Any time you are making changes or improvements to your home, it’s important to work with people you trust.
Your home’s roof represents one of the single largest investments on your property.
It takes more than a popular brand of shingles and a Saturday afternoon to get your roof installed correctly. You need the experience, education, and quality workmanship that comes with choosing the right roofing company.
With so many companies available to choose from in your area, making the right choice can be tough.
The following tips and questions will help you narrow down your options and guide you to the right roofing company for your needs.
Types of Roofing Contractors
There are two types of roofing contractors to choose from – independent contractors and roofing companies.
An independent roofing contractor runs their own business. They may work with other subcontractors in the area or may run their business completely independently. Usually, when you choose an independent contractor, you’ll see and work with the same person consistently and they often specialize in a particular style or service.
However, sometimes using an independent contractor may take longer than working with a roofing company and they are often suited to small projects and repairs rather than large-scale roof replacements. It’s also important to check and ensure that the contractor you’re using is covered by the manufacturer’s warranty, which requires professional installation for validity.
Roofing companies are larger corporations working with mass quantities of homes all at once. They are more likely to complete large jobs faster than an independent contractor, and will always have their work covered by manufacturer warranties.
Because of their large volume, companies can often offer better pricing, more discounts, and free consultations and inspections. However, you may not receive the personal touch that you’re looking for with an independent contractor. You may not have the same point of contact for each phase of the project.
3 Things To Consider When Choosing a Roofer
You can get a quality installation and a great price with either an independent contractor or a large-scale roofing company.
To make the best choice in your area, consider the following:
1. Go Local: You always want to find a qualified roofing contractor with a solid reputation who lives near you. You want to be able to pick up the phone and reach them when any issues develop. Don’t choose a company that is there today and gone tomorrow.
2. Read Reviews: Start with personal recommendations from a friend, family member, or your HOA. You can also look at online reviews to get a list of highly-rated contractors and roofing companies in your area. Try to get a clear picture of the company’s quality and culture to determine the one you feel comfortable working with.
3. The Warranty: Look on the roofing company’s website for information about their warranty. You want to choose a company that warranties both their installation work and the product itself. Carefully read and understand any roofing warranties offered and watch for provisions that would void them.
5 Questions to Ask Your Contractor
Once you have narrowed down your choices to two or three contractors in your area, give them a call and schedule an estimate.
During this process, ask each roofing company these five important questions to see which one is right for you.
1. What type of roofing do you install?
It’s important to find out if the roofing company has the right qualifications to work on your roof.
Most contractors can repair and install asphalt shingles, while less have the skill and experience with cedar shake, clay tiles, or natural slate materials. And even fewer roofers have experience with unique styles like solar shingles or green roofs.
Ask for references so you can see their previous work on other homes.
2. Do you remove the old roofing materials before installing the new roof?
The answer to this question should always be “yes!”
While some roofing contractors will save time or money by installing a new roof on top of the existing one, this bad habit almost always causes problems down the road.
Make sure your roofing company tears off your old roof before installing a new one for roof replacements.
3. Do you have the proper licensing and insurance?
Always make sure the contractor or company has proper licensing and insurance including both worker’s compensation and liability insurance. This is important because it protects you in case anything goes wrong. Verify by asking for a copy of their documentation. They should have this on hand to show that they care about staying up to date on all requirements and protecting their customers.
- Worker’s compensation provides coverage for any installer that gets injured during the job.
- Liability insurance protects your home if the installer damages your roof during the job.
- Each state has their own requirements so check to see if your state requires a roofing license. If it does, make sure the roofer has a valid license.
4. Do you offer any warranties?
Make sure you don’t end up paying for your contractor’s mistakes. Ask about warranties for both the roofing materials and for their labor.
A reputable company will have no problem offering a warranty for their workmanship. If they don’t, it’s a sign that you have to cross them off your list.
5. Who will be doing the work?
Some large roofing companies actually outsource their project to third-party independent contractors. This can create different levels of workmanship, unlicensed roofers, and issues with the manufacturer’s warranty.
You should be confident that the people working on your roof are authorized employees or subcontractors of the company.
Be Patient. Take Your Time.
A leaky roof is a stressful situation, but don’t rush to find the first available contractor or company for your roof repair.
Make any temporary repairs to ensure your home is safe and then take your time to find a reputable contractor in your area.
As you ask for recommendations, do your research, and read reviews, you’ll likely see a few front runners rise to the top. Contact both independent contractors and large roofing companies to see which you feel more comfortable working with. You don’t just want a roofer who will ‘do the job,’ you need a roofing company that values your home as much as you do.
Trust yourself and make the best decision for you.