Questions to ask before hiring a roofer

Whether your roof has suffered damage, is old and needs replacing, or you need to re-shingle your roof during the quoting process of your homeowners insurance policy, you’ll want to hire a professional. Who you hire is an important decision because replacing a roof is not only one of the most expensive home remodeling projects you’ll take on, your roof is also vitally important to protecting your home. You want the right person for the job, someone you’re comfortable with, who knows what they’re doing and will do the job right the first time.

Selecting a roof isn’t just about which shingles to purchase. A qualified roofer knows how to install the roof covering according to manufacturer guidance to ensure maximum wind and hail resistance. Just getting the best shingles isn’t enough. The laborers need to know how many nails and where to place those nails for optimum performance. Keep the following questions and considerations in mind when evaluating roofers to ensure you make the best selection.

Are you licensed, bonded and insured?

Roofers who are licensed have completed training through a reputable technical school or apprenticeship. Those who are bonded are protected by a bonding company that can step in and complete the job should the roofer be unable to procure materials or subcontractors. Insured means the crew is insured against damage and accidents that could happen on the job.

Are you familiar with the FORTIFIED standard?

FORTIFIED is a voluntary construction and re-roofing program designed to strengthen homes against specific types of severe weather such as high winds, hail, hurricanes and even tornadoes. Roofs built to FORTIFIED standards go beyond the minimum requirements of the building code by using stronger connections and stronger water barriers, among other high-performance features. Although FORTIFIED roofs can be more expensive than standard roofs, the cost of getting a FORTIFIED roof is most affordable when you are already planning to replace the roof. Working with a contractor who understands the FORTIFIED standard will ensure your new roof is robust and ready for the next storm.

Do you provide a detailed estimate?

Always get a detailed estimate in writing; never rely on a verbal quote. An estimate should include project timeline, costs, materials, description of work, guarantee and expectation of work, warranty information and insurance and licensing information.

What unexpected costs might arise during the job?

While the estimate should outline all project costs, it’s worth asking about unexpected costs that could arise during construction. For example, could there be additional costs if plywood damage is discovered after removing the existing shingles?

Do you use subcontractors?

It’s essential to know who will be working on the project, and that includes knowing whether the contractor is using their own crew or hiring subcontractors. If they are using subcontractors, ensure those individuals are also insured and trained. Also, ask how many people will be on the jobsite and who will be in charge. Be sure to have contact numbers and know who to call if you have questions during the project.

Will you remove my old roof?

Some roofers may suggest removing the old roof before re-roofing, while others may recommend placing new shingles over the existing roof. This decision depends on several factors, including local codes and how the roof is built. Be sure to discuss this with your roofer so you know what to expect. Some insurance companies have a limit to the number of roofs that can remain on the structure for policy eligibility. Too many layers and your insurer may non-renew your policy.

What’s the warranty on the new roof?

Most roof warranties come from the shingle manufacturer and range anywhere from 25 years to “lifetime” coverage. Ask how long the warranty is and what it covers. Be sure to distinguish between any warranty offered by the manufacturer and any offered by the roofing company itself.

When can you start/how long will it take to complete the job?

Timing is everything. While roofing timelines vary based on weather, how long it takes to get needed materials and crew size, try to get an idea of when the job will begin and be completed. Knowing when a roof job will be finished is especially important if you’re in the quoting process and roof replacement is necessary to enact your homeowners policy.

How will you protect my gutters?

Make sure the roofer has a plan to protect gutters, skylights or other features that are attached to the roof. This may include using ladder stabilizers or standoffs, which keep the ladder from damaging these structures.

How do you protect my property?

Although most of the work will take place on the top of your house, ask your roofer how they plan to protect the rest of your property. Installing a roof is a big project and usually entails bringing a dumpster on-site to collect used materials. Be sure you understand where a dumpster will be placed, how will it be disposed of, and how the roofer will protect your driveway during dumpster delivery and haul-away.

Do I need to secure anything inside my house?

Roofing work can vibrate the walls throughout your house. Ask your roofer about what steps you should take to protect items inside your home. This could include removing anything hung on the walls or taking extra precautions to protect that rare China collection

Your roofing decision is not only a huge investment, it can also save you money by preventing future losses from leaks. By keeping these questions in mind, you’ll have peace of mind that you have the right person on the job. When your new roof is complete, make sure to let your insurance company know — you’ll likely experience a reduction in your premiums.

Read SageSure’s Roofing Guide here
Read more about selecting and maintaining your roof here
Read more about roof coverings here
Read more about roof styles here