Questions to Ask Roofing Contractors
How to find a good roofer? Here are some questions to ask your prospective contractor. We recommend you interview at least three different companies.
- How long have you been in business? Several years in business is highly desirable.
- Do you have a local permanent office in my city? If you have a problem it's much easier to contact a local office. Be careful of companies coming into your neighborhood after a big storm which have no local office.
- Do you have Certificate of Insurance for General Liability? General Liability is a must, Workers Compensation is a bonus.
- Are you a member of BBB? This is a good sign if they are.
- What type of Guarantee do you offer? Parts and Labor? Should be several years, 5 to 10.
- Are you a certified installer for the shingle manufacturer? To get the manufacturer's warranty the roofer may need to be certified
- Do we get a copy of manufacturer's warranty? You need this in case your contractor goes out of business.
- Do you use your own employees or sub-contractors? Do you augment with day labors? How many on your crew? To finish a large residential roof in a day they need 6-10 workers.
- Materials / Construction
- How many nails do you use per shingle? 4 is common, 6 is perhaps better in windy areas.
- What brand of shingles do you use? 30 yr Architectural is a often a better choice than 20 yr.
- Is the old felt stripped off? Stripping the felt allows better inspection of the plywood base, but the old fasteners may leave a rough surface and cause extra work. Should be in contract which way you want it.
- What weight of felt do you use? 15 lb felt is typical for normal roofs, 30 lb is usually used on steep roofs.
- Do you install new flashings or reuse old ones? (StormGuard is a synthetic material used instead of metal flashings in the valleys.)
- Do you install drip-edges? shiny ones or pre-painted?
- What fasteners do you use? nails or staples? Nails are much better.
- Will our metal pipes be replaced?
- Can you install ridge vents for extra ventilation? If your roof needs extra venting, now is the perfect time to install them.
- Can you finish in a day? It's so much better to finish in a day, so you don't have to worry about rain overnight, although this can be overcome with precautions.
- Will a supervisor be on-site all day? Always good to have a supervisor who can speak your language there all day - except when getting last minute supplies.
- Is it an extra charge if plywood sheets of the current roof need replacing? How many will be replaced free?
- What kind of roof vents?
- How do you handle chimney?
- Will you remove the old shingles? Make sure the contractor removes the old shingles. An old practice was to "overlay" - putting new shingles over old shingles, but roofs are not generally designed to carry that extra weight.
- Do we need to get any permits?
- How is the yard cleaned?
- How soon can you replace my roof?
- Will you or subcontractors place a lien on our house? Not a desirable thing.
- How is payment done?
Get everything in writing. Some contractors will try to change things as their workers are removing your shingles.
I'd recommend signing up for AngiesList.com which gives feedback on roofers. The annual fee is well worth the money when dealing with a job this big.
In Texas, roofers do not need a Texas Contractors License.