You’re a homeowner and determined your home’s roof needs fixing or needs to be improved with a replacement roof. You’re all set to get moving. What’s the optimal way to get a high quality roofer who will accomplish a good job? What could you look for in a roof contractor or contractor to obtain this work? Welty
When homeowners choose to repair a roof or replace that roof with asphalt during the cold winter months, they’re often plagued by worries that their family will freeze before the job is completed. In the same vein, those starting a roofing job in the sweltering summer months worry that they’ll be facing heat stroke. These concerns are perfectly normal and common among many homeowners looking for roofing fixes or roof replacement contractors.
WeltyEvery year, civic agencies across the country process thousands of complaints against housing contractors, and roofing contractors consistently rank among the top businesses being complained about. So be very careful when selecting someone to work on your house! Your roof is an important part of your home. You shouldn't trust it to just anyone. Getting honest estimates from roofing contractors can be confusing. Some have really high prices, and some are priced so low that you can't understand what's included and what's not, or if you're getting good value for your money. Some less-than-scrupulous roofing contractors play games with pricing, only to jack the costs up later during the job with unexpected surprises. That's why it's important to use care when selecting a contractor, and be sure you're dealing with someone honest. You want your roof taken care of quickly and cheaply as possible, but it pays to take the time to select a roofing contractor that will do a good job for a fair price. It's better to do it right the first time, instead of using the cheapest contractor available and later discovering you've made a painful mistake. Hiring a roofing contractor is more than just finding the cheapest quote. For the best results, you need to find a legitimate roofing professional. Consider the contractor's experience and qualifications, the duration of the project, quality of materials, and other factors. For example, GAF Master Elite Contractors, who by virtue of their excellent workmanship are granted special status and offer enhanced warranties. Get recommendations from your neighbors and friends - they're your best resource. After all, if they were happy with the work you will be too.One of most important things to find out before hiring a roofing contractor is that they are fully licensed and insured. Roofing is a dangerous occupation. Don't leave yourself open to a devastating liability by hiring an unlicensed roofer. Protect yourself!Make sure that your contractor is an actual roofing contractor, and not just a general contractor. Ask how long he's been in business and where his place of business is located. Take a look at his truck and if there is a magnetic sign on it, there is a strong possibility that he works as a subcontractor for multiple companies. Is he going to be in the roofing business for the full warranty on your new roof? And exactly what is the warranty, and what does it cover? Does he offer warranties for both Material and Craftsmanship? Make sure both materials and labor coverages are specified. If you get multiple estimates, get them in writing from each roofing contractor, and ensure that they're based on the same roofing project specification. Never, ever, rely on verbal promises. Insist on getting all guarantees, promises and warranties in writing. Including warranties from all the various manufacturers whose products will be used. And investigate their previous work; any reputable roofing contractor should have job sites for you to visit to see completed work.As the proposal moves along, ask yourself; are you comfortable with the roofing contractor? When reviewing the contract, does it spell out the scope of work in clear and understandable terms? Your contractor must obtain all required building, roofing or re-roofing permits, and he schedules the proper inspections. Make sure all project expectations are in writing and only sign the contract if you completely understand the terms.Larger contractors won't require a deposit, but if they do, never pay more than 10% down or $1,000. Never pay in cash. And if you make ongoing payments as the work progresses, don't let payments get ahead of the work. Keep a job file of everything relating to your project, including all payments. Don't make the final payment until you're satisfied with the job.Additional points to consider when deciding between roofing contractors: Was the contractor on time for your estimate appointment? If not, or if he failed to show at all, calling you later with some excuse, drop him from consideration immediately. If he's not on time when he most needs to impress you (before he has been given the job), then he surely cannot be relied upon after he gets the contract. Does he have an actual office, and a showroom for you to go visit? If not, does he at least have a secretary or paging service for emergencies? Trust your instincts. Do you feel comfortable with him working on your home? Remember, the person you meet with could just be a convincing salesman, and become totally different once the actual work starts. Call your city's building department, and ask if they are familiar with the contractor you plan to use, and see if they have anything negative to say about the company. And ask lots of questions. Don't let the contractor confuse you with strange words and industry jargon. Ask him to explain everything to you in detail. Remember, you're the boss! They work for you. The bottom line is, trust your feelings; you must feel comfortable. Ask about the process that the crew will follow when installing your roof. It's the roofing contractor's responsibility to see that the roof is waterproof at the end of the day, and if necessary, there should be enough tarps to completely cover the roof in case of rain! Take pictures as the work progresses, to document anything the workers do to cause damage to your property. And when the job is done, it's nice to offer the contractor copies of your photos, and give a nice testimonial for a job well-done.All this may seem like a lot of information to get from the roofing contractors giving you an estimate, but these are certainly issues that their clients already ask them about. All reputable, honest roofing contractors will already be prepared to provide this.
How to Protect Yourself When Choosing a Roofing ContractorHere are the top 5 tips to finding good roofing contractors and understanding roofing estimates.Tip 1. Ask Friends And Family.Most people say they would prefer to use a roofer who is recommended by someone they know and trust. Such a recommendation significantly reduces the likelihood of a bad experience. But what If you don't know anyone who has used a roofer recently?Tip 2. Use A Referral ServiceYou can and should look for a recommendation from another trusted source such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or a contractor's association in your area, or use a service that pre-screens roofing contractors and schedules free roofing estimates for you. Typically pre-screened contractor referral services review local contractors in your area for required state license, insurance verification, background check and customer references, all at no cost to you. When you use these kinds of service you can have peace of mind that you're receiving a roofing estimates from a reputable, quality contractor. Tip 3. Ask For Proof Of License And Insurance.Whether you use a free referral service or choose to find a contractor on your own, you should ask the contractor how long they've been in business. Ask the contractor to see any required licenses and verify that the credentials are current and active. Ask for written proof of the contractor's personal liability, worker's compensation, and property damage insurance and verify that the policies are current and active. You don't want to be liable for injuries and damages that might happen on your property while they are doing the work you need done.Tip 4. Ask About SubcontractorsFind out if the contractor is going to use any subcontractors. If so, meeting with them is also important. Make sure they have been paid on time by this contractor in the past, and check the subcontractor's licensing and insurance documentation as well. Tip 5. Get Several Bids, And If They're Different, Find Out WhyBe sure to get at least three bids. Ask the contractor to explain to you what you are getting for that price including information about materials and labor. If a bid is substantially higher or lower than another bid, don't make assumptions. Ask questions and get answers. You might end up going with a higher bid once you understand exactly what you're paying for. You will be able to compare roofing estimates only after you know exactly what materials and labor each bid includes and you can compare apples to apples.