Know What To Ask Your Contractor
If your roof is more than 25 years old or you are noticing clear signs of damage, it’s probably time to replace your roof. There are some important questions to ask a potential roofing contractor before signing a contract, so you can ensure the company you hire is reputable and capable of getting the roof done right the first time around.
Are you licensed?
Many states require a roofer be licensed in the state; however, all states are different. This means one code may be required in Seattle while another may be required in LA. So, what’s a homeowner to do? Research the code requirements in your area. If contractors, including roofers, are required to be licensed in your state, only work with those who are so you have some recourse in case things go wrong.
Do you have workman’s comp insurance?
At one time employers with three or fewer employees didn’t have to offer workman’s compensation insurance; now they do by law. Still, some contractors and roofers will skimp out on this requirement to cut back on business costs. The problem, of course, is when the chance is taken on your property and an employee becomes injured. If you hire a company that doesn’t offer employees workman’s compensation and someone gets injured on your property, you might find yourself forking over thousands of dollars to pay for medical bills.
Do you carry general liability insurance?
Workman’s compensation covers the employees on your property; general liability insurance covers your actual property. For example, if a contractor accidentally burns your house down in the process of welding something on your roof and the company doesn’t carry liability insurance, you could be responsible for covering the debts incurred by such an accident. Ask to see an insurance certificate.
Will you remove my old roof?
Will you use ladder stabilizers or standoffs to protect my gutters when you install my roof?
You may not think about it as you contemplate your new roof, but the method the company uses to get onto the roof is almost as important as the type of roof you choose. Ladder stabilizers and/or standoffs should be used in every roofing job. Stabilizers are like big arms that rest on the roof or on the side of the roof. This keeps the weight of the extension ladder, which can weigh a few hundred pounds, off your gutters. Without some type of standoff or stabilizer, you might end up with a great roof but a torn up, broken apart guttering system around your house at the end of the job.
Do you bring a container for refuse material?
Refuse from the old roof, such as shingles, will need to be placed somewhere as it comes down. The company you hire should bring a container to the job site to contain the refuse. You should not be required to supply this container, nor should you have to deal with the refuse once the job is completed.
What will you do in the case of bad weather during the job?
The weather can change in the blink of an eye in the PNW. This isn’t a surprise, but when someone is removing and replacing your roof it can be a major problem. Make sure your roofer has a plan for this. Your roof should be covered in some type of plastic sheeting or tarpaulin to ensure it, and everything beneath it, remains dry. What is the warranty on my new roof? Today’s dimensional style shingles cost the same price as the older style shingles and last longer. Homeowners should get at least a 25-year warranty with both product types though.
What is the cost of plywood should you find rotten roof or soft roof decking?
Roofers might skip over this information as you head into an agreement. Once the roof is up, it’s tough for you to dispute an overinflated cost for plywood sheeting to fix what was rotten underneath. For this reason, you need to ask how much it will cost for dryrot repair per plywood sheeting should the roofer find pieces that need to be replaced.
Do you provide a written estimate?
Settling into a contract without a detailed estimate can cause problems in the long run. Be sure, before signing a contract, you have a detailed estimate for the job. Include the cost of removing the old roof, adding the new roof, and anything that could come up in the process, such as rotten plywood that needs to be replaced.