health and safety regulations are also updated frequently, so make sure the contractor you hire keeps their staff up to date with all the latest developments.
Next, it’s a good idea to focus on questions about how the roofer does his job and what will be required for your specific roof.
10. Do you use a complete and tailored system of roof components?
A roof is more than just tiles nailed to plywood. It is a complete system of roofing components – synthetic underlayment , ice and water protector , hip and ridge shingles, starter courses , flashing , shingles , vents – all designed to work together.
Kreitzer recommends making sure that all of your shingle roof components are from the same manufacturer. “You don’t have to mix and match to get the price down,” he said. “It could be a little less expensive, but it could complicate elements of the installation.”
He also said to make sure the roofer uses the products prescribed by your city or state building code. For example, he says, “In Ohio, ice and water protection is required by code at eaves and valley rakes.” Although some jurisdictions do not require it.