A new roof is a considerable investment, and the materials take up a small chunk of it. Skilled labor is mainly what you’re paying for. Hence, you have to be smart when picking someone.
Seems easy? Not always. Anyone can talk and act like a roofer, but that doesn’t mean they’re qualified.
Finding Good Prospects
Look in the yellow pages only if you can’t get a referral from someone you know and trust. Have at least two or three prospects, each one having been in business for five years no less. In such a competitive industry, only good roofers usually last that long. Start by asking them about their availability. Also ask for a few client references, and forget anyone who hesitates to give you any.
Then do some drive-by inspections of some of their newest projects. While alternating shingle rows, water gaps, or those spaces in between individual shingle tabs, should line up laser straight. Check the shingles – are they trimmed in a clean line as they run along the valleys? Shingles should be nicely trimmed too so they line up with the roof edge. Ragged lines indicate slipshop work and are totally unacceptable. Even the flashing at roof valleys and eaves should be as neat and tar=free.
If you like what you’ve seen, start calling the references, making sure to ask crucially relevant questions. For example, did the roof leak? If so, was the roofer prompt in responding to your call? Was the budget fairly accurate or did you end up spending more? Most importantly, would you hire the roofer for a future job?
Signs of a Good Roofer
Once you’ve found a roofer or roofers you particularly like, check if they have workers’ compensation coverage and no less than $1 billion of liability insurance. If they claim to be insured, let them show you proof-of-insurance certificates. Then ask for a quote, which should be 100% free. As roofing is a one-time job, split the total amount into two payments – usually, a third of it is paid upfront (to cover the cost of materials), and the rest as the projects moves along to your satisfaction.
Definitely, you have to get a minimum warranty of one year for all labor-related issues, like flashing failure, leaks, and so on and this must be on the contract, including what type of shingles will be used. Go for the most durable, highest rated shingles that you can afford. Sometimes, warranties are void if shingles are placed on top of existing shingles, so the roofer may have to remove that existing layer for an added cost. Asphalt roofs last an average of about 13 years, so a 20-year warranty would be more than fine.