Roofing 101

It's important to ask the right questions before you hire a roofing contractor. Asking the right questions will help you find a reputable contractor for your roofing project:

  • Do you offer onsite inspections and estimates?
    • If a contractor tries to offer you an estimate over the phone without viewing the roof in person, you may want to consider another contractor. The size, shape and condition of a roof are all factors that can only be determined by an onsite inspection.

  • Do you carry insurance?
    • This is an absolute must. Any contractor you hire should have general liability and workers' compensation insurance if they have employees working with them.

  • Do you offer a written contract?
    • A handshake is polite but it won't protect you in the event of a problem. You need to have a detailed contract listing the work to be completed, the time frame for completion, the type and brand of materials to be used and an itemized list of all labor and materials costs.

  • How long have you been in business?
    • Again, this is not a guarantee of quality work, but the number of years a contractor has been in business is a good indication of their success.

  • Does your company have a physical address?
    • While a physical address isn't necessarily an indication of reliability, it does suggest that the company is established and will be around if you have problems while the roof is under warranty. Don't be satisfied with just a P.O. box; ask for a street address, these are often “fly by night” contractors and they may not be there if a problem arises.

  • Can you provide references from past jobs?
    • Ask for a list of names and numbers for projects completed within the past year. Then call a few of them to see if they were satisfied with the job.

  • Do you provide a warranty on materials and workmanship?
    • The materials will usually be covered under a manufacturer's warranty, but you want to make sure the contractor will correct any problems that arise due to workmanship.

  • Are you a member of the Better Business Bureau?
    • Check with the BBB to see if the contractor has had any complaints and if/how the issue was resolved.

  • Do you clean up the work site and remove all the old roofing materials? Is this included in the cost?
    • This should be part of the job but it's a good idea to ask. You don't want to be stuck with a pile damaged shingles that you have to pay extra to have removed.