Finding a Roofer
Installing a new roof is one of the priciest and most crucial home improvement projects you’ll take on as a homeowner. So how do you find the right contractor for the job when there are so many out there vying for your business? There are some prior considerations you need to make.
Contact more than one roofer.
By talking to at least three or four roofers, you will be able to identify an honest and reasonable price range. If anyone makes a remarkably low or high bid, you should be suspicious. Of course, this is also your chance to gauge the chemistry you’ll have with different roofers. This project won’t be done overnight, and you don’t want to feel stuck with people you don’t feel good around. Don’t worry there are many contractors who are both competent and likable.
Research the roofer’s credentials.
It’s a must to know the credentials of any roofer you’re considering. First, they should have a license and be willing to give you at least three client references you can talk to about their work. You can even do a drive-by inspection of their past projects, preferably those from about five years back.
By all means, they should be insured with both liability and workman’s compensation coverage, sparing you from liabilities in case of property damage (on your property or a neighbor’s) or worker injuries.
Examine the warranties and everything else in the contract.
Obvious but worth repeating every time: never sign a contract you haven’t reviewed to the letter. Don’t worry, a professional contractor won’t mind, knowing that this is your right and, in fact, your job as a responsible consumer. Also, if you find certain parts confusing, don’t be afraid to ask questions. Good contractors are always eager to provide answers. One part you should be very careful with is warranties. All materials and workmanship should be covered for at least five years, and the roof itself for a minimum of 20 years.
Don’t pay off your balances until the project is completed to your satisfaction.
This rule is one for all large projects. If your prospective contractor wants you to pay the full quote upfront, look for another roofer. Of course, you will be asked for a deposit and given a payment schedule, which is totally reasonable, but forget paying cash. In a worst-case scenario, your credit card will let you recover your money without spending a fortune on litigation.
Pay attention to the basics.
Finally, ask your contractor if you need to get a permit (fortunately, this is often art of the roofer’s services). If you’re filing a claim on your roof, be sure to follow prescribed procedures and get all necessary approvals before getting started with your new roof.