Asking a potential roofing contractor these 12 questions before agreeing to hire them can save you money and stress. Important questions to ask your roofing contractor include inquiries about cost, insurance, warranty, and timeframe. Important questions to ask include, “When do I need to pay?” and “How long does it take to complete roofing installation?” You’ll want to ask your roofing contractor what shingles they use, the company’s time in business, and other key indicators to judge the quality of service. By asking these questions before you begin working with a roofing contractor you can ensure the highest-quality installation for your new roof and prevent any unwelcome surprises along the way.
Learn what to ask your roofing contractor and what warning signs to watch for before signing a contract. Being prepared will help you find a roofing contractor who will make your roofing experience convenient and stress-free.
WHAT QUESTIONS SHOULD I ASK A ROOFER?
“How Long Does The Roof Take To Complete Start To Finish?”
Don’t allow a contractor to tell you it takes longer than a week to complete a roof. No matter the size, it should take no more than seven days. It typically takes us 2 to 3 days to complete a job depending on the inspection process in your county.
“Do You Have Workers Comp And General Liability?”
Never accept a copy of the insurance directly from the contractor. The certificate should always come from the insurance company directly. Generally the insurance company can send copies directly to the homeowner.
“When Do I Need To Pay?”
You should always know the payment structure. Some companies may take a small amount before the job begins in order to buy materials. But you should be wary if they require you to pay the entire cost upfront. Some unreputable roofing contractors from out-of-town will go around knocking on doors, especially after a storm. From there they’ll collect a full deposit for roofing installation but instead of putting a new roof on your home, they’ll disappear entirely. This would leave you with a roof that still needs to be replaced without the money to fix it.
“How Long Is My Warranty And What Does It Cover?”
Most warranties are voided after an act of God like hurricanes and windstorms over 50 mph. The average warranty lasts between seven and 15 years depending on the roof you choose. Many roofers will cover small repairs. Also, be aware of blistering and tobacco juicing. Blistering happens when moisture gets trapped during the manufacturing process. Tobacco juicing refers to staining on a typically white fascia caused by the oils of the shingles running onto the fascia.
“Are You A Local Company And How Long Have You Been In The Area?”
It’s very important to understand how long the contractor has been in business, especially working within your area. A company that has been in business for longer proves to have more experience and will have built a reputation you can check into prior to signing contracts. In the past, out-of-town roofing companies have been known to knock on doors after hail storms and scam homeowners. You can reduce your risk by hiring a local company to perform work on your roof
“When Will My Dumpster And Materials Be Delivered And Picked Up?”
All dumpsters and materials should be delivered the day before the job starts and the dumpster should be picked up within one day of the job’s completion.
Questions to Ask Your Roofing Contractor About Contracts
The roofing repair and installation process can be overwhelming. Be careful to do your homework before binding yourself to one contractor by signing a contract. Here’s what to ask a potential roofer about contracts.
“Do You Use Architectural Shingles?”
Architectural shingles are durable and algae-resistant. Make sure that the contractor plans to use architectural shingles, not 3-tab, on your roof.
“How Will Unforeseen Circumstances Affect the Overall Cost?”
If your roofing contractor encounters an unforeseen circumstance, such as finding completely rotted wood within your roof, it will likely increase the overall cost of installation. When you receive a quote from your contractor be sure they include an estimate for any unplanned costs.
“What Is The Timeframe For Backing Out? Is There A Clause In The Contract That States This?”
While you don’t have to directly ask the contractor this, be sure to look for it in your contract before signing. Most roofing contractors will include a section in the contract stating you cannot back out after three days of signing the contract. Almost all contracts have this, so keep it in mind before signing.
“What Is The Payment Structure?”
Find out the payment structure the contractor is defining in the contract. Ensure the payment structure will work for you. Know when and how much is due on each payment date. Will you incur a late fee if you don’t pay on time? How much is the late fee?
“Will All Of The Metals Be Replaced?”
Metals on your roof refers to anchors and restraints. Ask if all metals will be replaced. You want your new roof to be entirely new. New metal will help ensure your roof is secure and set up for a long life. The contractor should definitely offer this within the accepted price.
“Do You Offer a Release of lien From Your Vendors?”
Yes, we do offer a release of lien from our vendors. You can learn more about our release of lien policy here.
What To Look For In A Roofing Contractor
Does your roofing contractor check the following boxes? This is what you should look for in a roofing contractor:
- Insurance (Worker’s Compensations and Liability Insurance)
- Clear communication on process of installation
- Previous positive customer testimonials
- Local company familiar with local codes and regulations
- Licensed to work in your area (Central Homes’ license number is CCC-1330609)
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Red Flags of Roofing Companies
If you notice something weird or suspicious about your roofing contractor, look into it more. Once you’re signed a contract you may be stuck or at the very least need to jump through hoops to get yourself out of it.
Some red flags to be on the lookout for are:
- Asking for all money to be paid upfront
- Asking you to do any work at all, from pulling permits to cleaning up the job site
- Being pushy in any aspect of the interaction
- The contractor doesn’t have an office. This could mean they are inexperienced with little resources or insufficient insurance
- The crew is only one or two people. This will make the job last about two weeks when it should be done much more quickly
- Constantly pushing the job date back (except in the case of rain or storms)
Signs of ROOFING CONTRACTOR SCAMS
Some seemingly-normal contractors are actually just scam artists trying to take your money and leave without completing the job. If your contractor does any of the following, be extremely cautious in working with them.
Asking for Money Upfront
Be very wary of contractors that ask for all of the money upfront. This can lead to poor service, low quality, or worse. If a contractor asks for money upfront they are more likely to:
- Take your money and run
- Extend the installation process
- Do a poor job since the money has already been made
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Offering Strange Excuses
Don’t settle for a contractor that doesn’t finish the job quickly or provides too many excuses. If it seems weird and suspicious, it probably is. Remember, your roofing contractor should be an experienced professional. It shouldn’t take them more than seven days to install your roof.
Gives a Suspiciously Low Quote
Roofs aren’t free and high-quality ones aren’t cheap. Some unethical contractors will reel you in with a low quote and slowly tack on fees and additional charges for ‘unforeseen problems’. These problems weren’t unforeseen, they were put in place to intentionally scam you.
If the quote seems low, start asking questions and doing your research on the roofing contractor. If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.
Post-Storm Door Knocking from Roofing Companies (Storm Chasers)
After a major storm, some roofing scammers make it their mission to prey upon concerned homeowners. Although the insurance company may end up footing the bill on these roof replacements, the homeowners are still hurt in the long-run.
While plenty of reputable roofing companies advertise via door knocking, you should ensure you are vetting any company before signing the dotted line.
Hastily installed roofs by storm chasers tend to be low quality and sloppily installed. That means when the next storm rolls in you may end up with a roof that is actually damaged.
Be aware of unvetted door knockers following storms. Do your research and check their reviews to ensure they are a trustworthy company.
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Learn the roofing lingo in the roof parts diagram below to better understand your roofing contractor and to provide them with greater detail when needed.