5 Questions You Should Ask Your Roofing Contractor

Hiring contractors to come in and work on your home is a tough enough task on the best of days, but when you're putting something as significant and large-scale as your roof in the hands of someone else, it just makes sense to do some research before you let just about anyone get their hands on it. Whether your roof is in need of repairs or restorations, or even a full-scale replacement job, you would be ill-advised to try and do it as a DIY project at the weekend. There are many things to take into consideration, and as a company that has been called out to fix the problems that DIY’ers cause, we can tell you with great honesty that it just isn't worth the risk.

If you attempt a DIY job and get it wrong, you’ll be looking at shelling out somewhere in the region of $10,000-$20,000 for a brand new roof to be installed. Sometimes, even large-scale repairs can cost close to that amount, depending on the structure itself and the materials used. When you consider that most roofing contractors/companies usually perform free roof surveys, it really doesn't hurt to at least get a quote for the work from a professional. When you include the cost of everything you’ll need to get do the safe safely and effectively, it usually works out cheaper in the long run to hire an expert roofing contractor.

But how do you pick the right one?
We recommend that you ask these five questions (and more of your own if you have them) to ensure that you’re hiring the right roofing company or contractor for the job.

Q1: What credentials do you have?
Any roofer worth his weight will be able to provide you with documentation that shows he or she is fully-trained, fully-licensed, and fully-accredited. You should ask to see all of these things, not just the credentials, and make sure that they are in date. In many cases, this information will be easy to find on the contractor or company’s website, but if you can't find it, don't be afraid to ask.

Q2: What experience do you have that makes you right for my job?
You're not going to want a roofer with a specialist field in metal roofs to come and sort out your ceramic one, are you? You’ll want the right man or woman for the job — the one who can do the job you need them to do, quickly, efficiently, and hopefully, in the most cost-effective way possible. Hiring the wrong person is not going to tick any of those boxes. You’ll end up paying more in the long run.

A roofer with many years experience in the industry is usually going to have a wider scope of knowledge than someone who has only been in the business for a couple of years, but that doesn't always make the most experienced person for the job, the right person for the job. Again, someone with 15 years of metal-roofing experience is not going to be better at working on a ceramic roof than someone who has 5 years of dealing with just ceramic roofs alone — as their specialist field. Many roofers are capable of working with a wide range of materials, but it’s always best to know what kind of service you'll be getting upfront.

Q3: Do I get a warranty?
With so many roofing companies offering warranties on their work these days, it simply doesn't make sense to use a company that doesn’t. If the worst happens and your roof starts to leak or shingles starts to fall off within a couple of months of the work being done, you'll want to know that you can call up that company and get them to repair whatever has gone wrong — and pronto. Without a warranty, you might not be covered for this. Ideally, you will want to look for a company or contractor that offers a minimum of five years for their guarantee/warranty. Some will go as high as 20, 30 or 40 years, but it does tend to vary greatly from state to state, and from company to company. It can also depend on the materials, what the weather has been like, and the type of building/roof structure. You may also find that you are covered for the brand used, by that brand, and not by the contractor. This is something you will need to discuss with whatever contractor you hire.

Q4: Ask about the specifics.
This will be the ‘bits n’ pieces’ — things like, whether or not you will need to get a permit for any work that is being planned, or whether or not the contractor/company will do this on your behalf. Some will and some won’t — you’ll need to discuss this with yours. We also recommend asking about insurance claims (if you have one) as soon as possible. In almost all cases, the roofer/company will have a great deal of experience dealing with these companies, will understand their policies, and will know exactly what to do. A friendly contractor (likes ours) will want to discuss all of the ‘bits n’ pieces’ with you before work is started.

Make sure that you understand EXACTLY what will happen once the contractor turns up at your property — what they are going to do. This includes the inspection, plus a plan of work, and a quote for the total cost. It is fairly common for the quote to change, especially if the job ends up being a much larger one, with many problems that require attention, than first initially suspected. If the price of your job does change, make sure that everything is understood and down in writing. If you have any queries with the work completed, you won't really have a leg to stand on if you haven't asked for all the documentation (or a plan) before everything commences.

Q5: What is the estimated time frame for all work to be completed?
Until you have your roof worked on, you might not be aware of just how disruptive it is, but with the noise and endless streams of workers wandering around the place, you’ll wish you hadn't started the project at all before very long. Unfortunately, even the quietest, quickest, and most efficient roofing contractors in the world need to make some noise and be a little disruptive. The good news is, when you have an end date, you have something to work towards. You can count down the days until you have your home back and some peace and tranquility. The last thing you'll want is for this job to drag on for days and days … or worse than that — weeks and weeks. Most roofers can come in and get a full replacement done in just a couple of days, depending on the weather.

These are the basics that we feel you should ask any roofing contractor that you’re considering hiring. It’s well worth taking a look at the individual company or contractor websites to get a good feel of the service you're going to get. Reviews can also help — and the internet is full of them! Make sure you have NO questions left when the contractor starts work and you'll be much happier with the overall job. There's nothing worse than being left in the dark about what's going on in YOUR home!

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